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?