Finding the New Normal
by Maggie Q
Traveling is a privilege.
For most people, travel is a vacation, no longer than a week usually. For me, because I travel mainly for work, it’s often weeks that I’m gone or even longer. For more than half my life, I’ve been on the road. Currently, I’m filming on location in Eastern Europe and I’m here for months.
I’m a homebody by nature so leaving my safe space always gives me a measure of anxiety, mixed with excitement.
What do they have there? Will I run out of the essentials? Will I find my community of veggie lovers?
I have to “make home” wherever I happen to be sent in the world. How do I bring my sense of home with me so I don’t desperately miss my loved ones and my animals? (I don’t think this one can be helped, but I ask myself anyway!)
First things first, I pack food.
Of the four suitcases I brought on my long journey, half are food, some is yoga gear, and the rest are clothes and personal care. That’s how important food is to me. It is my fuel and my friend. What we put into our bodies has a profound effect on what we get out of our bodies.
I pack tons of dry goods, the base of most of my meals. Once I find the freshest local produce, I can make meals quickly and easily. How? Because I always bring ALL of my condiments, people! Never—under no circumstance—should you leave your essential condiments behind. With them, I can complete the puzzle of a familiar meal. It also makes me feel closer to home that I’ve seen what’s in front of me before.
On my last movie, Fantasy Island, every single one of my costars laughed at me during meals when I brought out the condiments and lined them up in front of my plate. They were laughing, but I felt at home. By week two, guess who was borrowing my condiments? That’s right… everyone!
I also bring a pot and a one-burner hot plate. I am that adamant about eating well. If I can’t find it, I make it myself. I admit it’s a little extreme, but I’m not into designer handbags and I don’t travel with tons of shoes… so this is what I bring. I am happy knowing I have every tool I need to eat whatever I want, whenever I want!
Next, I bring photos or notes that matter to me.
They go up in the same place no matter where I am: the bathroom mirror. Like many women, it’s where I spend a significant amount of time. I’m such a visual person that when I can look up and see the faces or the words of loved ones, it makes my day—every day.
I am transported by scents.
Whether it’s incense or my favorite candle, the smell gives me peace by reminding me of my safe space. It can transform a new space into one that’s soothing and familiar.
My favorite candle: Birthstone Scents | Topaz
The last thing to find my new normal: Get out there!
One thing I know is absolutely true… Your “people” are everywhere! In a new country and a big city, take comfort in knowing there are others like you waiting and wanting to meet you, too! (No matter how different you may feel.)
In my first two weeks, I’ve become a regular at my local organic grocer—they gave me a punch card! Woohoo!
I found an older woman and her sister who take pride in their tiny shop full of natural remedies and curated holistic goods. They even carry my favorite coconut milk! I almost kissed them!
I stumbled upon a coffee shop that dumps raw cocoa into homemade cashew milk and serves it hot in a mug to warm your freezing fingers.
I found a place where all the birds gather and let me chase them into the sky as many times as I like.
There’s a bookstore with an English section carrying all the classics and small, family-run restaurants that already know what I want the minute I walk in.
I’m a creature of habit, sue me!
There is so much beauty in finding a new normal for periods of time in our lives. I often wonder why any of us are sent where we are and what the mission is when we are there.
I think I’ve figured it out.
We exist in a new space to explore a different horizon—without losing ourselves. We are there to offer who we are and gratefully receive what’s on offer to us. We become educated in a world unlike the one we’ve known and we take away a perspective to pass on with love. We come home to those we hold dear with an even deeper appreciation for their presence in our lives.
I can happily live with that.