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05.01.2006

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it's only temporary how to make your short-term pad feel nice and homey
by Yee-Fan Sun
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I never meant to become such a nomad. Some folks are born with the adventure bug Ė addicted to the thrill of the new, getting antsy whenever a place starts to feel too familiar. But I got swept up into this life of constant moving by accident, or maybe fate (if you believe in such things), and certainly, good luck. I fell in love with a boy, whose education and career have taken him to all sorts of strange corners of the world. And me, I ended up going along for the ride.

Travel is fun; getting to know new cities, new people, new cultures, new foods, all good. After spending the first couple decades of my life in my native and beloved Massachusetts, Iíve lived in D.C. and Tucson, sunny Australia and rainy Scotland. In just a couple of months, itíll be on to Toronto. Iíve had the fine fortune to experience all sorts of cool places; itís a life I wouldnít trade for anything in the world. Still, Iím a nester by nature. I donít love seeing different places so much as getting to know them, making the new familiar, digging in until I feel like I belong. And so no matter where in the world Iíve managed to find myself, or how short-term the stint, I like to settle into my new space, turn even the most temporary of quarters into a cozy little nest of my own.

Whether youíre off to do some volunteer work or teach English overseas, heading away to do an internship, a fellowship, some summer program in some far off locale perhaps, heck, even hunkering down in your parentsí basement for a bit while you make some big life transition, check out these tips on how to turn that temporary abode into a place that makes you feel at homeÖ

before you goÖ
When you suddenly find yourself living in some strange new place, itís good to have a few things that remind you of home. Still, thereís no need to schlep over all your lifeís belongings when youíll just have to figure out how to schlep them back a few months down the line; choose a select few of the following and youíll be able to personalize your new digs without throwing your money away on expensive shipping.

art-to-go: Pack any flat art you happen to have on hand. Photos, images torn out from your favorite calendar, sketches from that drawing class you took on a whim in college Ė okay, even those posters Iím always pooh-poohing -- all can be transported easily without weighing you down too much. Smaller images can be safely thrown in a suitcase by simply popping them between two pieces of stiff cardboard, then taping up the cardboard snugly. For bigger, flexible images (like those posters), scare up some poster tubes. Once you get where youíre going, you can either procure some of those inexpensive clip frames for your smaller art, or scour local thrift stores for even better deals. Still more money than you want to invest on temporary art? Mount your images on foam-core to give them a little depth, then poster-gum to the wall. The height of sophistication and elegance, itís not, but the foam-core actually will make the artwork look a lot better than if it were just slapped directly on the wall.

mosey along folks...

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