I feel kind of weird writing a post telling my audience “how to overcome homesickness” when this has been one of my biggest challenges! So, I am not going to pretend that I am a pro and that it is easy because it is not, and has gotten the best of me before.
When homesickness strikes, it strikes hard and is relentless. It will pull at all your heart strings, consume your entire mind and body, and make you do reckless things.
Honestly, one of my biggest regrets in life is due to giving into homesickness.
Here is my story.
2010 I left my comfortable life, boyfriend, family, everything personal for an independent trip to Australia for six months. Initially, my confidence level was high. I had just had one of the best summers of my life, made a ton of money, had a great boyfriend who wanted me to spread my wings, and was ready to travel the world! Australia had always, I mean always, been a dream of mine so I bought the tickets, secured the work Visa and was ready to go. So what went wrong?
My boyfriend drove me to the airport and before I left he told me he loved me.
Seriously, wtf??? Who does that? It consumed me, all of me…I am a sucker for being in love! Instead of dreaming of all the great adventures I had planned many years before and looking forward to the next six months, I dreamed of his sweet face and I could hear those three sweet words, I love you, the entire…way…there.
That is when homesickness struck and I hadn’t even touched ground yet. I was doomed. Completely and utterly doomed.
I was staying with a girlfriend of mine in Sydney and the first thing I did when my friend picked me up at the airport was buy a phone. That phone was my lifeline and also my downfall. Every chance I had to call Josh I did. We would talk while I was touring around, I would disappear from the bar at night to call him, the phone would suck all my money because I would blow through minutes so fast. It didn’t matter what I was doing or who I was with, talking to Josh is all that made me happy.
When I hiked the Blue Mountains and gazed out into the horizon I thought of our mountain adventure together and when I dove the Great Barrier Reef I wished he was there to experience it with me. Literally, everything I did I thought of him.
Oh, and I cried. I cried a lot! Ridiculous, I know. You are probably wondering how in the world someone could be so sad in such an amazing place. All I can say is that I was in love. Love overtook me and I was willing to give up everything for it. So what did I do? I gave up everything and I booked a ticket home after only one month of being gone. But to be completely honest I it was probably one of the best things I have every done. Sure, I missed out on the “what could have beens”but gained so much more.
So, with all that being said. That boyfriend is now my husband and father to our beautiful son.
Ain’t life grand!
12 tricks to beat the homesick blues!
1. Be active
I cannot stress how important it is to occupy your mind, you will dive into depression if you just sit around doing nothing. It is easy to imagine all the things you could be doing if you were at home and the people you would be with but that will not get you anywhere when abroad. Venture out to the local park, nearest beach, walk your neighborhood, go shopping; anything to get you out! More than likely you will find something that you enjoy and can rely on to get you through the hard days.
2. Find a routine
Everyone has one whether it is the way you drive to work, your “wake-up” routine or anything else. Humans are creatures of habit and we work well that way. It is difficult to get into a groove when traveling but try to adapt new methods each day that will turn into a comfortable routine. Having something to call your own, that you know like the back of your hand will make you feel better.
3. Meet people
Sure, everyone is ok with being by themselves, for a little bit anyways. But after days of not talking to anyone and just thinking of home you might as well call in disaster relief to save yourself from spiraling downwards. You would be surprised how a little conversation can lift your spirits. And to boot, you would make a new friend! Someone to do things with and meet more people. Its simple – wear a smile on your face and be open to attract others!
4. Skype….but only occasionally
Do not be like me and be constantly glued to your phone or computer. I believe that was my down fall, I never gave myself a chance to really immerse myself because I was to connected to home.
5. Cherish your own traditions
If you are away from during a holiday, celebrate anyways! What better reason to gather your new friends to celebrate something you love!
6. Give yourself daily, positive affirmations
Remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing. It is easy to loose sight of your dreams and goals when homesickness takes over. Keep a journal, write it in the sand on the beach, tell someone, Tweet…whatever method works for you.
7. Avoid social media
Again, this was one of my down falls. Every time I got on Facebook it made me feel like I was missing out a special event, family milestones etc. When realistically I was missing out on more where I was just sitting around wishing I was home. Home is constant and never leaves so always seize the moment to live as if tomorrow is the last. If you can handle social media indulge, but if you find it makes your heart sad just leave it alone for a few days. Work on getting your mind right.
Get those endorphins pumping!! When I travel I usually end up walking everywhere and that is how I clear my head and appreciate where my surroundings. When I was in Cairns, Australia I had to walk 2 miles into town each day but on my way I passed trees full of bats, local stores, and walked by the sea.
9. Use snail mail
Stay connected by sending home post cards or care packages. It will make your heart happy and those who are receiving them.
You HAVE to let your body release everything it is feeling. That is done with tears. Crying is the body’s natural way of dealing with stress, so let it. I cried a lot and sometimes uncontrollably but it made me feel better.
11. Have someone visit
Just knowing that someone you are close to will be with you soon is light at the end of the tunnel. But what if no one can afford or has time to travel abroad? Find friends of friends in the area and meet up.
12. Record your travels
Write, photograph, video – anything. Do it so you never forget and also when you need a reminder for why you are doing all of it. It will give you the perspective you need.
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