Wikipedia defines homesickness while traveling as the distress caused by being away from home, with the feature of preoccupying thoughts of home and attachment objects. Sufferers report a combination of depression and anxiety as well as withdrawn behavior.
When I’m away from home for more than two weeks or so, I usually start to feel quite homesick. I get a bit anxious, I miss the familiar things and familiar people, and really just want to sleep in my own bed in my own home! At first I thought it meant I didn’t like traveling! OMG, the horrors! What kind of baby boomer/Gen X’er would I be if I didn’t like to travel?!?
However, when I returned home and started to dream of my next adventure, I realized there must be more to it. Clearly, I didn’t dislike traveling if I spent so much time thinking about it, thank goodness!
The more I thought about it the more I realized that the length of time I was away definitely had something to do with it. Another was how “foreign” I found the location to be. Another factor was who I was traveling with. Let’s break it down. For me, being away from home for longer than about 2 weeks leads me to feel homesick while traveling. It’s much worse if I’m traveling alone or with people that aren’t family or very close friends. In addition, my homesickness while traveling is worse still if my location requires regular mental exertion such as when in a country where the language and customs are very foreign to me.
Truth: I’ve actually been so homesick while traveling that I’ve come *this close* to coming home early!
Homesickness While Traveling Cure?
What I’ve done in the past when I’ve felt very homesick while traveling is to take a rest day to do familiar, soothing things. Part of what contributes to homesickness while traveling for me is the expectation to always go, go, go. I don’t go-go-go at home, so a way I’ve found to feel better is to stop, stop, stop. Despite the push to “see all the things”, I take a day to relax and do almost nothing. I’ll sleep in, take a relaxing bath, maybe visit the local spa, read a book in my room, and just sit and think about all I’ve seen and done.
If I’m writing on the trip, I might write down a few thoughts. I’ll also review the photos I’ve taken and take the time to really think about how much fun I’ve had.
Another thing I’ve done that really works with homesickness while traveling is to call home and talk to the people I’m missing! Face time or Skype is especially great for this. It’s sometimes hard to figure out when to call when you’re 8 times zones away, but spending a day doing nothing really helps to coordinate a good time to call.
More Homesickness While Traveling Hacks
I’ve talked to lots of people about homesickness while traveling and what they do about it. I’m jealous of those who say they don’t get homesick (I’m looking at you @slyeager21). But, lots are in the homesickness while traveling camp with me! I’m so glad to have the company 😊
Here are some great tips that have worked well for friends:
- Find a familiar place: If you like Starbucks at home, you’re likely to feel at home at a Starbucks anywhere – and they’re everywhere!
- Do the things you’d do at home: if you’re a regular exerciser, find a way to do your regular routine away from home. Your gym might have partner gyms near you, or if you’re a runner you could use Mapmyrun to find a great running route where you are.
- Reduce your social media time: chatting a lot with friends and family back home may just reinforce your homesickness. Chat regularly of course, but spend more time focused on your new adventures.
- Try not to rely too much on alcohol, shopping or other potential problem areas to cope with homesickness. It might lead to a good story to tell when you get home but it likely won’t help much with homesickness while traveling!
- Take a pre-determined amount of time to allow yourself to feel sad. Have a really fun activity planned for when the pre-determined “sad” time is over.
My New Plan!
My next long-ish trip will be in 2019 when we go to Europe for three weeks. I’m very excited to go for many reasons. One of my biggest reasons is that for the first time in a long time, I’ll be traveling with my partner Ross!
All of the long trips I’ve done in the past when I’ve felt particularly homesick while traveling have been either solo trips or trips with friends. My suspicion is that I may feel less homesick on this trip because my “home” will be with me! I’ll have to wait and see but I really hope it helps 😊
Do you get homesick too? What are your homesickness while traveling hacks?