Homesickness can be a serious downer in the face of all your globe-trotting and passport-stamping. Curing homesickness isn’t easy but there are a few things you can do to help your homesickness. I will give this my best shot – but I may need your help, friends. Homesickness hasn’t been a huge problem for me.
Maybe because I’m dead on the inside.
Okay. Not dead. Just slightly rotting? But I’ve never been totally immune. Here are the things that worked for me.
Ways to Cure Homesickness
Homesickness Cure #1: Stay in touch with peeps from home.
No, I mean really stay in touch with them. Not just the ‘once a month’ update stay in touch, but the ‘several times a week, hey remember how I told you about that guy?’ stay in touch. This will really help ease you into your new home, before you’ve made any new friends or really gotten accustomed to your surroundings. It is not an exaggeration to say that when I move to a new place, The BFF can expect daily emails, detailing the weird new food I’ve eaten, my most recent cultural faux pas and the caliber of fashion in my new home. Good friends will probably be really excited/intrigued by your new adventure and email you back pretty quickly. You won’t feel so alone in this strange new place, knowing that someone knows exactly what you’re up to.
Homesickness Cure #2: Think about what you’re really homesick for
Are you homesick for your friends? Your family? Food, language, weather, hobbies? Of course, you probably miss all of these things in varying amounts, but it can be helpful to parcel them out and decide what you miss the most. If you really miss your friends and family, get a camera on your computer and skype it up. Find an expat group, travel somewhere that has the snow/beaches/maple trees that you’ve been missing, find some restaurants that serve a reasonable facsimile of your homeland’s food.
Homesickness Cure #4: Create a go-to homesickness ‘first-aid kit’
When you feel a bout of homesickness coming on (mine usually came around 2 pm on overcast Sundays) turn to your fail proof treatment. This might be a comfort food from home coupled with familiar TV shows or movies and a call home. Or it might be a visit to a mall or an ice skating rink or a national park. When I was living in Taiwan, my triage plan was 1) go to the import store and buy refried beans and salsa a) eat burritos with Tamara while watching SATC c) go to the upscale bookstore and pay $7 for a copy of Glamour. This got me through the two typhoon seasons.
Homesickness Cure #5: Try to push through it
I think it’s also important not to indulge your homesickness too much. Just as we often sugarcoat our time abroad, it’s easy to view home through rose colored glasses and lose sight of all the amazing things going on around you. Get out an explore your new home, even if it’s just for a few hours at a time. Limit yourself to a few phone calls per week and one session of emailing per day. Try not to compare this new place to home. More likely than not, they’re apples and oranges.
Homesickness Cure #6: Realize that homesickness is an inevitable part of travel
Just like there will be days where you hate your job and nights when you question your decision to be with your partner, there will be times that you are fed up with being away from home. You can’t read the signs, everyone stares at you and you can’t find clothes that fit to save your life. That being said, I know that one of the proudest days in my life was the day that I had to send in my passport to get more pages added. You never hear people say “God, you know I really wish I hadn’t spent that summer volunteering in Africa.” Travel isn’t always easy, but if you realize that there will be tough days, you will be less likely to take them to heart. And you can always, always go home.
What would you guys recommend? How do you deal with homesickness?Got the travel bug? Check out my ebooks and podcasts on making long-term travel a reality! Only $15 forpetessake!
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