Beatrix du Toit about feeling lost and alone when traveling and living in model homes
Image credit: Milan Cronjeh

Beatrix: Traveling Without Feeling Lost and Alone

After being a model for over 15 years, Beatrix turns her back to modelling. In this article she zooms in on the lonely moments she experienced during her modelling career and gives tips on how to overcome feeling lost in model apartments.

One big holiday

Beatrix: I no longer model and hung up my strutting shoes a while back to join what my mom refers to as “the real world and a real job“. Having joined the corporate world and starting my own business I was shocked at people’s misconception of modelling. The questions asked about my years as a model and how they perceived the life of a model to be really irked me a bit. The general consensus was: ONE BIG HOLIDAY (without eating). I giggle when I listen to the questions people ask me about the 5 star hotels, free clothes, and penthouse model apartments. Damn you reality TV and Tyra Banks for making our world look so glamorous, when the exact opposite is what actually makes up 90 % of our conditions.

Damn you reality TV and Tyra Banks for making our world look so glamorous

False sense of freedom

Living out of a suitcase and being in a new country almost every three months is mandatory when you are a model. In the beginning the adventure of traveling and seeing new places can be so exciting and you hardly ever notice how much you travel, how many people you see, languages you work in and beds, trains and airplanes you have slept in. From the beginning the excitement of traveling gives you such an adrenaline rush that it helps you cope without even knowing it and the lack of having to commit to anything can give you such a false sense of freedom.”

Thus the effect is not noticeable in the beginning of your career, but after doing it for a while things change; I changed. Eventually the novelty wears off and I started missing home a place of belonging and connections that are not only fly by night seasonal affairs and friendships. Almost all my friends in the industry confirmed that at some point you want the familiarity of your own space more than anything else and the hotel room with the crisp white linen where you are supposed to sleep tonight, no longer holds the promise of comfort like it used to.

Feeling at home

During the last few years of my career I developed a few skills to help me feel at home wherever I was and also to help me focus on what I felt was missing in the empty hotel rooms and photo-shoots. I placed my focus on what it was that I craved and missed and thus made a concerted effort to build a home for myself where the chances for uncertainty are less, and where I can manage change and unexpected events as they occur.  So I thus saved up to secure a long term rental and am in the process of purchasing my own little pad. Make sure you can pay your mortgage each month and that you have the right kind of insurance even in the times when work is slow and the rates not that great. So use the traveling time and hours spent in airports and trains as your focused planning time.

Putting effort in friendships

Traveling so much and sometimes not seeing some friends for 3 seasons in a row can put strain on friendships and relationships. Thus create a community of friendship; either locally or a network spread across the world and make the effort to stay in touch. I found that my web of friendships and the effort I made to stay in touch were able to hold me at times when life brought unpleasant surprises my way, and celebrated with me when life had its pleasant surprises too. My girlfriends I have made thanks to this industry have been true angels and I thank them every time we get the opportunity to chat for making the effort to Skype in spite of time differences.

Accepting reality

The way to a deep and lasting sense of being at home wherever you are is to face and accept the truth that everything changes. Thus by changing my perception and accepting the reality of my constant change of address the life as a model brought me, focusing on what I was working towards became easy and I was able to centre myself in the moment and face whatever was happening to me head on as I knew where I wanted to be.

Tricks to make your model house feel like home

Traveling became easier when I made the internal changes as mentioned above and the excitement and joy of what I did returned. With my changed view I was able to find new ways of cheating the sense of not feeling at home and a few tricks to make that hotel bed or futon in the model house feel like my own:

1. My Bed, My Space

Wherever I went, I tried to set up my room in a similar fashion as what I had at home. For me it was the simple change of moving my bed in the direction I faced when I slept at home, and when that was problematic due to sharing with another, my own Egyptian cotton pillow case and lavender scented eye pillow did the trick of letting my mind think I was in my own bed. So be clever and mimic the scents sounds and textures you would have had at home. A few items to smell feel and look like your own bed will not take up much space in your suitcase.

Beatrix Traveling Without Feeling Lost and Alone

Make yourself feel at home by bringing items that remind you of or smell like home, like pictures to hang up on the wall. Image source

2. Be Sentimental

Everyone has a sentimental piece that they cherish. For me it was a photo of my brother sister and myself, a picture of my parents on their wedding day and also a letter from my grandmother before she passed. Simple objects like these are not just objects—they carried a message of love and home for me. So find that one thing you can hold and look at to transport you to that place called home.

3. Be International

If you really want to be embraced by all the countries you work in and clients you work with, be sure to grab a phrasebook and begin to learn a few phrases of their language. I found that when I made the effort to communicate in a new language in Spain and Italy I had locals inviting me for dinners and drinks in no time. This made the heartache of being alone in a strange country with funny hand gestures even more bearable and fun in the end.

4. Get Connected

The first thing I always did when stranded in a new country for a few weeks or months was to hunt for free wi-fi spots , internet cafe’s and set myself up to be connected and contactable.

5. Commit to Experience and Collect

A great way to become less anxious in new settings is to always be stretching yourself beyond your own comfort zones. Always be looking to try something new and use the opportunity during your travels to steal with your eyes. Being a designer at heart I made it my mission to collect as many ideas and inspiration on my travels to use at a later stage in my own projects.

It is so warming to see my fellow “retired” models display items they collected in the years of traveling or walk into their homes decorated with photos taken all over the world and a style so unique in their homes that only a world traveller could have acquired by being present and observing wherever they were.

Final note

Looking back on all my travels and the times I missed home and a place I wanted to call my own, I am happy that I used it well to plan, design and dream my retreat into reality.

So this is me wishing you all happy travels and finding home wherever you are.

 —- Editor note —-

Thank you for your valuable tips, love! You have so many great things to look back on regarding your modelling career, for example the friends and travels you made and your opportunity to inspire other models with your experiences, views and knowledge. I hope the end of your modelling career does not mean the end of your stories at Great Body & Skin.

I recognize what Beatrix says about feeling lonely in model apartments. Although I have met great people on my travels as well, it is hard when you cannot REALLY share the great things you experience with your family, friends at home or lover. What helped me a lot is Skype conversations and once in a while a real visit.

What are your experiences with travelling, model apartments and feeling alone? What is your advice to overcome this loneliness?

Psst! Frequent readers of my blog already know that Beatrix is a very talented interior architect and designer.

xo-angela

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About Beatrix du Toit

Beatrix du Toit
Whimsical, creative, inquisitive and loved are the four words that come to mind when Beatrix du Toit, model turned interior architect & designer, needs to describe herself. Beatrix has had a very enriching taste of life so far and is open to share some of her experiences and life lessons learned every two weeks at Great Body & Skin.

11 comments

  1. I like the idea of going on a trip with the aim of making it a romantic holiday. Sometime in the zeal to see everything and miss out on nothing the romance does get lost.

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