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Whether you’re a teen headed off to college or an traveler wandering through Europe on your own, homesickness can strike at any time. Being homesick while traveling is not the worst “sickness” that a traveler might encounter while on the road, but it can definitely put a crimp in your plans and rob you of the joy of traveling. It’s bad enough if you’re only a few hours’ car ride from home – but becoming homesick while overseas is more challenging to deal with. In this brief post we’ll give you some tips and encouragement on how to deal with homesickness abroad.
Being homesick while traveling is not a new phenomenon: it’s mentioned in some of the oldest known written works that exist. The Greek physician Hippocrates also mentioned it in his writing, attributing it to an excess of “black bile” in the bloodstream. It’s mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey: Odysseus is recorded as “…longing for his wife and his homecoming…” It is also mentioned in the books of Exodus and Psalms in the Old Testament of the Bible.
While “homesickness” is not defined in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) used by mental health practitioners, it is related to two known mental disorders: Adjustment Disorder and/or Acculturation Difficulty. Foreign travelers are most prone to acculturation difficulty due to the culture shock and differences in language often encountered in other countries.
Researchers define homesickness as “…the distress or impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home. Its cognitive hallmark is preoccupying thoughts of home and attachment objects.” Put a different way – it is not just a longing for the things of home, but a longing that negatively impacts a person physically or mentally.
Understanding homesickness itself is the first thing to understand if you want to know how to deal with homesickness abroad. By its nature, homesickness is temporary and transient, even though it may feel like it will never end. There are some deliberate steps and strategies you can take to get through it.
Symptoms of Being Homesick While Traveling
PsycholoGenie.com lists some of the most common symptoms that homesick travelers experience:
You may or may not experience all of these symptoms if you’re homesick – but you will feel them, and they can be debilitating. If the mental effects of homesickness are ignored for long enough, they can turn into physical symptoms like headaches, stomach cramps, nausea and muscle cramps. Fortunately, simple strategies on how to deal with homesickness abroad are easily found, and easily implemented.
Being homesick while traveling sucks, and there’s a strong temptation to go back home. The worst thing you can do as a homesick traveler is to immediately buy a one-way ticket back to your home country. It’s expensive, and returning home will rob you of the joy of experiencing a different way of life. Here are some simple tips on how to deal with homesickness abroad:
Sooner or later, you will find that your thoughts of home become fewer and farther between and are tinged with joy rather than with sadness.
We hope that this post has provided you with some good insight on how to deal with homesickness abroad – and that if you are experiencing it, you get through it quickly!
Very good topic to have addressed.
For me actually I constantly keep on sharing my daily activities with my home twice a day… So that constant touch always continue to exist with me.
I still have homesick even though its been awhile i been away from home but i definitely do things that remind me of home to reduce that feeling