"We are all seekers. Our human nature compels us to explore. It is encoded in our DNA. If we claim personal freedom it is not just that we claim our right to choose, we also claim and empower our curiosity; our human drive to uncover the mysteries of our life." - John Rocheleau
His first claim about life pretty much summed up all of my reasons to embark on this solo adventure. To seek. To find. To understand. To clarify. To know. To not know. Anything and everything that I couldn't possibly accomplish from being in the same, comfortable hometown of mine. Now, don't get me wrong. I love my hometown - - it's just that itchy feeling I got after 11 years of seeing the same streets, restaurants, landmarks, everything. As of January 3rd this year, I was ready to leap away and into unknown territory. I had my bag all packed up, said my goodbyes, paid my dues, and ready as can be. Or was I?
I did not expect to feel homesick - - two weeks into my trip!
Okay. That was a bit too soon for me.I mean, I just left! But then, I thought to myself, 'Why am I being so hard on myself?' 'I am human, right?'
'I am allowed to feel this way.'
Really! How is anyone supposed to feel when embarking on a solo trip into the unknown? The first month I was out and about in Paris, I was constantly trying to battle my natural emotions and embracing the "strong, independent female who can do anything with zero tears". I couldn't believe that after quitting a full-time job and selling all of my belongings, all I wanted to do was to have dinner with all of my friends and loved ones. What I now realize that I was only hurting myself by not going with the flow of my emotions.
'Solo travelers are human too. It's okay to feel homesick. Perfectly natural.'
What I also realized was that the feeling of being homesick eventually does pass. I promise. But, if you are right in the middle of feeling homesick at this very moment, maybe you can try some of the things that helped me to temporarily overcome the feeling.
1. Meet People and Create a Community
One of the things I missed most about being home was my community of friends. The ease of sending a text message and getting a cup of coffee together. The fact that people already know who you are. But, hey, that's okay. You still carry the ability to socialize, right? Bring new people together, right? With sites such as meetup or couchsurfing, as well as Facebok (don't think I need to link that one), you can very well get out there and create a new community to get lunches with, have fun chats, and get to know one another.
|First picture: Friends I made through Couchsurfing, Second picture: A close friend I also made on CS (Both in Barcelona, Spain)|
2. Pick up a Novel.
I'm a big reader. Books not only help the time pass when you're on a very long bus or plane ride or assist in hopefully warding off a not so compatible bus mate,
I used to always love non-fiction books but lately, it's nice to read a novel to take you away. Take you away from feeling homesick, take you away from feeling anything negative that has to do with your own life, and most importantly, take you away to a far away place while being...in a far away place. It sounds like a perfect cure for me. What am I currently reading? The First Forty-None Stories by Ernest Hemingway. I love his writing.
3. Write it Out
I keep a journal with me. Have had it since this past winter and was given to me by someone that really cares about me. He knew that I would not only want to document my travels but also to write out whatever is in my head and heart. In addition, I find it helpful to be creative while you write out your emotions - - creating a poem, writing an old-fashioned letter and sending it off, postcards, have a little fun with it! The bottom line, don't let those feelings build up and not have an outlet. It's healthy to express yourself.
4. Start a Routine.
That's right. Amidst the chaos and ever-changing surroundings a traveler will endure, create a routine and stick with it. It will feel great. Whether it's writing in a blog, a workout regime, meditation, random acts of kindness, a new hobby, or finding a new food to try each day - - Go for it! For the past month and some days, I have initiated a pretty damn good exercise routine. It's been a great challenge because not only is it difficult to start a workout routine, it's even more challenging on the road what with no exercise gear or easy access to the gym. This has really helped me in doing something to at least, temporarily forget how much I miss my friends, family, and home. In addition, it feels so good.
Trust me. You don't need a gym to work out. Although challenging to find ways to workout on the road, I'll be writing another blog detailing ways to get around that :)
5. Listen to Music that reminds you of Home.
I have had a Grooveshark account for as long as I can remember. It's like Spotify. You can listen to music online and create your own playlists! There are many songs that remind me of home and certain people in my life. Sometimes, I just like to sit back, turn up the music, and reflect on the good times to put a smile on my face - - and remind me that my friends will be at home when I get back. Here is my playlist on Grooveshark, Cathy' Playlist
I certainly hope the tips I have listed are helpful to those who are currently experiencing homesickness. The feeling sucks. But, you know what? The feeling will truly pass and just remember why you decided to embark on this trip in the first place. Remember the reasons why you left in the first place and most importantly, your true friends and loved ones - - will be there, ready to greet you with open arms when it's time to come to home.
|Taken under a bridge at the Seine River, waiting for the rain to pass|