The words “exciting” and “adventure” have become synonymous with travel, but what do you do when you start to feel homesick on the road? It’s okay to admit it, even on a website like this, filled to the brim with the words “exciting” and “adventure”; somedays I wake up missing my own bed, Sidecar Doughnuts, and the people I love.
It’s been about 3 months since we ended our apartment lease, put all our belongings in storage, and started living on the road. During this time, I’ve seen some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life, met some wonderful fellow travelers, and have been lucky enough to get to share all of it with my best friend and love of my life, my husband. Even with him by my side, there have still been a few days here and there where I’ve woken up feeling blue and missing a familiar face. Here are a few things that have helped me, and hopefully will encourage any other travelers who are feeling homesick.
1. Write Postcards– I know, I know, why waist time buying, writing, and mailing a postcard when there’s facebook, email, and instagram? But there’s something deeply cathartic about slowing down and handwriting a message. Think of one person and look around. What would they like about the city you’re in? Is there something there a hike or restaurant nearby that reminds you of them? Write it out. The day I walked to the post-office with a pile of filled out post-cards in hand made my heart feel much lighter and turned my day around.
2. See Them– Whether you have FaceTime on your phone, or use Skype on your computer, there are so many ways to still see and hear loved ones on the go. Set up a semi-weekly time to chat, brew a cup of your favorite coffee, and settle down for an hour of catching-up. I have a dear friend who has the cutest baby, and every time we FaceTimed she would put her daughter on the screen. It was impossible to be sad with those big kissable cheeks and cute face staring back at me.
3. Branch Out– Meeting new people on the road can be a little hard sometimes. Talk to the locals and see what’s going on in the town. Is there live music anywhere this weekend? Where’s the best place to get a drink? Anytime Alex and I went to any city event, we tried to find at least one person we could get to know and talk to for a bit. If you’re an introvert, start small 🙂 Chat with the person bagging your groceries or the barista making your latte, that way you only have a few minutes to ask questions without feeling obligated to stay and talk longer.
4. Put Down Your Phone– My phone acts as a security blanket sometimes. Awkward situation? Pull out my phone. Feeling bored? Pull out my phone. Feeling happy? Pull out my phone. When I started to feel homesick, I made the mistake of going on Facebook and scrolling through my news-feed. Pictures of all my friends back home getting together and having fun made me even more sad. Many days I had to make the conscious choice to keep my phone in my closed purse instead of in my hand. Be present. Don’t let this traveling season pass you by because you were too caught up in what was going on back home. Embrace the silence of no new message alerts, and live in the moment.
5. Do Your Hobbies– If you’re a creature of habit, you’ll find comfort in finding a new “normal” on the road. I packed my yoga mat and used yelp to find hot yoga studios in whatever city we were in. It felt so good to walk into a room and already know what to do. Keeping up your hobbies, whether it’s scrap-booking or hiking, will bring a little piece of home with you wherever you go.
6. Find Groups with Common Interests– Did you know that some mountain biking shops put together group rides and provide shuttles for a flat fee? All you have to do is call to sign up, pay a fee, and show up, it’s that easy. Alex and I also found a lot of comfort in going to church together since that’s something we would have done back home. Most churches will also usually have a mid-week gathering, so if you know your weekend is going to be packed with all-day hikes but you still want to attend a service this is a very convenient option.
Have you ever been homesick on the road? What did you do to change your situations? Let us know by typing a comment below, you never know who you might be helping 🙂
Never stop exploring,