Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Being Homesick Whilst Travelling | Travel Tips


Homesickness … I never knew any symptoms until I looked them up for this post. I have experienced times where I have missed my family in general, for birthdays and when I have missed big family events but never knew the signs. I just felt sad, little bit empty and tired but I knew I had to get up and do something that would make me feel fulfilled. I decided to write this post because whilst I am not travelling I want to create more posts on travel tips and next up is “How to Deal with Homesickness when Abroad”.

Missing family and friends is one of the many reasons people tend not to travel whether it is or a month, 3 months or more. This is completely normal, to have that reason or have homesickness when you are away. It would be strange if you didn’t miss anyone (even the little things) and I wouldn’t tell them that either! Keep reading if you are currently feeling homesick or worried you may in your future travels. 





What is Homesickness?

Seeing as I am not a doctor/psychologist or any other type of professional, I can’t tell you exactly what homesickness is. According to a recent post by Huffington Post, Joshua Klapow says it has to do with attachment. We feel insecure/uncomfortable both physically and emotionally and long for something that is known. Apparently it has nothing to do with your type of home situation, you can still feel homesick. It makes sense, right? If you are in a town for a long time or feel really comfortable and suddenly somewhere polar opposite, you are bound to possibly not feel settled.


Is This Normal?

Even from a young age when I went on a 2/3 week trip to Switzerland with the Guide’s aged 12, I watched others experience homesickness but just not myself (I have never had it on a grand scale). I remember thinking, is it normal that I am not feeling it? The thing is, I experienced it 8 years later after 6 months living in Spain it finally hit me that I had settled and not realised it and started to really feel like I was missing out on things back home. However, I knew how to overcome it. So is this normal? YES. Homesickness, according to Prospects, can happen to anyone whether they are travelling or leaving for university even if it is down the road. 


Can I Get Rid Of It?

I am pretty sure (again I am not a professional) that it isn’t a one solution for all, there are many ways people experience homesickness and there are numerous ways to overcome it. Again Prospects give some insight into the emotions you may feel and you then know what you can do to overcome it. You can have a disturbed sleeping pattern (have earlier nights and not on your phone), you can feel lonely (go to some meet-ups or say hello to a random person) and headaches (simply look after yourself and drink lots of water). 

I am sure this person won’t mind me talking about them (won’t mention names), and I am sure they don’t read my blog. In a previous employment, I went to talk to someone because they were extremely homesick and wanted to go home and needed to talk to someone. I talked to them, listened to their concerns and over the month made sure they were getting the most out of their experience in their current situation. Fast forward 7 months, coming up to the end of my employment that person looked so happy and comfortable and it was so nice to see that difference. There are plenty of reasons why you can get homesick, you may have never left home before or the move wasn’t something you expected. Keep reading on ways to combat this.  . Even though my homesickness hasn’t been really bad, I have had experience of seeing my parents only once in a year and constantly being away for uni and helping others to deal with homesickness.


 10 STEPS TO COMBAT HOMESICKNESS

1 – Call Home

The most obvious one of all, however just hearing someone’s voice can make all the difference. It wasn’t everything about home that made me homesick, it was the little things like hearing my Mum’s jokes or my Dad’s epic laugh. Even now, I miss my best mates voice because we had so many conversations. I had to record some phone interviews for my dissertation and had an app that recorded every conversation and I used to listen back to my conversations with my best mate because it calmed me. Even if you do that, listening back to their voice when they can’t call will be great for feeling like you are back home. 


2 – Do Things You Would Normally Do At Home

Another way to deal with homesickness, is to do things that you did when you were at home. For me, it was going for breakfast with my dad or shopping with my mum, so wherever you are do something you always love to do. Do it with your new friends, or go and find new people who love the same thing as you. I have mentioned before in a previous post, there is this app called Meet Up, you can select the type of activity club to join (cycling to eating) and meet similar sorts of people. Suddenly you have a bigger circle of friends who can help you with missing home. After my first meet up, I made a TON of friends. Two years later, I met up with one and bumped into one on the metro … of all places and all metro stops in Barcelona! 


3- Go Out With Friends/Talk To Someone 

If I have learned anything in the past 3 years, it is that having a good old cry or vent is good for the system. You can offload a lot of tension and emotion, feel a heck of a lock better and then want to rectify that by doing something fun. Often the people around you, know you better than you think and will have some sort of idea of what to do to get your mind off a problem or to help it. Go for that coffee/cocktail with your mate and just have a catch up. Two things happen ….. you talk to someone and get some advice and you get out of your room (being stuck in your room will only make it worse.) Trust me, when I was in Spain I had a really bad strep throat infection, I was off for 3 weeks and was stuck in my room I couldn’t leave unless it was for the doctors. I never missed my parents more than when I was stuck in my little room. 


