One of many syndromes that long-term travelers often fall victim to on the road is homesickness. Homesickness is always looming ready to strike, and the downside is that we never know when it will. We’ve been moving around for a while, and it has been weeks, months, or even years since we’ve seen our friends and family. We start to miss all the little comforts of home, but our itinerary still includes another 6 months of adventures so how do we beat the homesickness blues?
Watch a movie
Whatever movies or television shows you’re accustomed to watching back home, take the day off, and find a place online to watch them. We live in an age where sites like Netflix, Hulu, and TV Channel websites make that easy. After a busy day of exploring the sites, take some time to just be, recharge, and distract yourself with your favorite shows preferably just before you fall asleep so you wake up feeling happy and refreshed.
Read a book
This is perhaps one of my favorite pastimes. There’s nothing like curling up in bed with a good book. If you are in a destination with nice weather, a beach, or a park, take your ipad or kindle outside and read. If you’re really old fashioned, you can take a physical book to read. Much like watching a movie, it can be a nice, quiet distraction, and if you’re out in public, you can people watch at the same time.
Listen to music & dance
For me, putting on my ipod and walking around a city is the best cure for homesickness. I’m not afraid to tell you that, when I was in San Francisco, I walked around/danced down the streets as if I was doing some badass walking scene of a music video. It completely brings me back down to Earth, reminds me how lucky I am to be where I am, and the homesickness very much dissolves.
Nothing like exercise to get the endorphins flowing. Go for a morning jog, give yourself a bike tour of the city, walk everywhere instead of taking public transport, go swimming at the beach or local pool, anything that gets all of your limbs moving.
Skype with friends and family back home
Some will argue that talking to people back home can make you feel even more homesick, but in the midst of a storm, friends and family can serve as the anchor. When you’re in a land of strangers and new friends, familiar faces can really ground you for a second, and they can fill you in with everything going on back home. It’s a great way to stay connected to loved ones no matter where you are in the world, and we’re very lucky to live in an era that allows us to do that from anywhere.
The best way to beat the blues is simply to stay active. You didn’t travel all the way to a new country just to spend the entire time in your hostel or hotel. Go out and interact with the locals, try new foods, partake in an activity that isn’t available back home. Don’t spend 8 consecutive hours on your computer or in front of the TV. The more time you spend alone with your own thoughts, the more homesick you’ll become. As long as you’re interacting with your surroundings, homesickness won’t stand a chance.
Basic but always forgotten. In everything you do, stay hydrated to keep the blood flowing and avoid feeling irritated, frustrated, nostalgic, or thirsty.
Indulge in comfort foods
It’s important to try and eat healthy on the road, but sometimes, you need to indulge in your most missed comfort foods. Heck, take a few new friends out and introduce them to the foods you love from back home. There’s nothing like familiar food in good company. I know, for me, food motivates many of my travels, it’s central to many of the activities I partake in, and excites me to no end.
Mix up your itinerary/accommodation
If all you’ve been doing for the last week is walking around and going to museums, it’s time to mix it up. Try a walking tour, hike a glacier, take a cooking class, anything that gets your brain out of those routine motions. Do something that scares you, excites you, surprises you to bring in some fresh emotions. If you’ve been regularly staying in hostels, try renting an apartment for some quiet time or couchsurf to change up the company you keep.
Go home for a week
Worst case scenario you go home for a week. By home, I don’t necessarily mean where you used to rent an apartment or where your friends/family are. I mean the country you’re from and where the foods, the language, and the people are familiar. Be warned, however, you may never leave again so go at your own risk.
What do you do to beat feeling homesick? What are some of your remedies?