Becoming a Regular - and How to Take That Home with You

One of our favourite things to do while traveling is find a little bar or coffeeshop and become regulars, even if it's just for a few days. Maybe we speak the language, maybe we don't - but regardless, we settle in for games of Yahtzee every evening, or games of Scrabble every day. Sometimes we chat with the locals, sometimes we just admire the view.
Surin Beach, Thailand (L) + Ella, Sri Lanka (R) [2013]

Often, we'll buy a small piece of artwork from the place - because the kinds of places we like to settle into tend (for some reason) to have local art for sale (as well as the imperative great beer or cocktails or coffee) - and then it hangs in our house and reminds us of when we "lived" in Paraty or Sintra or Long Beach.

But artwork's not quite what this post is about. It's about little routines - becoming a regular.

In Long Beach, Washington, for example we rented a small house with a wood-burning fireplace for four January nights, and because it was cold and rainy and because you can't spend all your time in a raincoat, or in your house (however quaint and wood-fired), we made a routine out of a fresh-roasted coffee and a game and some colouring books at the Long Beach Coffee Roasters. By the end of it, we knew which low-slung couch was "ours," and we couldn't leave without a photo/drawing by a local artist. It hangs in our bedroom, and I look at it every day.

Long Beach, Washington (T) + the Hoh Forest, Olympic Peninsula (B) [2010]

In Paraty, Brazil - before Nelle was born, this time - Robbie and I wandered cobblestone streets till we found a bright, airy cafe to frequent, and we weren't the only ones. There were lots of regulars - most non-English speaking - but the staff all came and hung out and drank coffees there on their days off, too. It was like Friends, but Brazilian. We came home with a slab of painted wood that hangs in our living room and reminds us of the most romantic place we've ever been. 

You get the point. Or maybe even the two points. The first - that it's possible to feel like a "regular" somewhere, even if it's only over three or four days. That you don't miss out on things by returning to eat the same dish at the same restaurant every night you're in Lisbon (as I did, and haven't ever regretted it - best eggplant tagine I've eaten. Thrice.). That just because you have the same cocktail on the same beachside seat every night you're in Phuket you aren't missing out. For me, the routine deepens my my relationship with the place. Gives me a sense of belonging. 

The other point? If you even remotely like the art that hangs in these little treasures you've found - buy it. You'll never regret having a piece of your temporary home in your more-permanent one.

Have you ever become a regular somewhere? Tell us about it!

Hope you have a lovely Christmas!
Amanda and the family xx

[I wrote this article for the travel side of this blog - Minimal Worries]