4 – Book a Trip Home 

Obviously, this is easier for those people that are in the same country and can book a cheap train/coach home. So definitely do it, if you are lucky enough to be in that position and have the time. However, what about those who are in a different country and have to get time off work and book an expensive plane home? If you are going on a long trip and know you definitely want to book a trip home, plan a week in your diary and get it booked off work. Set that date in your calendar with a countdown so it is something to look forward to. Then start saving for that plane journey! This may seem an intense step for how to deal with homesickness but sometimes we need to visit home now and again.


5 – Explore Your New Home – Don’t Push Yourself

Explore your new surroundings, you never know until you try – it is the least you can do (I can hear my dad in my head saying that to me).  You went there for a reason, so what an experience to have and it may surprise you. It may have the same shops or activities as back home or have things that make you as happy if not even more happier than you thought. Don’t do anything crazy at first, ease yourself in. Don’t’ go out of your comfort zone or you will really want to go home. No one expects you to settle in straight away, enjoy it at your own pace. I was lucky enough where the second I stepped off the plane in Spain, I felt at home. Yes Spain and England aren’t far from each other, but the way of life is different and I had to get used to it. I left a bad story in England and was ready for a new on in Spain and I felt great once I settled in and explored. That may make no sense, but I have a rollercoaster of a story and the best thing to do was to leave to look after myself and it was the best decision. 


6 – Decorate Your Home 

Being on a really low intern wage which barely covered my rent, which by the way was in Barcelona where the rent is so high was difficult. I had two student loans which had to last the whole year and I saved as much as I could despite earning a full-time wage and having rent and bills to pay before I moved to the city. My room was small (same rent as England but way smaller room), I remember seeing it and thinking I don’t care because I would make it my own and this is my room now. I remember seeing my mum’s poor face, she said it looked like a prison cell and was so dark. After my first day of work, my mum went shopping the best she could despite not speaking Spanish and bought TONS of colourful stuff to decorate my room.

It helped, it made my small room mine and it wouldn’t have felt homely without it. I actually felt really sad leaving my room, it was my room for over a year and we went through some times together – mainly me coming home at 6am from a night out to crying over boys. 


7 – Have An Adventure 

Do something that completely surprises you, I don’t mean skydiving or anything crazy unless you like it but do something that makes you smile and feel alive. For me, I remember sitting on the back of my friend/guy I was seeing (I don’t even know), anyway I was on his motorbike. Never went on one before and was thinking dad may be annoyed at me but I have a helmet, we drove around the beach front and I honestly had my Lizzie McGuire moment. It was a story to tell and I couldn’t wait to tell my parents (I did eventually tell my mum 6 months later at Christmas and dad when I came home). They were shocked but laughing because they knew I loved it and had so many stories that made me happy. 


8 – Get a Routine

Linking in the effect of having no sleeping pattern, is having a routine to deal with homesickness. If you don’t plan your days and end up chilling in your room watching Netflix, you are going to be miserable and start to miss home even more. If you only have plans to travel, set in your diary days where you are going on a day trip or doing an activity. If you plan to be somewhere for a bit longer, try to get a part-time job, you feel start to feel settled and meet a ton of people.


9 – Look After Yourself 

I swear by this even now, with a full-time job in which during December was a lot of night work. I would sleep in until I had to leave and writing this post … I haven’t washed my hair for a week. Thank goodness, you can’t tell it looks greasy in a ponytail. It sucks, I am neglecting my twice a week home spa session but that is because I love working and want to rest so I am ready for the busy Christmas period. However, writing this knowing I am about to do a spa session, makes me feel more myself and happy. Do what makes you feel well, whether that is going to the gym or going for a walk on the beach … you should be top priority. 


10 – Meet Local People 

The best thing was after being in Spain for a while, was walking into my local corner shop, gym or supermarket and talking to locals. In the gym, one of the guys would shout “Blondie” every time I walked in to having a catch up with the cashier in the shop, I felt so at home despite talking in a completely different language. On nights out, I would go to international meet-ups, where I would meet people of different nationalities (especially in hostels) and still today I talk to them. Make an effort (on both ends) because you can meet the best people and create the best memories.

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I love creating this travel tips content at the moment whilst I am not travelling, I hope you are enjoying reading them as much as I am writing them. I think it is important to talk about these things that can happen during travelling, because it isn’t always happiness and joy when travelling. There are hard times and it is always good to talk about these things and help others. 




I have never had a clear idea of my “dream job role”, I don’t actually think there is one. From a young age, I always wanted to make a difference to someone’s experience, because why wouldn’t you want it to be happy? That was reinforced after being treated badly in the past, I kept thinking what is the point of them doing this and do they even care? I didn’t and still don’t want that for anyone or for anyone to have a bad experience. That is why I want to do these posts. Life is way too short to be nasty, or let toxic people/experiences get you down!

Mol xo

(my goodness that got emotional at the end – can you tell I wrote this two days before Christmas!!)


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