Sometimes I wake up and I find myself missing so much a city – its atmosphere, the places I visited, the people – that it almost hurts. And the even worse part is that I know I won’t be back soon. So I have to find some ways to cope with this unhappy situation, especially when it occurs while I’m at home, and not in another part of the world, traveling. I have to say that dealing with it wasn’t easy, at first, but now it is a lot simpler as I developed some sort of a strategy. Little things that help bring back that city into everyday life, little tricks that brighten up a day. So here are my tips on how to soothe your longing for a city, hoping that they will be helpful to you as well.
Start the day with a coffee/tea in a mug from that city
Although I don’t have a huge collection, I like to buy mugs from the places I visit – this is my collection of mugs so far. But when I miss Vienna, for instance, I can start the day drinking coffee from the mug from Austria’s capital. Or from the mug from Denver, or Munchen and so on. It is not much, I know, but it is a pretty great start.
Use a pen/pencil from that country
If I have meetings to go to, or when I simply need to write something down (from the to-do list to writing ideas for blog posts or my clients), I pick a pen from the city I miss. I have pens from London, Paris, Amsterdam and so on. Again, not a big thing, but it is something!
Browse photos/notes from trips to that city
Let’s admit it: it is a lot easier and cheaper to take photos these days than 20 years ago. We all have a camera or at least a smartphone and we take photos when we travel. I admit that, for me, photos are one of the most precious travel souvenirs LINK so, yes: when I long for a city, I can find a half an hour, at least, to browse through the photos I took in a different city. This is a trip back – as I remember each place I saw, the reasons why I took some photos, the things I liked and the ones I disliked, the happy experiences, tastes, smells, people.
Eat something specific to that city/country/region
The other day, for instance, I prepared some simple croissants with bacon, cheese, tomatoes and cucumber – yes, thinking of Paris. And some pancakes in the afternoon. And yes, I cook special dishes from different parts of the world 😉 If you don’t like to cook, you can go to a restaurant with food from the country you miss (French, Italian, Japanese, etc.)
Use any other souvenir you have
It depends on what you buy when you go somewhere: I like to acquire a fridge magnet, maybe a mug, a pen and/or other souvenirs, specific to the place I visited.
From Paris, for instance, I bought a lovely black and white set for salt and pepper (and I received another beautiful one from Amsterdam! from a friend) – and these days I use this set!
Listen to music from that city
Music can get you closer to a city – especially if you have special songs that you heard in a given place.
Talk with the person you visited the city and remember together the special moments (or with friends who were there in other occasions)
Did you visit that city you miss so much right now with a special someone? Then sit together and recall your experiences and favorite moments! Did you visit a city by yourself, but have friends who were there in different occasions? Speak to them and exchange experiences!
These are some of the things I do to soothe my longing for a city. It is not much, but each small thing helps and takes me a little closer to that city. True, nothing beats going back there, but for the moments when this is impossible, the tricks presented above may help.
What do you do to ease your longing for a place? What are your tips and trick for dealing with it?