Throughout my life, I’ve moved a lot. Part of this is due to circumstance; the other is down to my adventurous streak needing to be fulfilled as often as possible. I am a big believer in putting yourself out there to become a culturally-sensitive, all-rounded and better person.
At some point or another, however, homesickness will kick in. It’s a natural feeling that you shouldn’t be ashamed of and something we all experience at some point in our lives, unless you live under a rock.
The first time I went away from home, I was aged 4, going on 5. We were living in Northern Germany and my kindergarten offered me the chance to go on a week-long school trip. Believe it or not, my parents had turned down the kindergarten’s offers two years previously of undertaking one of these residentials. (Yes. Had I gone earlier, I would’ve been 2.)
The kindergarten were seriously confused as to why my parents were so hesitant about sending me. My mum didn’t want me to go (“I wouldn’t have had you go for the world,” she fiercely maintains to this day); my dad, on the other hand, insisted it would be a great learning experience for me.
Germans are a LOT more relaxed and easy going about childcare and my dad is a big believer of “When in Rome”. It’s the positive attitude and upbeat mentality of trying new things that has helped him become the successful man he is today (he was recently awarded an OBE by Prince Charles). Like I said, I’m a big believer in putting yourself out there to get more out of life – being positive leads to positive things.
Through parental pushing or not – I’d say one of my key strengths (and something I’m very proud of) is my independence and how self-sufficient I am. And guess what – being away from home will only make you more independent and self-sufficient, too.
But being away from home doesn’t mean you have to turn your back on your home, family or country. As much as its great to throw yourself into new experiences, having a few things that remind you of home can really help make the process easier.
Homesickness doesn’t get better with age, but I promise it does get better with time. Here are my top tips to banish those feelings away!
Food: I take a bag of sweets and some other English treats with me that remind me of home, like M&S Percy Pigs and Twining’s tea bags!
Photos of your family/boyfriend/girlfriend/dog: I’m not talking photos on a phone (although it’s good to keep some on there to glance at, too). I’m talking physical copies in a frame that you can keep by your bed and wake up to every day. Photos of the people I love are some of my most treasured possessions.
Stay off Facebook: … And as much social media as you can. It’s a depressant and will give you major FOMO if you think your friends are having a great time without you (note: they’re probably not).
FaceTime regularly: My nan has just bought an iPhone and seeing her and my parents face-to-face really helps pick me up.
Throw yourself into things: You’re in a new place or situation, so make the most of it. Get off your phone, go outside, chat to strangers and absorb what’s going on around you. It will distract you from feeling homesick and you’ll learn a lot in the process. One day, you’ll regret you never did.