Travel Blues – How to combat homesickness

It happens to all of us, waking up one day and just feeling a little lost. Not quite sure what you’re doing, where you’re going, or “what’s the point?”. That sudden realisation that your entire life fits into one suitcase and this hotel room is home (for now) and all you want is to be back with everyone and everything that feels normal! When travelling is your job and hotel rooms are your home away from home, you tend to get used to being away from loved ones and normal routines, but thats not to say that the occasional hit of homesickness never comes! Our years of travelling have left us equipped with a few tricks to help deal with those feelings and make home feel not so far away.
Travel light; There is nothing more overwhelming than lugging a giant suitcase, unnecessary amounts of cabin baggage and extra clothing around with you in a brand new environment. Extra items cause extra stress and being tired (which is generally the case if you’re travelling long distances) means you’re not on your mental A game and there is nothing worse than realising you’ve left something behind. Less  is more and believe me you won’t miss it if you don’t pack it. You’re less likely to feel like calling it quits and heading home if you eliminate some of these stresses. Stay at 100%; It’s always important to let your loved ones know you’ve arrived safely ( I know that my parents appreciate that!). Most modern aircraft have USB ports in all seats now so you can keep your devices in the green during the flight, but its always important to have a back up plan. Invest in a portable charger, most of them are so small now you can easily leave it your handbag or pocket, this means that if you’re ever stuck and you’re life line to the outside world is less than reliable you’ll always be able to contact someone. Knowing that home is only a phone call away is sometimes all you need. Keep in contact; How did we ever survive without Skype or FaceTime? It’s great to catch up over text but there is nothing better than sitting down and sharing your stories with everyone back home. Schedule in Skype dates and make sure you put that time aside. The longer you leave face to face talks the more far away everyone feels. When we travel we try to Skype home once a week for about an hour. It gives us all our home fix and always leaves you feel happier than you were before. Take me with you..; When I was little my Mum gave me a handkerchief with her perfume on it to keep in my school bag. That way if I was ever feeling sad I could just smell the handkerchief and know that she was with me. I still have it! I think it’s so important to travel with a little piece of home. A lot of people carry photographs with them ( you can also create an album on your mobile device filled with pictures of everyone you love). Another popular item is a pendant with St Christopher – the patron saint of safe travel – to protect you on your way. Letters with well wishes from friends are beautiful to have to read over and over on your travels. What ever it is, something small that is important to you, take it with you. But remember to keep it safe! Embrace and be open; This is whole reason why you have decided to travel! To immerse yourself in new cultures, learn new things and meet new people. You have to love your new environment, whether you’re here for 2 days, 2 weeks or 2 years you have to make the most of it. Life is far too short not to experience everything you can. Do some research before you arrive, especially if you’re travelling solo. Book in a tour or take a class to meet people, you will be surprised how many others are doing and feeling the same thing as you. Create a network and enjoy yourself! Keep busy; Boredom is your enemy. I have fallen into this trap many times and it is the worst! If you’re studying and are spending an extended period of time away, see if you can take your course via correspondence for that time, that way when you’re done with your day to day things you can bunk in and still feel productive. We always make sure that we have a good book in our bag, that way if the weather isn’t great and we can’t be outside exploring the city we’re in we can stay focused and keep our minds active. Always make the effort to get out of your room too, wether that means going for a walk, sitting by the pool or trying a new restaurant. Never just sit around waiting for something great to come your way… Those new friends aren’t going to knock on your hotel room door, they’re at the bar drinking margaritas! Eat Well; It’s not always easy to stay on top of your diet when you’re travelling but weeks of deep fried, heavy and sugary foods will have you feeling lethargic and under the weather. New foods can cause all kinds of upsets with your body especially if you have never experienced these tasty treats before! Stay away from the obvious dangers like street food (unless its piping hot but even then its not always the best idea.. or its a Nutella and banana crepe – that type is street food it totally fine!) and raw foods (unless of course it has been prepared properly). If you’re more susceptible to an upset stomach, visit your doctor before you leave and you should be able to pick up some medication that will fix you up if you do end up getting sick. We get a bit sick of eating out all the time when we’re travelling so we always keep an eye out for supermarkets or local farmers markets. You can always pick up some great meals from both of these places, and sometimes you’ll be able to find foods that remind you of home! Most hotels will have a small mini bar fridge in the room and we use this to house our market goodies. Clear out the fridge (it’s best to let the hotel know so you don’t get mistakenly charged for the items as some places have sensor fridges) and load it up with your fresh foods daily. Happy travels J x


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