Homesickness is the weirdest feeling. Anyone who has ever experienced it knows there is nothing quite like it. It can happen especially when you move to a new country or you move from home for the first time even if it’s just temporary. You feel completely displaced, weird and out of sorts. Nothing around you seems or feels right. Inside you there is a deep well of loneliness that you feel you will never be able to conquer. You feel sick, insecure and melancholy. Don’t despair. You are not alone. Understanding your homesickness can give you a real strategy for defeating it.
Homesickness comes from feelings of separation and isolation from things that are familiar. It is a real feeling, but all feelings can be changed. You can start by immersing yourself in your surroundings. This is especially true when travelling to other continents. Different cultures can seem alien a first. Travelling to India or Africa can be a real eye opener. Embrace the place and be a full on tourist for a few days. Make a must do list of things to do and see. As soon as you get out there and start to embrace the place, it will do the same for you.
Find a safe spot
There’s little worse than turning up in the middle of the night, in a place that is unfamiliar and scary. That’s how someone else might feel turning up in your little old hometown! Find a place that starts to speak to you. That might be a park bench, a certain cafe. Stay a while and take it in. Become a part of it. Do some people watching. Latch on to it and make it yours. Once you own one part, however small, branch out from there. It can be fascinating to observe daily life taking place in Asia or Latin America.
Do not lock yourself away
As tempting as it may be, do not shut the doors. Throw yourself into a new and unfamiliar activity. Go out to busy markets even if they do freak you out at first. Stay with the feeling, and resist the temptation to hide away. Wherever you are it is a great idea to know what is going on. Look online for events taking place. From Norway to Naples there will activities for you to get involved with. Take a look at News Nigeria to find out more about the culture of the place you are staying in. It’s the differences that make us unique and interesting. You will begin to get used to new things.
Stay connected with home
But do it on your terms. Don’t cling into your other world and life. There’s little to be gained from hours on Skype and even more hours spent on social media. Stop wondering what you are missing out on. You came out here for an adventure, so share it. Take pictures and post them. Grab a fistful of postcards. Engage with your friends and show them what a great time you are having.
You might never be too far from some comfort food but get adventurous with your palate. Eat with the locals, head out for the street food markets. Find new things that you like and then start to expand your taste buds. Find a local deli, or a bakery and become a regular.
People who go out and exercise in a place start to embrace it. Get up early and go for a run. Slip into the rhythm of your locality and start to feel its heartbeat. Exercise makes you feel better and feeling better is going to help those feelings disappear. Just like food, exercise can be a great medicine for mood!
The best way to fall into the beat of a strange place is to be shown it from the inside. Culture shock is good for you! Becoming a part of a place is like being handed a key. Make use of every opportunity to go out and make friends. Families have great networks. And they may be able to connect with someone of your culture and can be helpful to share your feelings. Hang out together. You’ll be surprised at how many others feel the same way. Talk it out but don’t dwell. Go back to the first step and immerse yourselves.
If you can do this, you will find that the feeling slowly starts to dissipate. Homesickness can be dealt with and you will find yourself liberated and free to enjoy your travel experience. Have you ever experienced it?
11 thoughts on “The Best Ways To Beat Homesickness”
I have this feeling often even though I haven’t traveled. I felt this way at school and even where I live now. I just never really got adjusted even though I’ve been living in the same city most of my life. These are some neat ideas I’ve not thought much of. Thanks for sharing 🙂
I’m sorry to hear that. It must be hard to have that feeling lingering for so long. I hope you find home or peace wherever you are 🙂
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Thank you. I’m definitely looking. 🙂
Hi Mani, your articles are enjoyable. I however would poin out a few things, considering your blog is read by people from various countries. The Pictures depicting India above are from rural India where lack of good infrastructure and employment forces people to lead very basic lives. The same pics from homes in urban will be very different. So I suggest you choose you pics with a bit more, especially when you are trying to demonstrate a lifestyle in a nation. Hope you take it my comment in the right spirit.
Thanks for reading and your comment. I hope I didn’t offend you with my pictures. I don’t know why they would. They represent a real part of India. I shared these photos because they were my experience and this is a personal blog. I lived in India, and yes you’re right, it is rural India, which is very different to urban India. The post wasn’t really about India, the lifestyle or the infrastructure there, but I did share a few pictures of my experience there because I was an expat there and it relates to the content of the post. Plus it IS part of the lifestyle of a nation, a big part of it, just not all of it. I don’t think I need to sugarcoat anything and I don’t see these images or lifestyle as negative. You shouldn’t either, or be ashamed of it. We all know every country has its rural and urban areas. I hope this clears up some things.
Mani, my point here is why do we publish pics of mountains and gorgeous locales, when we publish pics of the west. I travel to US several times, and I notice really poor shacks where the homeless live. I don’t think though that it is fair representation to say these are the homes where the locals stay. I understand it is your personal blog. However you will realize images are often opinion shapers. i am not embarrassed about anything in my country but I definitely feel concerned that India has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last century but unfortunately they don’t get reflected in images.
I agree that India has advanced leaps and bounds , it’s one of the strongest economies in the world right now. You say those homes are not where the locals stay but they are homes of locals, just not urban areas. Anyway, if you see through my blog you will see a more varied India just see these posts as an example: http://goo.gl/QmULXr
And two posts ago I featured a photo of the Mumbai airport which is incredibly and impressively modern.
I can’t help but feel a bit insulted by this, Ranjana. My home and my husband’s family’s home look like the pictures posted above. That is absolutely authentic India, as much as the modern homes are. Please be more considerate.
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What is authentic to you may not be authentic to someone else. Everybody’s perception of reality is based on their personal experiences. In my past 34 odd years in India I have experienced a much more sophisticated and educated India. Thanks.
All good points! Home sickness can consume you if you let it so better to battle it on your own terms. When I moved to USA, I was homesick on and off, less and less as time passed. Now it’s come to the point that when I visit my family I feel homesick for my little home in USA! Homesickness is a funny animal..
This is all so great, for first time travellers! Here I am, well seasoned with India and missing all the comforts of home. 😦
Thank you for this post though. 🙂 It’s lovely advice.