Why Do I Suddenly Want To Go Home? – 13 Ways To Beat Homesickness While Travelling
So you’ve have been looking forward to this trip forever, you’ve done all the research, quit your job and headed off for a life of carefree adventure. The first week was awesome, you explored all over but from the moment you woke up on week two you ‘kinda sorta’ just wished you were back home.
Don’t fret this is totally normal especially if this is your first big trip away, you have just entered phase two of travel adaption. Don’t give up, this phase will pass and you will be able to get on with your amazing adventure.
There are generally four phases to get from harried office worker to zened out traveller and some people find it easier to adjust to life on the road than others.
Phase one - is the honeymoon phase, you have escaped your mundane life and are set to explore a new exotic location, everything is fascinating and you can’t wait to absorb new experience’s.
Phases two - is shock, you realize just how foreign everything is and feelings of anxiety and disconnection start to creep in. There are three main things that set off this phase. Missing your friends, family and familiar home surroundings, feeling lonely, like there is no one who can understand this new experience and culture shock when even the most uninteresting parts of your daily routine are done in strange and foreign ways, leaving you totally out of your depth.
Phase three – is acceptance, when you push through your unease, implement some of the suggestions in this blog and are beginning to slowly recover your enthusiasm for your trip.
Phrase four – is adaption, either to your current location or to the lifestyle of a traveller. You start to accept that things are sometimes done differently and can make compromises. This is the point when you can really start to enjoy your trip and make the most of your new traveller’s lifestyle.
Easier said than done I know, even after years of travel I am sometimes still caught out in a new environment. Below are my 30 best tips to help you get from phase two to phrase three and help you adjust and make the most of your travel adventures.
Be prepared, many people are surprised by homesickness at some point in their first month of travel. Allow yourself enough time to relax and organize some particularly stimulating activities for your first few weeks. Know if you do start experiencing feelings of anger or sadness that this is normal and will pass.
Allow for differences, just because another culture does things differently doesn’t mean they do them wrong, be prepared to adopt some local practices.
A sense of humor is invaluable, the ability to laugh at yourself even when tired and irritable is important for keeping a calm friendly demeanor, we all know the saying “you catch more flies with honey”
Realize how lucky you are, it’s ok to feel angry or sad sometimes but try and stay realistic. You are amazingly lucky to be having this experience, try and make the most of it.
Cut yourself some slack, don’t expect to run before you can walk. Like a new job or any big change, travel will take a bit of getting used to.
Keep everything in perspective, when everything seems overwhelming and you just can’t process any more try asking yourself will I care about this in a years’ time? If the answer is no let it go, use your energy for something more productive.
Attitude, always remember that a positive attitude is the difference between an adventure and an ordeal.
Look after yourself, everything is harder to handle when you’re hungry, thirsty and tired! Make sure you see to your physical needs to keep a clear head and feeling positive.
Routines are important, when everything is strange and foreign, having a morning and evening routine that stays constant, is a great way to give yourself a familiar situation to process all the exotic new situations you will be in.
Exercise regularly, not only is this part of looking after yourself but exercise releases endorphins that improve your mood. So when it all gets too much try taking 30 minutes for a jog or swim.
Create a nest, as part of creating a consistent environment for you to process all your new experiences, make sure you have a comfy secure place to come home to after a day of exploration, splurge on a travel pillow or some other home comfort that makes you happy.
Address the small things that are putting stress on you. Your whole trip might seem like an uncontrollable stress but when you examine your daily life you often find a few tiny things that push your stress level up. Whether it’s the hostel manager who mispronounces your name or the vendor who always gives you chillies, even though you ask for without. You will find that you often have more control over these smaller things and by removing them, larger stresses don’t seem as bad as you first thought.
Meditate, learning to meditate can help relieve stress, it can help you work through specific problems or just calm you after a long day of sensory overload. If the idea of meditation seems scary, start off with a five minute guided meditation from the internet. Simply plug in your head phones and follow along.
With these 13 tips you should be able to begin to adapt to the travel lifestyle and make the most of the amazing adventure you are on, don’t worry almost every traveller goes through this phase. This is only the tip of the iceberg, but this post is getting a little lengthy so stay tuned next week for Part 2 -17 More Ways to Beat Homesickness While Travelling.
Author of Stress Free Adventure Planning