It was barely 3: a.m. in the morning when my phone started screaming bloody murder. Once again, I forgot to schedule and utilise the “Do not disturb” feature. Still half asleep, I felt around for a few seconds in the dark before barking “what?!?” into the phone. On the other end of the line, I heard the unmistakable voice of my best friend crying, “I-I wanna come h-h-home.”
A good friend would immediately be concerned and proceed to offer words of encouragement but a best friend would laugh, roll off the bed, and say something along the lines of, “B**** get it together.” And that’s what I did. You see, it’s been Kira’s dream to live in Paris for a full year, and barely two months into her adventures, she’s been having episodes of homesickness and constantly threatening to come home.
Here are a few things we discovered through late night conversations and texting that helps her to deal with homesickness:
Incorporate your home life into your activities
If you plan on staying abroad for a long period of time, it advisable to incorporate some elements of your home life into your activities. If you enjoy hanging out at the beach, find the nearest beach in your location and get out there. Same goes for other hangouts, gym, group meetings, and even church. Thanks to globalisation, it’s now easy to find your favourite restaurant, beauty products, snacks, drinks, TV shows, and more in any part of the world. You don’t have to miss certain things anymore. When possible, do the same things you would at home.
Explore your surroundings
Another way to deal with homesickness is to get out and explore your surroundings. Every traveller is curious at heart, so tap into that. Visit museums, parks, and other recreational centres. Discover national treasures, go on group or solo tours. Go on long drives, take your camera with you and capture the sun either rising or setting. Try outdoor activities like free diving, surfing, horseback riding, bike riding, and more. Immerse yourself in the culture by learning new things and trying their food, drinks, and other delicacies.
Make new friends
Loneliness in a familiar environment can be suffocating, much less in a foreign country. Make it a point to interact with the people you meet as you explore your surroundings. Keep a positive and friendly attitude. Strike up a conversation while in transit to your next destination and don’t be afraid to ask for their contact information. If you enjoy art or performances, you’re bound to meet people who share your interests at local events. You can also meet people at your hostel, hotel, Airbnb, or other budget-friendly accommodations.
Focus on the why
When the going gets tough, remind yourself the reason you chose to travel in the first place. Focus on that and you will get through the hard times. Dealing with homesickness is not easy but it gets better with time.