Yes, I’ll admit it. I’m terribly homesick at the moment. The holidays in the Southern Hemisphere suck. I’m sorry. It’s hot and no one really decorates. This will be my third Christmas down here and I’m still not used to seeing Santa in shorts. Regardless of the lack of effort to decorate, I miss my family terribly. I want to tell you that it’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to miss them and it’s ok to be homesick. Just do me a favor; don’t go home.
Sounds ridiculous right? Of course it does. I’m telling you the one thing you’ll want to do more than anything. And I’m not just telling you, I’m reminding myself too. Homesickness can be a big damper on your travel plans and in my case, my life plans. I’ve given up before, flew home and while I enjoyed being around my family, I left my own journey to join theirs. I thought it would cure the pain, but in all actuality, it made it worse. So this holiday season if you find yourself crying, feeling lonely and wanting to give up and go home, read these tips to push past the temporary situation.
This is self-explanatory. Sitting in a room everyday by yourself makes it worse and your chance of meeting new friends is zero to none. Put your pants on and be social. Go to a coffeeshop and chat with the person next to you, ask someone from work to hangout, join a meet-up group, go to a concert. Anything. Just get out of your head and in to the light!
Counting your blessings is not just for church. Being grateful is one of the fastest ways to get over being homesick. You realize how incredibly blessed you are to be seeing and doing all the things you are. Start small and write down what your grateful for, then get descriptive. Not only are you grateful to be traveling, you’re grateful to be living where you are because you met so-and-so and they have become a new friend and a channel to new experiences. If you never met them you wouldn’t be having those experiences now.
Buy something familiar
Whenever I’m homesick, I always try to buy something that reminds me of home. Usually it’s a Starbucks or something to give me a taste of the familiar. I may not be physically home, but I’m there in my mind when I get something I have in the states; It makes me feel like I’m not so far away, and it works.
Use Your Technology
Seriously. Skype has revolutionized long-distance communication. And it’s FREE. Skyping with your family keeps you updated and you’ll feel less left out. I love going on Skype because it makes me feel like I never left. There’s something crazy about seeing someone on my computer screen; it makes me think they’re just in the other room. I Skype with my niece and nephew to hear about their lives and it’s one of the ways I keep in contact with people all around the world. It really helps me miss them less! ( I love this photo so much, I had to put it in here. Sorry boys!)
Remind Yourself Why You’re Here
At the end of the day it was your choice to go on this adventure. And that’s wonderful. Do NOT blame yourself for being away from your friends and family. While some family members can make you feel guilty for being away, remind yourself of the reason why you’re out on the road in the first place. If you still have strong emotions and feelings about it, don’t go home. If you can’t remember why you’re traveling, then it’s time to reassess. But I still don’t think you should go home!
Cry it out
I’ve cried at least three times this week. And for those who know me, I don’t cry that much. I’m letting myself feel my emotions and more importantly, letting myself cry. It feels great. Don’t be ashamed to let yourself do the same. I feel like after a good cry, just like after you puke, you instantly feel better.
You’re not the only one
Sometimes reminding myself that I’m not the only one who’s homesick or away from home during the holidays helps. Safety in numbers right? This also gives you a great opportunity to gather all the orphan travelers in your squad and create something special of your own. I’m having a ‘family’ Christmas with my flatmates I’ve only known for a month. But I love them already and I know it’s going to be incredibly special.
For those of you out on the road during the holidays, what do you do to get over being homesick?
About the Author:
Jen Heuett is the creator of Travel + Trust & Wanderlust, an online community to educate, empower and inspire women to travel solo. Her words can also be found on Huffington Post, Mind Body Green, and Travel Hooligan, her first travel company that inspires young adults to utilize the Working Holiday Visa in Australia and New Zealand. When she’s not traveling the world, she’s enjoying the Pacific Northwest and her mom’s tacos.