Alright, while traveling is one of the greatest experiences in life and I believe everyone should have the opportunity to head out into the world and explore, home is pretty awesome too and it might be necessary to overcome homesickness. I’m not really your typical digital nomad in that I am not bouncing from continent to continent with no base. I actually maintain a home base and I love being home. In fact, that’s my home pictured above…it’s awesome!
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a full nomadic lifestyle but it’s simply not for me. And the fun part about it is that there’s nothing saying I have to live on the road 24/7, 365 days a year. In the end, while I love traveling, I do get homesick and I ain’t afraid to say it. Now, let’s explore ways to overcome homesickness and, thus, enjoy every trip!
Overcome Homesickness: Why It Happens
Homesickness happens because there is something about a place where we base ourselves that makes us feel safe, secure, and mostly at peace. It could be the people, our physical home, our pets, or even a feeling we have while we are there. But ultimately we tend to miss all of this when we travel for any amount of time. Sometimes, it can happen fairly quickly and sometimes it takes a bit of time away from home. Just remember, if you feel homesick, it’s probably because you feel like there is something worth returning to.
I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Overcome Homesickness: We All Love Home
When it comes down to it, we all love home…or at least the idea of home. Personally, I really enjoy returning home after a trip. There’s something comforting about returning to the area where everything feels safe and secure. Does that mean I dislike traveling? Absolutely not! But going home is always a welcome respite for me. It’s like that old saying; “You can’t truly appreciate the sunny days without the rainy days.” I appreciate traveling so much more when I have time to take a break at home, reflect on my adventures, and then plan to head out again.
Nevertheless, I’ve met quite a few constant travelers who claim they have no need for a home base and prefer to travel continuously. To them, I extend my applause. I’m certainly not made for that type for travel. However, I’d argue that even if you are one of the few who truly enjoy being on the road everyday of the year, you still love the idea of home. You see, home means normalcy and structure. Sure, it can a be a bit more difficult to have structure when you’re on the road and you certainly won’t replicate the structure you have from home 100 percent. But many of the travelers I know (no matter their official stance on home) tend to have routines even on the road. For instance, when I travel for longer periods of time I always get up for breakfast, I do a bit of the tedious blogger work necessary, I explore, I transcribe my notes, and the list goes on. All of these things help me keep a semblance of home even when I’m on the road and help me keep my travel life organized. I know plenty of long-term travelers and digital nomads who do the same. In some way, we try to replicate a bit of what we have at home while we are on the road.
That’s why I always say everyone loves home.
Overcome Homesickness: Another Reason We Get Homesick
If you travel for any period of time over your typical 1-2 week holidays, you will realize that shit happens. Without fail, something will go wrong and you might as well be ready to deal with whatever happens. Once while traveling through Ecuador, I came down with some sort of a stomach sickness and it soured a small portion of my trip. Another time, my phone and computer both broke which basically made it nearly impossible to communicate home. And still another time I lost all my money.
When these things happen, it can definitely put a damper on your travel experience. In fact, moments like these seem pretty Earth-shattering when they occur and later you look back and realize they weren’t that big of a deal. Nonetheless, these types of situations can immediately make us feel homesick. I remember being sick during my travels through Ecuador and just wanting to be anywhere but where I was at the moment. All I wanted was to lay on my couch at home and be with my husband.
But, alas, I did not give into that urge and had the most incredible experience.
Ways to Overcome Homesickness
We can’t let a little thing like homesickness stop us from traveling and exploring the world. It wouldn’t be fair to ourselves. But homesickness and can (and most likely will) happen to a great majority of travelers. If I travel for an extended period of time without my husband, there is always a moment when I find myself wanting to pack up and head home. This happens even though I know I’m having the experience of a lifetime. Luckily, I have a support system in my husband who usually tell me to calm down and make the decision to come home later. He knows I don’t really want to come home but he also respects if that is my decision. Other than that, I also rely on these tactics to make sure I get the most out of my trip without giving into the crushing feeling of being homesick.
Overcome Homesickness by Using Social Media
Alright, this could go one of two ways…
- Use social media to stay in touch with family and friends back home. Of course, post images of your adventures to your Facebook and Instagram and use the apps to check in and see how things are going at your home base. It’s a great way to stay in touch and feel connected. Until it’s not…
- If you feel like you are missing out back home then social media is actually detrimental to your experience. You can’t enjoy your experiences in the moment if your worried about everything going on back home. If you see this happening, just take a break from social media. Consider a mental health break. I bet you’ll start having a better time pretty quickly.
Overcome Homesickness by Sending Postcards
I love buying gifts for and sending postcards to the people I love back home. It helps me feel connected to them even from afar. I bet your friends and family would love to get a postcard in the mail while you’re traveling. If you buy a small gift, it probably won’t take up much room in your pack. You’ll feel good about it and it can instantly lift your mood.
Overcome Homesickness by Maintaining Your Habits
As I’ve said above, maintaining your habits and routines can be pivotal in feeling at home while on the road. Routines are something we usually associate with home so making sure you keep a routine can help you stay focused and distracted at the same time. For me that means making sure I eat breakfast, workout, write, and manage social media every single day. Doing all this combined with exploring the place I’m visiting keeps me busy and focused. It also helps me feel more at home while I travel.
Overcome Homesickness by Focusing on Today
We typically have an idea of what our itinerary is most days while we travel. Don’t focus so much on what’s going on back home and instead give your attention to the adventure before you. One of my main goals as I travel around is to document every aspect of my experience via photography and videography. By doing this, I focus on the here and now. Yes, life is going on back home without you but life is also happening all around you. Appreciate where you are when you are and homesickness will have a hard time finding you.
Overcome Homesickness by Meeting People
This one is HUGE. The number one thing that helps me not feel homesickness is meeting new people. For instance, in Spain I met a fellow gay traveler while on a tour of Barcelona. We ended up spending the entire weekend together exploring the city and it was so much fun. In Berlin I met a very sweet guy at my hostel and we spent a lot of time together as well. Everywhere I go, I make the effort to meet people on tours, at bars, in markets, or at clubs. Wherever we meet is the right place and what I’ve realized is homesickness often stems from the people we are missing. The best way to not miss people is to meet new people. I’m not saying you should forget about your loved ones. Simply remember there are 7 billion+ people on this planet and we only have the opportunity to meet a small percentage of them in our lifetime. By traveling, we open ourselves up to the possibility of meeting even more people and should take full advantage of it. The added perk is it’s a sure remedy to fight against homesickness!
Tell me how you fight homesickness in the comments below?
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