If you spend any significant amount of time on the road, at some point or another you’re bound to find yourself feeling a bit homesick. Missing your friends, family or your life at home isn’t a sign it’s time to go back but rather a sign you need to reconnect with what’s going on wherever in the world you find yourself. Here are 7 great tips for beating travel homesickness so you can keep enjoying your travels.
Talk to Friends and Family
Maybe your friend had a new baby or a cousin got married. Either way something is going on at home and you feel a bit left out. You wish you could be there to see all your friends or get a hug from a brother or sister.
Sometimes when travelling we don’t realize how long it’s actually been since we had a real conversation with loved ones back at home. Hopping from bus to hostel to beach and back often leaves us without much of a concept of time. Posting a status update on Facebook and your best friend commenting on it doesn’t count as connecting either. Just because your parents read you blog post doesn’t mean they know what’s going on.
Take a day out to make some phone calls from an internet café or the hostel. Skype doesn’t cost much if anything and neither do international phone cards. If your loved ones are tech savvy enough to use video, all the better, but just hearing some familiar voices will put a smile on your face. More often than not you’ll also realize you aren’t missing that much and that a single video call has caught you up on the events of the last month and a half while you’ve been diving.
Make a New Friend
I’ve said it before the people make travels worthwhile. Sometimes all it takes is meeting some fantastic new people to make you realize how amazing a place is.
I remember finding myself on a veranda overlooking the Mekong delta in Laos and not sure why I was there. I felt lost. I was getting ready to leave the tranquil island of Don Det when I met an upbeat girl who had just moved her backpack into the bungalow beside mine. I found myself staying several more days as her love for the island and her happiness was intoxicating.
I explored the rice paddies, took wonderful photos, and devoured a book. None of it would have happened if I’d given in to the feeling of homesickness.
Sometimes it’s the simple creature comforts we miss while were away travelling. For me, its food, I love cooking so much that the thought of living anywhere for more than a week where I can’t actually prepare a meal is unthinkable.
When it comes to choosing a hostel, I’m willing to spend a bit more for a decent kitchen if I’ll be staying a while. Once a month or so I treat myself to a nice meal at fancy restaurant and I try my best to go somewhere that highlights the local cuisine.
I’ve travelled across the city for a single ingredient to make a favourite dish of mine. It might sound a bit crazy at first, but I know if my belly is happy, so am I.
Go Somewhere Safer
I know that for me, safety in the places I’m travelling can be rather important. Staying safe and staying alert to your surroundings can sometimes be a constant and tiring effort. Having to constantly guard your bag, wallet, camera, and personal wellbeing can really wear a traveller down after a while. When you’re worn down and apathetic, that’s when things tend to happen.
So how do you deal with this instead of just throwing up your hands and heading home. Head somewhere else, more often than not just changing cities or hopping a border will land you in a completely different environment. I’m not saying to stop being vigilant, but maybe find yourself a place you don’t have to be constantly looking over your shoulder.
Get Some Rest
Though it may seem simplistic and silly, part of what makes us homesick while travelling is well, not having a home. So make one, get off the bus, don’t hit that next taxi and make yourself a small life.
Find a city, a farm, a beach village, or a mountain town you like a make a home there for a while. Learn the local language, make some friends, learn a new skill, or work. Settling down to make a home for a while and travelling without moving could end up being one of the most rewarding parts of your trip.
One of the best ways to stop yourself for a bit is to pick up a volunteer position or some work. It gives you a reason to stay somewhere as well as often reducing your costs.
Change Your Goals
Sometimes seeing the same thing over and over again can get a bit boring making us wonder why we should be travelling at all. After a while in Latin America the words “Beautiful Church” or “cute little colonial town” can be met with the same excitement as a lobotomy.
So what do you do? How do you get over this? I mean you went all the way to Thailand, you should see every “Wat” right?
Nope, not even close. Start really figuring out what kind of travel makes you happy and do it. Just because a guidebook says something is a must see, doesn’t make it so. In fact, while traveling I tend to look at what the guide book says is the most impressive thing I can do in the area, and then make my way to the next best thing. The places are often less crowded and better kept up due to less tourist traffic, this has lead me to beautiful ruins, waterfalls, hikes, and a host of other nearly empty places.
Explore ‘The Road Less Travelled`
Bring a Piece of Home With You
Photos are nice on your phone, and printed ones can be even better, but I’ve found that nothing puts a smile on my face like a trinket that reminds me of home. From a pin that states “I play well with others”, to a mini Ganesh, and even Pedro himself; I’ve a number of little things from various people at home that remind me how important they are to me.
When I see these trinkets on the side of my bag or pull one out of a pocket it’s been stashed in, I’m instantly transported home to the moment I got the gift. I can go home while travelling and I don’t even need to get on a plane.
Top Travel Tips
Have any other great ways you use to beat homesickness? Share them below!