A Danish term defined as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”
– Anna Altman, The New Yorker
I learned about the word when I first travelled to Copenhagen two years ago. Our guide said it embodied the idea of cosiness, that feeling you get when it’s cold outside and you’re sitting indoors by the fire, in a comfy chair with a thick blanket over your lap, a hot chocolate and a great book in hand.
Now as ideal as that sounds, the chances of me booking to stay in a hotel or Airbnb with a fireplace is slim to none because this girl doesn’t have cash like that. Plus, carrying books while travelling the world is a waste of backpack space and too heavy to carry around. Let’s not even talk about those thick wool blankets that you see on Instagram with #hygge.
But long -term travel out of a suitcase or backpack does not always mean that you can’t have a little bit of hygge in your life. Your well-being matters when you’re travelling.
Hygge to me is laying out this giant scarf I bought in Lombok over my bed for the night. It’s like a ritual I have, along with making my bed in the morning. It looks cosy and comforting to return to at the end of each day.
Hygge is also a cup of fresh mint tea or some fancy spicy chai I found at Tesco. It’s spurlging on very nice lip balm because my lips feel like sandpaper. It’s also a few drops of lavender oil on my pillow. It’s most days as simple as a good meal.
It’s taking care of myself in the smallest ways to make me feel more of a human and less of a nomadic pack rat. I move around so often, it’s nice to have small bits of consistency, routine and luxury every now and then.
Take time off all that exploring to enjoy a book in a quiet and hygge cafe. Breathe. Enjoy the journey because you’ll never have another one quite like it.