Because I’ve been traveling almost full-time for the past 6 years and moved abroad 3 times, I’ve had my fair share of homesick moments. Sometimes, it’s just that: a moment, and it doesn’t last longer than a day. But homesickness can also come in huge waves and keep you in bed for days.
The latter is the one I’m trying to avoid at all costs. It doesn’t do me ANY good and it’s extremely energy-draining. It’s absolutely normal – and okay!! – to feel that way, but there are ways to make yourself feel better!
Last winter, I had an entire monthly homesickness episode. It was extremely heavy on my mental health. I hadn’t seen my family in months and had no idea when I was going to see them again. It didn’t help that I didn’t have my work and travel permits yet, which meant that I was basically sitting at home all day, and was not even legally allowed to leave the U.S while my residency was being processed.
I really needed to get myself out of this fuss, and I had to find ways to make it easier during these times. Thankfully, all these seem to have worked for me and life is definitely much easier these days! I’m also finally allowed to travel and work! YAY!
But I know that I will still feel homesick again from time to time, and I will look back on this blog post to help me get back on my feet asap!
Here are 5 ways to make yourself feel better when you’re feeling homesick when traveling abroad or living away from home.
1. Eat a traditional meal from your country
This one goes a long way. One of the things I miss the most about France is the food. It’s almost impossible to find real good French food in the U.S, but I make it work!
You can either cook it yourself or find a restaurant near you that serves food from your home country – it probably won’t be as good as it is back home, but if I were you, I’d take it! –
For me, it’s bread with butter.
It’s the salty crêpes – galettes -, a specialty from my region.
It’s the salmon pasta my mom used to cook.
It’s the homemade pesto my dad makes.
It’s the roasted chicken and homemade French fries my grandma does best.
It’s the cheese and charcuterie we eat at every French table.
It’s the overpriced wine imported from France instead of California – and I’m in Nevada… –
Well, I could go on and on for hours, but I would bore you. I can’t list them all – HOW COULD I FORGET ABOUT RACLETTE??? – but you get it. It’s about linking food to memories.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be a meal that’s 100% traditional in your home country. It’s actually better if it’s just a meal you used to eat a lot growing up, one that brings up sweet childhood memories.
2. Watch a movie or read a book in your native language
Something funny about living in the U.S is how I spent my entire childhood watching Disney originals in French and now living in the country in which they originated.
Believe it or not, it’s extremely bizarre to watch The Lion King in English? Listening to all the famous Disney songs in another language than French?
Or reading Harry Potter in English. Omg. This one hurt. All the famous Harry Potter names in French aren’t actually the real ones?
But it’s not about that. By “watch a movie or read a book in your native language”, I mean whatever it is that you experienced in your native language growing up. A piece of art that deeply connects you to a moment in time, and brings you comfort.
On days when I feel homesick, I will find a Netflix show in French. Or even better, I’ll watch Titanic in French! Whatever connects me to my home country and language.
3. Plan your next trip home
This is something I learned the hard way when my husband and I were doing long-distance for over 4 years.
I was always miserable until I booked my tickets to see him.
It didn’t matter how long it would be until I saw him again. 2 months or 6 months. As long as I had a plane ticket and a guarantee that I was going to see him on that specific day, I was fine.
Now, this is something I haven’t had to privilege to do for the past year. Closing the long distance with him and getting married, as amazing as it was, also meant creating a whole new kind of long-distance with my family and friends that I left behind in France.
For the past year, I haven’t been allowed to leave the U.S – as mentioned above – so tip #3 was literally impossible to put in place. But believe me, I’m about to book my ticket back home for Christmas and even tho it’s more than 6 months away, my mental health is SO much better.
Knowing when it’s going to happen makes all the difference.
But knowing what’s gonna happen too! I also love to make plans about what I wanna do when I travel back to France: what meals I want my family to cook for me, what places I wanna go to because I miss them, what activities I will do with my loved ones, and so on.
Plan it. That will make you feel instantly better.
4. Facetime family or friends at home
I consider it self-care.
When you’re away, spending quality time with your loved ones means spending time FaceTiming them. If you think about it, how amazing is it that we live in an era where we get to do this? For free? And instantly?
A couple of decades ago, people were calling each other on home phones or payphones and spent so much money on them. They also wrote letters and had to wait weeks to hear from their loved ones.
And if you go back further in time, people even had to wait months for a letter that wasn’t even guaranteed to come.
So if there’s one thing I refuse to take for granted, it’s Facetime.
I get to have coffee with my mom several times a week.
I get to have my grandma teaching me how to cook a traditional French Christmas dinner live.
I get to do happy hours with my friends – when it’s evening in France and noon here in Vegas… –
I get to cry on the phone with them when I need to.
And that. That is the real power of calling your loved ones. You get to do life with them from afar. I have traveled a lot, and because I decided a long time ago to dedicate that much time to call my family and friends, every time I see them again IRL, nothing has changed. We don’t grow apart and I always feel caught up and included.
Don’t neglect it. Don’t take it for granted. Pick up your phone.
5. Have a little dance party with music from your country or music you grew up listening to
Ahhhhhhh. This is is my personal favorite. No doubt.
I made a playlist on my phone called “French Playlist – with a bunch of France-related emojis -” and whenever I feel the need to dance with my loved ones in France, I simply do it alone.
I recommend gathering all of your favorite songs from your home country: from the ones you grew up listening to, to the ones that take you back to your teenage-hood, as well as some current ones.
Then, fix yourself a drink – it doesn’t have to be alcohol!! – and start a dance session.
You need to dance it out.
This is how I make myself feel better when I miss home! How do you cope with homesickness? Share in the comment section! I would love to find new ways.
Once again, I can’t thank you enough for reading me! I hope this post is going to help you in the future.
Let’s connect on Instagram and be friends.