Waving to my parents as i was walking towards baggage check at Heathrow airport i’ll admit it, I was a wreck. I was excited by 12 months away from home, but I couldn’t comprehend how I was going to survive it. 12 months sounded like a life time at that point.
Touchdown in Sri Lanka and my first night’s sleep is broken. Not only is it hot, sweaty and itchy on account of the mosquitoes feasting on my flesh, but my mind also races with questions. What am I doing here? What am I going to do for 12 months? How am I going to last?
In short, those questions soon left my mind and the feelings that accompanied them evaporated too. People feel most homesick early on in their travels. Once they start to have fun and realise they can survive without breakfast in bed each morning, the yearning for home comforts soon fade. After my initial fears had passed I had the best 12 months meeting the most awesome people!
Here are a couple of tips just in case you do miss home on the odd occasion …
Talk to someone from home
It’s not hard to connect nowadays, even the most remote of villages seem to house and internet cafe of sorts. Speak to someone at home, whether it be from skype, facebook or msn. Chances are they’ll probably tell you nothing exciting is happening back at home and you’re better off where you are.
Confide in a travel buddy
Talk about your feelings, getting them out of your system and seeing if anyone else in your position feels the same as you can really help. You could help each other conquer those feelings.
Get away from that negative feeling by treating yourself, even if it’s just a coffee. Get yourself to smile and you’ll soon start feeling better.
Start a self project
This can be as simple as a travel diary. Giving yourself some kind of routine will help you adjust to whatever new surroundings you face. Documenting all the cool new things you’ve been up to will certainly make you feel more positive about your time away.
Start and community project
This will definitely provide a routine as well as providing you with familiar faces day in day out. You’ll probably stay in lodgings of some sort, so you’ll have an established base point. It’ll be like working the 9-5 (well almost), just in nicer weather and in more beautiful surroundings.
Go out, see things, make friends, give yourself some reasons to not want to go home. If you stay curled up in your dorm room being upset there will be little to convince you staying on the road is worth it. Be proactive about making yourself feel better.
Remeber you’re really not that far away from home
With modern day transport links, you’re never really more than a day or two away from home. Seems a lot less daunting when I think about it that way.