Bringing rituals on the road
I’m a creature of habit but I’m also a frequent traveler. A frequently traveling creature of habit. You’d think these two aspects of my life would work against each other but that’s where koselig comes in.
Koselig, pronounced ‘koosh-lee’, is a Norwegian word that doesn’t have a direct English translation. Koselig is hard to describe but easy to feel. It’s more than cozy — it’s an internal sense of warmth, happiness, and well-being that encompasses comfort, calm, and a profound feeling of contentment. Born out of the long, cold seemingly endless Norwegian winters, koselig is a means of bringing joy to life through the most simple daily routines and the most cherished traditions.
Koselig is a lifestyle for me. When I’m at home, I layer the koselig on thick with little rituals that make me feel organized, comfortable, and safe: making my bed every morning, taking the time to perform my skincare routine, brewing a cup of tea and listening to the news while I pick out an outfit that ‘feels’ like my current mood for the day, immediately swapping my ‘outside’ clothes for ‘inside’ clothes (aka loungewear) when I come home at night, meal-planning, making a list of things I don’t want to forget the next morning, journaling.
So what happens to these routines when I’m not at home? I bring them with me! No, they don’t look exactly the same but they do the trick to make me feel at ease. Here are five simple ways I keep the kos strong no matter how far from home I am:
1. Recreate my nightstand
Having familiar bedside essentials to reach for when I’m traveling is a must for me to feel comfortable. I have a little silk drawstring bag that I call my ‘bedtime kit’ that I always bring with me when visiting with friends, traveling for work, or going on vacation. Inside is my silk eye mask, a pair of earplugs (no I’m not afraid of missing my alarm--I’m the lightest sleeper EVER and no matter what current background noise I’m dealing with, I find the sound of my own breathing lulls me off to sleep and earplugs really amplify that), lip balm, a glass of water (or my water bottle), my lavender essential oil and a couple pocket-friendly crystals for some extra good vibes.
2. Stock my traveling tea cupboard
I used to be a dedicated coffee drinker and I pretty much drank whatever magic bean water was available as long as it was caffeinated. As a converted tea drinker in the last few years, I’ve found myself to be more picky with what black tea is available and being forced to start my day with some subpar leaves is a sure way to throw me off my game. So I bring my own! It feels like such a luxury to have my favorite warm beverages on hand whether on a plane, train, or in a hotel room or AirBnB. I love having my favorite breakfast tea with me and some sachets of peppermint in case my stomach acts up, or some of my Moon Cycle or Red Raspberry Leaf teas if it’s creeping up to that time of the month for me.
3. Bring an abbreviated skincare routine
I’m a bit of a skincare hoarder. I just LOVE trying new products and really indulging in my cleansing, exfoliating, massaging, and hydrating routine. It makes me and my complexion happy. But at the risk of my favorite (and expensive...green beauty ain’t cheap but we love it anyway!) products being confiscated by security (or weighing down my weekend bag, spilling inside laptop bag, the list of mishaps goes on) I devise a Sparknotes version of my current routine whenever I hit the road. Travel is already a trigger for skin issues (stress, diet change, air quality and pollutants, etc) so I never like to bring anything with me just because it’s travel-sized. Instead I take the time to bring just enough of what cleanser, serum, oil, and moisturizer has been working for me, plus a couple teaspoons of a powder mask because they travel so well.
4. Pack clothes that make me feel like myself
I used to make the mistake of packing clothes for trips, especially vacations, that I thought fit the vibe of where I was going, rather than being something I would necessarily wear at home. With the exception of outfits chosen for a special occasion or some wild prints thrown in my bag for some ‘grammable moments, I found my packing choices often alienated me from myself while traveling. Like a typical New Yorker, I gravitate towards black everything but I always used to try to switch that up when leaving home. Nothing is worse than feeling bloated and remembering you chose not to pack your go-to black, wide-leg linen pants in favor of a periwinkle-striped, clingy romper. Help! Now I prioritize packing basics and make sure I always bring a set of ‘inside clothes’ for getting koselig at night wherever I’m staying.
5. Make a plan for restless nights
This might sound silly to some but in addition to being a light sleeper, I’m also very sensitive to falling asleep, especially if I’m staying alone in a hotel room or AirBnB. So I like to have a game plan if sleep evades me when I’m away from home. I always keep my journal with me so I can empty my brain before bed, but sometimes manifestations and thoughts of gratitude aren’t enough to temper my anxieties at the end of a stressful day. So I keep a queue of ‘feel-good’ shows and movies on my streaming apps and podcast episodes to have running in the background while I get ready for bed if I can sense I’m going to have trouble winding down. It creates a feeling of familiarity for me that makes me feel more comfortable while on the road.
How do you bring your rituals on the road?