No matter how awesome your times abroad can be, there’s a realistic chance you’ll run into a case of homesickness at some point. That intense longing to home, the people you love or just anything familiar, can literally make you sick.
Been there, done that. Here’s some advise to get you through it in one piece. Remember: do nót worry. Like any feeling, this is just temporary. Really, it’s gonna pass! Until then, these are some do’s that’ll help you make things easier.
Share your feelings
Not talking about this gives it – as with many feelings – space to grow. So share your pain with others. Even when everyone around you seems to cope perfectly, they might feel just like you. A good percentage of travelers goes through this, so let people know. They might be able to comfort you or give you some useful advise, and many of them’ll understand what you’re going through. And if not.. hey, their bad for thinking that life is all puppy dogs and sunshine 😉
If you have the chance: set up a videocall with your loved ones back home. They know you and will for sure be able to lift you up a bit. If it triggers crying: go for it! Nothing as liberating as that. And it’s ok to feel that way, all it does is show them your intense love. Not a weakness if you ask me, but a major strength!
Find your favorite foods
Foods from home, that is. Find a kitchen to create your favorite sandwich or dish. Or maybe there’s an international supermarket in town where you can treat yourself to those cookies from home you love so much?! You’d be surprised how comforting familiar tastes can be.
Listen to music from home
Thank you 21st century, for bringing us the internet and with that online radio. Stream your favorite radio station and feel just a few % more connected to home.
Pick up a lost hobby
Love drawing? Go out and find a sketchbook and some pencils. Love music? Find a music store to buy a guitar (yes, I did that once, and even learned to play a little!). Could be any instrument really.. Love cooking? Search the city for the best ingredients and cook for life. Love running? Make some space in your backpack for your new running shoes. You could even recreate your own (religious) traditions. Doing what you love will instantly give you a shot of happiness.
Work that diary
Writing your journal can help you clear your mind and process new impressions. Make sure to include positive experiences, from back home ánd from your current place. Keep your focus strong by penning down 3 things that you’re grateful for on a daily basis. And making a list of what it is exactly that you miss about home, can help you identify them and look for these things in your new environment.
Meet other people
Very important – Although homesickness might make you feel like you just want to curl up in your dorm bed and cry, please don’t! Even though you feel like isolation is your one and only wish, go out & meet people. Even if it’s just a walk around, making small talk and interact with the cashier or your fellow hotel guests. DO IT!
Two platforms that really helped me out so often while finding my way into a new place:
— Couchsurfing (for meeting individuals ánd organized events)
— Meetup (events from sporty activities to game nights, meditation or pub crawls. You name it, they got it)
Explore your new environment
Staying in and feeling sorry for yourself will bring you.. well… nowhere. Go out and explore. Ask the internet or your new roommates for the best places around. Go for a walk, focus on taking some nice pictures, be aware of the locals habits, plan a nice dinner with the coolest person in the world: you! A great way to get to know a new city (and interact with others) is a -free- walking tour; almost offered in any bigger city. Google, find and enjoy 🙂
Let it be. The Beatles said it and it’s our turn to believe ’em. No matter how miserable you feel, trust that better times are on their way. You can do this!