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Somewhere we belong

Thoughts on homesickness?
14 years ago, December 20th 2006 No: 1 Msg: #9324  
B Posts: 23
Just wondering if any of you get homesick, what you think causes it, how you deal with it, any theories?

Im interested coz I have lived in Japan for nine months and havent ever been miserably homesick, although obiously missing people and places occasionally its been great. However, I took a trip for three weeks in 2003 to England/Europe with family and was incredibly, regrettably homesick the whole time. Im heading to Europe again (with a friend this time) for a few months and am interested to see how I will be this time.

My theory is that homesickness (in my case anyway) is strongly related to a sense of belonging. I have my things surrounding me here, and great people to share the experience with, and I feel that I am bettering myself by being here. When in Europe the first time I didnt have this, and I was not independent to find things that gave me that sense of connectedness. I am hoping this time to find things away from familiar surroundings that tell me I belong wherever I am, that Im meant to be where I am and learning from the experiences I am having.

Any thoughts? Reply to this

14 years ago, December 21st 2006 No: 2 Msg: #9348  
B Posts: 5,195
Homesickness - It must be really strong for a lot of people at this time of year. Christmas for me is tied up mainly with spending time with my family. I'm lucky enough to be with them this year... but I've missed many in the last years.

I personally very rarely get homesick - I feel it at Christmas (phoning home and hearing everyone!) and when I am sick - but that is really it.

I think it is very much tied in with feelings of loneliness and belonging too - if you're having the time of your life then homesickness probably won't affect you. If you are lonely - then thoughts will naturally turn to the people that you care for the most - if you are having a bad time - places where you feel safe and happy will be uppermost in your thoughts.

One of the volunteers I met in Quito went home to Germany unexpectedly last week, last minute, and we didn't expect it. She'd arrived when there were very few others in the same situation, the others on the volunteer program had spent several weeks before this and had chance to get used life in Quito before the Christmas homesickness kicked in.

Anyone feeling homesick right now? - is it the time of year? Reply to this

14 years ago, December 22nd 2006 No: 3 Msg: #9364  
I have just finished a trip to SE Asia for two months. Understandably this is a very short time compared to others I had talked to, however I was only truly homesick twice. The first time is when I fist landed in Kota Kinabalu in Borneo. I had never been overseas before and was completely overwhelmed and jet lagged and unfamiliar not only with the surroundings but with travelling itself. That quickly passed, thank goodnes! The other time was when I was really sick. All I wanted was to be at my home in my bed visiting doctors that spoke english. Other than that I wasn't homesick at all. I missed bits and pieces of home, of course, but it wasn't homesickness. I think I was just too busy seeing and experiencing and living to think about it too much. Now that I am home I think I have gotten 'travelsickness'. Everytime I go to bed at night I lay awake for hours, thinking of where I have been and what I saw and who I met. I can't wait to get out there again.

Reply to this

14 years ago, December 22nd 2006 No: 4 Msg: #9365  
Gosh Amy,
you started something big and philosophical. First let's notice that many languages, say Italian, do not have a word for 'Home', but just for house. We sometimes use the term DFS, Domestic Fireplace Syndrome. Hogar in Spanish means home AND fireplace. If we concentrate on the 'fire' we'll certainly remind some splendid night spent around a fire, able to dispell any thought of homesickness. I spent around 6 years solid traveling, with just a brief 20 days back home. Which, by the way, I do not call home any more. And I am convinced that if we want to travel happily we MUST be able to create everywhere we go that atmosphere that makes us feel at home. Objects, as you shrewdly pointed out, help a lot, like a candle, a personal set of cutlery, a tent and a therm a rest mattress. Our backpack can become our home. Then also the places we are travelling to can help or not. Japan is a favourite of mine, for that unique ability they have to enrich the atmosphere of a home. Cold places are great, because they enclose the idea of space and create a fireplace easily. On the other side, it would be impossible for me to create a home in Senegal or Vietnam, where there is little privacy. Although Lesotho is a place where I could create a home in few minutes.


