For many of us travelers and expats, homesickness is not enough to stray us away from a new adventure, but it’s something that we have to cope with. The feeling is not always powerful but slightly more subtle. Sometimes it manifests itself as butterflies in your stomach, or maybe you get choked up while telling a nostalgic story.
Longing for our friends and family at home is healthy, we miss them. Sometimes the feeling is overwhelming, though, especially in the first few weeks of arriving in your new place. We understand, and we know the sensation well. In this article, we’ll go over a few tips that come in handy when you’re feeling homesick.
Find Little Touches of Home
Take some time to explore your new home. Sure, see the sights, but also find some secret spaces that make you feel comfortable, not just the tourist traps. Once you get to know what it’s like to live in a place, you’ll naturally become more familiar with the country’s culture and history.
It may not happen overnight, but soon enough, you may find small nooks and crannies around town that make you feel at home. Maybe it’s a lovely cafe or even a bookstore where you can unwind.
An expert tip is to find a good salon or barber. Self-care can quickly go out the window when we’re too intimidated to go out and find the services that we need for basic things like a haircut. See website reviews and find one where other expats have recommended. A salon is a place where you can unwind and add to your daily routine; it will make the area feel more normalized.
Schedule FaceTime Sessions
We’re so lucky to live in a time where we can pick up a phone and look our loved ones in the eyes. Video chatting can be a lifesaver when you’re feeling homesick. Unfortunately, there’s nothing worse than feeling sad and calling your mom, just to have her not pick up.
Schedule weekly chats with your family and friends, so you know that you’re going to spend some time that day with them. This will also add to the feeling of routine, which will make you feel a little less out of place.
Bring Your Favorite Foods With You
This is a big one. We don’t mean packing huge wheels of cheese or a bag of New York Bagels in your bag, that would be too much. If you have some spices, teas, coffee, or other relatively non-perishables that you cannot live without, pack a few in your back for the days that you’re feeling particularly homesick. Your belly and your heart will feel warm and cozy.
Put Yourself Out There
We know it’s hard to make friends right away, especially if you’re living in a place where you’re just learning the language. Put yourself out there, and don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself. Remember, you’re brave. Not everyone can move thousands of miles from their hometown; it’s something that takes some serious guts.
Network and feel confident when you approach groups of locals or fellow expats alike. Today there are so many Facebook groups and other social networking tools that will make it a little easier to find other people who are in a similar situation as you.
Once you start making friends, talk to them if you’re feeling homesick. Other expats and travelers will undoubtedly understand, and it might put you at ease to have that empathy.
Photos, Photos, Photos
Images can be so soothing in moments of sadness or homesickness. They also can be a great way for you to build a relationship with your new home. Spend some time hiding behind the camera to get an understanding of the people and places around you. Take your favorite images and old family photos and print them out to decorate your house or apartment.
Sure, your cellphone and your laptop are both packed with images of your friends and family, but print them out anyway. Holding a tangible picture in your hand is a much more personal way to remember moments that you’ve made at home.
A Final Note
Do something scary every day and find the bliss in doing something under your control. Once you start putting yourself out there, getting to know your new home and the people in it, those feelings of longing will slowly fade. It’s good to miss your comfort zone every once in a while, but don’t let it dampen this new experience. Embrace the discomfort and keep growing!