7 Expat & Travel Bloggers Share What Makes Them Feel at Home Abroad

We travel, among many other reasons, to be away from home, to get out of our comfort zones. However, there’s also quite a lot to be said for having that occasional taste of home when you’re traveling around the world or living in a foreign country. I recently spoke to a few fellow travelers and expats and asked them: What makes you feel at home when you’re traveling or living abroad?

Feeling at home in Sydney this Fourth of July

Feeling at home in Sydney this Fourth of July

Kate of Peregrikate

Definitely meeting other travellers from my part of the globe! After a long time of sticking to English or stumbling my way through the local language of wherever it is that I am, it feels so indescribably good to speak to people in my own language, or else hear the burble of people around me speaking it as well.

Luke Mackin of Wild Sumatra

As lame as it sounds, CHEESE! While I enjoy Indonesian food a lot, eating rice three times a day, seven days a week can get a little tiresome. But living in extremely rural Sumatra, there are few other options. Once a week, we dip into the dwindling mozzarella cheese stockpile that we buy up on the rare occasions we make it to a city and create a fantastic homemade pizza.

But really, the longer we live out here, the more we feel at home just living our daily lives, and the more we feel like strangers and foreigners whenever we head back to our “home” country. Our kids were born here, all of our friends are here, and our roots run deep.

Luke's kids in Borobudur, Indonesia

Luke’s kids in Borobudur, Indonesia

Hridya of Living and Traveling in Asia

We have been living in South East Asia (Malaysia to be specific), and, being Asians ourselves, we did not find much of a difference in tradition. We are Hindus but live in a Muslim nation, however having grown up with Muslim friends and neighbours back home, we were aware of the traditions, festivals and rituals. It was indeed heartwarming to see that the local Malaysians welcomed us with both hands to their homes and hearts. We simply love the quality of life we get here – greenery, play areas, gardens for children to enjoy to their hearts’ content, malls, theatres and what not… So there is something for everyone. Loving every bit of of our stay here. 

Justine of Jusz Travel

When traveling abroad, I always bring a blanket from home, and it really does help comfort me when I am feeling homesick. Aside from keeping me warm when I’m in the plane or in my hotel bedroom, whenever I wrap myself with it, it makes me feel like I am being hugged by family and friends from back home. It doesn’t matter if I am gone for two weeks or several months. I have to have my blanket with me!

Justine on the road

Justine on the road

Celina of Voguebites

It is really the company of the people I am with that makes me feel at home even though I am miles away from where I was born. Even if you have only met them there, friends have a way of making you feel like traveling to a new place is simply just like revisiting it, as if you’ve been there countless times before. When new friends make you feel comfortable, when they make you feel welcome in a place that looks totally different from what you are familiar with, then there is no doubt about it. You are definitely home.

Paul Fournier of Boracay Compass

I don’t really feel at home in Boracay, the island in the Philippines where I live… but instead I feel it’s my new, better home.

The reasons for this are:

  • The friendly English speaking locals
  • Tourist and expats from many different nationalities I (love meeting people from so many different cultures)
  • The simple island life with beaches and a good nightlife all around

To summarize, Boracay is a very international place where you can meet many different people from many different countries. And that all within a beautiful beach setting with a vibrant nightlife. That’s why I love living as an expat in Boracay!

Paul in Boracay


As much as I believe in fully experiencing a local culture when abroad, if you’re living in a foreign country for an extended period of time, you really do need a bit of home every once in a while. That might mean visiting an English bookstore, celebrating a tradition from back home, meeting fellow expats, finding a doctor that speaks your language, or discovering the best spot for your country’s cuisine.

On this note, I recently spoke to the developers of an upcoming app, zusa. When it’s launched, it will help you search for businesses around the world that speak your language or share your background. It looks like it will be really useful while also promoting diversity and connecting expats and travelers with each other. Since the app hasn’t been launched yet, you can enter your email on their website to be updated when it’s live. I’m personally very excited to try it!

Curious for more? See part two here. Now your turn! What makes you feel at home when you’re overseas?

Disclaimer: this post was sponsored by zusa, but all opinions are my own or belong to the bloggers who contributed.

5 Responses

  1. Great post! Experiencing the local culture is the best part of living abroad but it HAS to feel like home too – in whatever way that works for you. We move home every 3 months or so, and for us, we do this by making sure we have our own apartment and set it up as our haven so that no matter how unfamiliar the outside world is, our apartment is still our own little slice of home. We bring a couple of small magnets and photos to add the homely touch. Additionally, sometimes we’ll go to restaurants or bars just to experience a little bit of home.

  1. August 13, 2015

    […] for bits of comfort overseas, so I asked travelers and expats all over the world this question. Check out the answers from my first post, and here’s what eight others had to […]

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