Homesickness: Be Gone!

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I love traveling but I don’t really have much of a “home” in the classic sense of the word, so the idea of homesickness was fairly foreign to me up until a few months ago.

It wasn’t until maybe month 6 of being an expat that homesickness finally crept its way into my heart.

I live far enough away where there is absolutely no chance of me flying home for a visit and very little chance of receiving any visitors. I’ve come to terms with that harsh reality and have thought up with a few ways to ward off the homesickness.

  • Keep a blog

I originally started my travel blog thinking it would fade out because no one read it.

I was shocked to find out how many of my friends from back home look out for new posts and want to hear about my life. It encourages them to write me long emails and tell me all about their lives as well.

You’ll also connect with other bloggers who know exactly how you feel.

  • Get out and explore

If you sit at home saying you have seen it all, you’ll just mope around thinking about all the things you are missing back home.

Yes, you are missing so and so’s birthday party and you can’t make that awesome show, but there are always things happening right where you are– find them and go!

  • Take up a new hobby

One of the best things about moving to a new place is you get a fresh start.

No one will say “You’re playing tennis? You hate tennis” or scoff at your new interest in crafts or cooking. You can pick something you have always wanted to try or even something you have never even heard of- just give it a shot and keep yourself busy.

Birthday Crafting Prep.

  • Be social

Of course if you have no friends in your city you are going to be homesick all the time.

No one is going to replace the friends you have back home, but there are plenty of people worth meeting in the world. Find some other foreign friends you can relate to and then meet some locals so you can integrate into the culture.

  • Indulge in comfort food.

I know it’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but neither is being miserable.

My comfort food is peanut butter. My mom and wonderful friends ship me Reduced-Fat Jif Peanut Butter and eating it always makes me feel at home. I also occasionally hunt down expensive American candy like Hershey’s Cookies and Cream bars or junk food like Pringles.

  • Use Skype to its fullest

Think past phone calls.

I have had movie nights via Skype. I used to have Disney Sundays with a good friend of mine from home. He lives in Korea now so we have distance and a 12 hour time difference to battle. However, we were able to schedule a simultaneous viewing of the Lion King via Skype. We just sat together while we watched, making comments throughout the movie like we normally would.

Day 344
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I’m not saying I have mastered homesickness or anything, but I have definitely eased the pain.

My whole life I have always been happiest when I am busy, so being in Buenos Aires certainly won’t change that. The more stuff I have going on, the less time I have to worry about what I am missing back home.

I also know that I am creating amazing memories and stories to tell. Find something to do that is worth writing home about!

What are your tips for getting over homesickness? Your favorite comfort foods? Ways to keep busy? Let us know!

 

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About Author

Rease gave up on office life before she turned 22. She believes in hard work, but only if it makes you incredibly happy. Rease is a writing, traveling, kid-loving, Spanish-speaking nerd of a girl who may be the craziest balance of 40-year-old responsible logic and 7-year-old childlike amusement. She is currently living the expat life in Buenos Aires, Argentina, writing for Travelated.com and planning her next trip - in other words- living the dream.

18 Comments

  1. My home is where I happen to be because I’m there by choice, so home sickness is an unknown concept to me.As I never fail to say: I’m a true nomad at heart.

  2. Good tips Rease! Hopefully, people living abroad find a good network to rely on for support and encouragement when the homesickness strikes. I felt a little bit of that when I was traveling around for a month in Europe. So culture shock, adjustments, and being away from home has to be tough after a while. I think writing, whether a journal or blog, is a great way to deal with some of this.

      • Been there this is one of the things that suck when youb4re an expat, i also mssied my friendb4s wedding and broke down as well, the same goes along when I miss events at home, that are just at home, none celebrated here and I sometimes feel i want to do some things that are typical icelandic. I just have to remind myself of the good things that i have here and enjoy the icelandic things while Ib4m back at home (or find some icelanders here in vienna, who are missing the same things). if you ever feel down and want to talk about it, im here HUGS!!!!!Anna C

  3. Great tips Rease! I like to combine these – as in, my little expat family and I will plan nights/trips to eat Western food or go to Western/expat bars. Just a little taste of home once a week is really all we need.

  4. Reconnecting with friends and family is definitely extremely helpful. I find that I miss home the most when I’m not focusing on myself and my well-being so I try to make time for myself and my hobbies, like photography or learning to play the ukulele. Yes, I am carrying a ukulele with me in all my travels! It helps me stay sane.

  5. Great suggestions! Skype is so good!! I remember when I first moved away (to Egypt) and had to schedule phone calls from my mom via Fax to the hotel lobby of we wanted to talk…. Now? Just a click away for no money except internet of course. I rarely get homesick (luckily). Probably because I visit friends and family abroad once of twice a year, so that helps. If I do feel it, little trips in my “new country” help. Maybe you could schedule a little weekend trip for yourself?

    • Hey Britta, I just discovered your blog and I am relaly enjoying it! I have lived in vienna for a year now, i moved here from LA too, to study opera at the conservatory. When i moved here last year I didn’t have any homesickness. I think i was so ready to leave the US and try something new that I just didn’t care about the differences in the culture. This past summer i spent 2 months in the states and just got back 3 days ago. I have been having a difficult time since being here and homesickness is taking its toll. I relaly love vienna, but it is frustrating to be in a foreign culture and cant do the same things as you do in your home country. I miss my friends and family of course, but i also miss stores being open later, or buying low fat foods at the supermarket, or Pam cooking spray!!! I know it will get better, but it will take some time. Are you part of an expat community here?

  6. I listen to my favorite playlist while eating chocolate- or like you- peanut butter!! I also try to look around for the nearest fellow Filipino and speak with them in our native language. That does the trick.

  7. Skype is fantastic isn’t it! I can’t tell you how excited John’s parents are when we do a video call – so much better for them than when he used to travel alone before we met sans computer.

  8. You can now add Magic Jack to your list. You only pay $20 a year for free long distance calls, that way you don’t have to use a phone card. All you have to do is register your home address and you’ll get an American number. This works great with my family and they can always leave me messages if the Magic Jack isn’t hooked up to my computer.

    I also agree w/ blogging. I find it therapeutic and allows me to sit down and write what I have learned while here in South Korea, as opposed to just going here going there and then bam I’m in my room.

    • LA well that about sums it up. I don’t miss the crazy drivers or the trffaic. Just the fact that I go days, even weeks, without getting into a car is amazing to me! I was home (California) in July as well. I will have to check out the Mexican restaurant from your earlier posting, that is the one food I miss the most!

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