Travel homesickness is a natural reaction to the experience.
I mean, quite fundamentally, for an extended period of time you're a long way away from home- it seems reasonable to miss it once in a while.
When the initial excitement of travel wears off and you’re tired and lonely on the other side of the world, those hot showers, home cooked meals and hugs from mum can feel like a looong way away. It can be uncomfortable when you travel.
The intensity and duration of homesickness will vary by person, but its presence is a common bugbear that can sap the fun out of travel. It is especially likely to rear its ugly head at some point for someone who hasn’t been travelling before, but no matter who you are, missing home sucks.
So, what can you do? Here are four things to keep in mind and recall when you’re feeling homesick that might help:
- You left home for a reason.
- Where you are now.
- You’ll be home before you know it.
- Home is closer than you think.
Let’s go through one by one.
First: remember that you left for a reason.
Whether home had started to feel boring, you wanted to see a new part of the world, life had become too ‘ordinary’, or travel was simply on your bucket list, there were reasons you were drawn to leave home behind; recalling them can be helpful in overcoming homesickness.
Consider the irony that prior to departure you probably spent every waking moment in excited anticipation, imagining your travels; now you’re actually living it you’re spending your time imagining being back at home.
This leads to point number two: remember where you are now.
When you feel low and homesick it is easy to dwell on all the things you’re missing and to forget all of the amazing things you’re actually doing and the opportunities at hand.
Try writing a list of all the pros of being away and the things you still want to do in order to refocus on the positives: there is an adventure just around the corner if you go out and grab it.
Point number three: You’ll be home before you know it.
If I were to give any advice for your travels it would be this: endeavour to make the most out of every second.
Remember the hard work it took to get where you are and the struggle to leave the safety of home behind- now you’re there, make the most of it!
One day very soon you’ll wake up and be back at home in your own bed and I can guarantee you will want nothing more than to go travelling again; homesickness will be replaced by travel sickness.
Point number four: home is closer than you think.
What’s great about travelling these days is the ease with which you can stay in contact with people. What with the internet, you can pretty much stay connected to family and friends wherever you are in the world.
Through Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Instagram and Snapchat, you can instantaneously get in touch with loved ones and keep up to speed with events back home.
If you don’t have access to a smart phone or tablet, find a local internet cafe and use a computer there instead.
If you’re homesick, take action- sometimes all it takes to get rid of homesickness is a ten minute Skype call. However, as an aside, try not to overdo it here.
Remember point number one: you left home for a reason and by staying overly connected you’re in danger of leaving one foot back there. A part of you went travelling to get away, to experience new countries, places, people, cultures, foods and so on.
Your travels are short and home will still be there when you get back.
If you’re constantly in touch with people back home, always checking Facebook to see what’s happening etc, it becomes harder to fully embrace the experience at hand.
For this to happen it requires you to leave behind what you know in favour of forging new experiences.
If you’re thinking of travelling, homesickness is bound to play some small part in the adventures that lie ahead. If it is becoming a burden, try bringing to mind the above things: that you left home for a reason; where you are now; that you’ll be home before you know it and that home is closer than you think.
From here all that is left to do is jump wholeheartedly into the adventure, embracing everything that opens up to you.