What to do if you’re travelling and you feel homesick
All you’ve heard people say about travelling is ‘how amazing it is‘ and how ‘you’ll never regret it‘, right?
Something a lot of people aren’t so quick to share about their travels are the moments in which they struggled and the moments in which they just wanted to book a flight home. Trust me, even as a seasoned and very experienced traveller, I still have moments on my travels where i’m like ‘i’m done, i want to go home’.
Feeling homesick can mean something different for everyone. For some it’s missing the comforts that home life provides, for others it’s missing family or routine. For me often it’s missing my gym routine and regular sleep schedule.
Whatever it is that you’re feeling… please know it’s okay to feel like that. It’s normal. Please don’t panic.
The first thing you must do if you feel homesick or like you’ve made the wrong decision is to take a big deep breath. Go on, do it now for me.
Okay, I’ve got you. Let’s work through this together…
Take the pressure off of yourself for a second…
Whether you’ve just touched down in a new country, you’re out of the honeymoon period and you’ve been gone a few weeks or the feeling has hit 6 months or a year in. It makes no difference to the validity of your feelings. Feeling homesick can come at any given time.
Chances are you have thoughts like…
‘I’ve just saved all my money for this’ ‘I should be enjoying this’ ‘They are having the best time on Instagram why aren’t I’
…running through your mind, all of which are putting an incredible pressure on you to change how you feel. The more pressure you add and the more guilty you make yourself feel, the worse it’s going to get.
Things to avoid:
- Scrolling social media and watching people on their travels
- Telling yourself you should be feeling any different to how you are
- Telling yourself that going home will solve everything
What to do instead:
- take yourself somewhere calm, for a walk, to the ocean, to a view point
- take some really deep breaths and calm your heart rate down so that you can think clearly
- remind yourself that your life is in your hands and you have the ability to make whatever decision you feel is right
Identify how you’re feeling and pinpoint what it is that you are missing…
Taking deep breaths and bringing yourself into a calm space is a very important stage of over coming homesickness. Mainly because when you’re in a panic or when you’re upset you might be led to making rash decisions that don’t necessarily reflect your best interests. Chances are you’ve invested a lot of time and money in your travels and the last thing you want to do is waste it.
Once you’re feeling calm, bring up your notes on your phone / grab a pen and note pad / do this mentally.
- Note the reason you came travelling in the first place
- Note 3 great memories you’ve made so far
- Note 3 things you’re looking forward to ticking off of your bucket list on this trip
- Note the emotions you’re feeling
- Note what could be causing this
- Note, in an ideal world, what would make you feel better
If you’re missing home comforts…
Gosh, this is such a normal thing to miss, particularly if you’ve traded your fresh bed sheets and comparative luxurious home set up for hostel life or for living out of your suitcase. Home comforts are something you definitely compromise when you’re on the road but the benefits of travel far outweigh what you temporarily leave behind.
Things you could do
- watch a film or something that makes you feel nostalgic about home and revel in the feeling of comfort
- go and buy yourself some nice food, your favourite meal
- book into an Airbnb / hotel for the night and treat yourself to some comfort
- call mum / dad / friends to hear a familiar voice
If you’re feeling lonely…
You have got this. Loneliness is such a common feeling people face when travelling and it’s here in these intense feelings that you are forced to dig deep and grow. You’ve left all you know behind you and you’re out their navigating your dreams on your own, of course you’re going to feel lonely. But don’t give up at the first hurdle. Get to know yourself, push through the discomfort and find strength as you step out of your comfort zone…
Things you should do:
- Check yourself into a hostel and surround yourself by other solo travellers in a similar position to you.
- Take your mind off of thinking too much. Indulge in a new experience or some pamper time.
- Source some busy surroundings where you can interact with people, like a local market.
- Head down to a local bar and… make conversation. Go on – YOU GOT THIS.
- Watch your favourite programme or FaceTime home – give yourself a shot of familiarity to soothe yourself.
- Take a deep breath and listen to a soothing playlist
- Join a weekly sport / hobby club to meet new people in an energetic atmosphere
- Enrol on a new course that takes your fancy
If you’re over-worked or over-tired…
Have you been working abroad and working some intense hours on your travels? Have you been travelling for a while and (naturally) are you feeling tired from the constant changes in climate / location / language / culture? Again, SO normal. I’ve been backpacking on 4 occasions and I can usually move around hostels and countries for 8 weeks max before I need routine back. At 8 weeks I’m usually craving some serious gym, sleep and work routine.
If you’re feeling tired / over worked, it might not mean that you need to go home, it might mean that you need to:
- slow down, take some time off
- slow down the pace of your travel, adjust the itinerary
- change up your itinerary / look for a new job
- go home. Honestly, if your gut is telling you you’ve fulfilled all that you need to, that’s completely okay!
Listen to your gut, always.
If you’ve been away for a while…
Similar to the above section of feeling over worked / over tired, if you’ve been away for a while it might mean that you need to change things up a bit. If you’ve been away for a while travelling, perhaps it feels right to come home? Or if you’ve been away a while and have spent time building home somewhere, feeling homesick might actually mean that just like any one of us does from time to time when we outgrow our current circumstances, you need a challenge?
- Joining a new sports team / club
- Taking up a new hobby / sign up to an online or physical course (cooking, photography etc)
- A new job? are you enjoying yours
- Take a holiday? we all need time off to reset!
- Starting conversation with someone new and open some new doors!
- Going home. If it feels like you’ve done your time, that’s awesome!
If you are questioning your decision to go travelling and are worried you’ve made the wrong decision…
I truly believe that there’s no such thing as a wrong decision in this life. If you want to go home, it doesn’t mean your decision to travel was wrong. At the time it was exactly what you wanted and if now going home is what you really want, that’s okay too. That’s the right decision for you now.
Of course if you’ve spent years saving to go and live in Australia and then you arrive and it just does not feel right – it’s going to be an expensive lesson to learn. But if there’s a desire in you to go and do something, the risk you take by following your dream is way less than the risk you take by denying it.
In this example, you’d never regret the move to Australia because at the end of the day it would have taught you that Australia is not for you. That’s just as important as a dream going ‘how you thought it would go’.
Going home doesn’t mean you’re failing. If you’ve sat down, really considered the pro’s and con’s of staying / going home and going home feels right – then that is what you must pursue.
It’s important to note that travelling isn’t for everyone. It really isn’t.
Travelling requires you to take on and persevere through an emotional rollercoaster. A rollercoaster you have to be ready to belt in for. It requires you to fall down many times and it requires you to be willing to find the strength to stand up again. It will push you so far out of your comfort zone, you won’t recognise yourself and the decisions you’re making from one day to the next.
Travelling is the opportunity to expose yourself fully to the world and most importantly to yourself. Travelling forces you to look inside yourself, to see your flaws gives you the time, the space and the inspiration to build yourself and your life however you desire for it to look.
If you’re feeling homesick, I just want you to know that it’s normal. Feeling homesick for 99% of people is part of the process. Think about the bigger picture. This is most incredible journey you’ll ever go on, the journey with yourself.
Dig deep, don’t sit still for too long, don’t call home too much and let the homesickness be the making of you…
Have you felt homesick? What did you do?
Love as always + happy adventuring,
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