Packing up my things and leaving home has always come natural to me. From the first sleep-over at my best friend’s from kindergarten I was hooked. Soon I had stepped up to annual summer camps or ski trips and when I was old enough to fly, I spread my wings and went on a journey that has not found its final destination yet – much to my mum’s distress. Moving from city to city and from country to country I left behind friends and family and found exciting adventures and important experiences.

home.jpg

Almost one year ago I left my life in Berlin behind to move to Scotland. Just before, I went to visit my family in Vienna and have not returned since then. Soon I will board a plane to attend my brother’s wedding and the notion of going “home” got me thinking. I have never felt particularly homesick. Once my mentioned best friend’s dad had to come pick her up from a sleep-over at mine because she wanted to go “home” – I did not understand what was wrong with her. In my opinion going away (even just for one night) opens up a whole new world – even if there is a place you return to eventually, there is no hurry to get there. It will always be there. Of course throughout the years I missed out on several big events in my friends’ and family’s lives. My dad’s successful battle against a terrible illness, my brother’s engagement, fab birthday parties, weekend getaways with the girls – the list is endless. But for everything I missed, I gained another experience in my own life.

And yet, sometimes it does overcome me, creep into my head so slowly that by the time I realize it is already too late: homesickness. That dreadful moment when I wish somebody would speak not only the same language, but also the same dialect as me; when I wanted to share my favourite Austrian comedian with my international friends and of course they wouldn’t understand; when everything (including the weather and the boys) seemed to have turned against me; when all I wanted was a meal prepared by my mum, a film watched with my brothers or a laugh shared with my best friend.

I think there comes a moment for every traveller, when they wish they could just turn around and go “home”. Is it really always homesickness? Probably not – usually there is something else that is wrong or we are just tired from travelling. Whether homesick, tired or just grumpy, it is important to know how to cope with these feelings, so our team came up with a couple of strategies to fight homesickness:

things-to-do-in-glasgow_kathi-kamleitner-35

– When you miss your home and own language watch some TV shows or films from there. Sounds are an important factor of our well-being. My secret weapon is to watch the news because they remind me of our ridiculous politicians and celebrities – I end up not wanting to go home after all. (Kathi)

Remember that home is not all sunshine and roses. When I feel homesick I remind myself that at home it was -20 degrees Celsius in winter and snowing in Midsummer. (Rita)

– Cook a traditional meal and taste “home”. This can also be a good way to introduce your foreign friends to your culture and encourages cultural exchange. The more they know about your culture, the less foreign you will feel with your customs. (Kathi)

– Hang out in your hostel’s social area to distract yourself with meeting new peeps. Online social services like MeetUp or CouchSurfing have event sections and people there are always keen for new faces. (Sophie)

Do something special, that is unique for your current location. It will remind you to live in the moment and to enjoy the beautiful place you live in right now. (Sophie)

toronto_kathi-kamleitner-43

– Start a travel diary and write the pain off your chest. Upon a recent trip to Austria/South Tyrol I realised how much I missed Vienna. I started writing about my city and did not only end up with a great article, but also with less weight on my heart. (Kathi)

– Make use of technology and master everything from Skype to What’s App. Keeping it touch with your loved ones, receiving encouraging snapchats from your best friend or giggling over your mum’s typos on FB can change the world. (Sophie)

– If you are really just tired from too much travelling, try to slow down your pace of travel and to also do more “normal” things like watch a film on my laptop, read a book in bed or enjoy a hot bath. (Frankie)

Pamper yourself for a day – in my case with red wine and pasta. (Annika)

A Life-Changing Trip to Monaco | Travelettes.net

– Take a little camera trip where you don’t concentrate on making things look pretty but just to express yourself. You will realize how beautiful the world is and how privileged you are to be able to see this first-hand. (Caroline)

Exercise, go for a run or a long walk. It will clear your head and your body will produce endorphin. If all that fails to help, allow yourself a massive cry – don’t underestimate the healing powers of a good sob. (Frankie)

– And finally, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s ok to feel homesick, most have their wobbly moments and it’ll pass. Ride it out, girl! (Sophie)

Ethical issues of traveling, Responsible tourism, Kathi Kamleitner, Travelettes-21

What keeps me going even when I’m down is the strong belief that travelling makes me the person that I am. It gives me strength and confidence, inspiration and joy – and even if the desire for “home” overcomes me from time to time, it is worth to push myself to the limits of my comfort zone and beyond. Home is wherever I am with: me.