M Reply to this

14 years ago, December 22nd 2006 No: 5 Msg: #9376  
I only get homesick if I go 'home' (to my mother country) to spend a few days there and then return to traveling or living abroad and almost every time if this happens. I think I might forget the advantages of being at home and only realize how easy it is to know everything and be able to see all my friends when I'm experiencing it... And then I need a few days to realize that there is so much else that I also enjoy that I can't find at home...
g. Reply to this

14 years ago, December 23rd 2006 No: 6 Msg: #9388  
I spent 15 years being homesick for tanzania - i vowed i would not go back to visit, only to live - i'm finally back here and dispite all the aggro associated with living here, at last i don't feel restless anymore. Reply to this

14 years ago, December 31st 2006 No: 7 Msg: #9539  
I pretty much feel the same way about homesickness as some of the others mentioned. I have only been homesick upon first arrival at my first stop upon upon my trips. I am not sure how much it will affect me as I get more travels under my belt. Sometimes for the first two days or so, culture shock and jet lag can make me homesick. When I was sick I didn't really care though. I have never been terribly ill, but I kind of thought seeing a doctor in some crazy country was a pretty interesting experience.

The one other time I got a feeling similiar to homesickness was right before I flew home. It wasn't really homesickness though. I basically felt that, unfortunately, my trip was ending and there was nothing left to do, I was in a city I had already explored and I had to wait almost two days before catching my flight. That limbo time really sucked. I think that feeling was more of a mix of a sadness of the trip ending and eagerness to see my home. Reply to this

14 years ago, January 3rd 2007 No: 8 Msg: #9588  
N Posts: 4
I never get homesick while I'm travelling - I'm too busy indulging myself in the experience! I do get homesick when I'm living o/seas and there aren't enough pesos to get me home when I really need to be there. That brings feelings of isolation - the people you need to be with and talk things through with, aren't there, and as much as other people try to understand, they probably won't get it! But these are the things that make you stronger and teach you to treasure the time you do spend at home.

I don't get people that go on short trips and get homesick - and by a short trip I mean any journey you undertake that has a start and end date in the same year. You're away...it's gonna be different, you've got the interent to keep in touch and you know you're going back...enjoy !!! All your home comforts will be there when you get back ! Reply to this

14 years ago, January 11th 2007 No: 9 Msg: #9773  
When I was away I felt homesick a couple times. Mainly when things weren't going my way and I was lonely. But then as soon as you find a good person to travel with and you're having fun, it goes away. I think homesickness is just from feeling like you don't belong, I guess. Because you know that at home you have friends and family and familiar things. Then you get home and you realise that nothing has changed there, and you start wishing you were where ever you had just left. Maybe it's just that "the grass is always greener on the other side" thing...I would like to not think that though. Reply to this

14 years ago, January 15th 2007 No: 10 Msg: #9907  
When I was younger and studying overseas - I remember having a few waves of homesickness - especially around exam time when I was stressed, sick or when I struggled to express myself - but luckily it quickly passed. These days it doesn't seem to bother me so much. Actually, I'm now getting reverse home-sickness ... back in my hometown, but realizing so many of my great friends and people I relate to are on the road ... Someone asked me traveling once - if I could be spirited back home for a day, who would I most want to catch up with ... I said my group of uni friends - a group of old friends who know my history, get my jokes and are guaranteed fun (my family are brilliant emailers - so I never feel they're far away). Maybe travel has changed me, but now I'd prefer to be calling my backpack home once again! Reply to this

13 years ago, June 15th 2007 No: 11 Msg: #15275  
N Posts: 3

i traveled for 2 and half years with out going home a while ago, there were times i was a bit down and got a bit home sick then when i did i used to close my eyes and imajion my self at home in my house seeing the people i would normaly see there id spend few mins doing this and after i would feel like i had been home it was amazing how it worked. i never get home sick any more i just enjoy my self 2 much. unless im home then i do get home sick........ Reply to this

13 years ago, February 21st 2008 No: 12 Msg: #28059  
I don't really get homesick anymore, although when I was a 16 year old exchange student 4500 miles from home... it got to me sometimes. Now, I've lived away for about four years (went back to the US for college after finishing high school in Norway), and in many ways it feels just as much like home as Norway. And in some ways it doesn't. But it's just different. My concept of "home" has become increasingly fluid over the years, and I think it has just as much to do with the people you are with, not necessarily the place you're in.

"Home is not where you live, but where they understand you." -Christian Morgenstern Reply to this

13 years ago, February 22nd 2008 No: 13 Msg: #28213  
B Posts: 11.5K
I have lived away from 'home' (NZ) for about 1/4 of my life, and I enjoy living where I am now (Japan). Being involved in quite a few things here has definitely helped, but I think of myself as pretty independant and flexible anyway.

Christmas and birthdays have definitely been the lower times, particularly if I happen to be on my own that day. It's worth making the effort to make the day special in some small way.

Coming back after a holiday in NZ with friends and family can be hard. I was home for Christmas 2007 and found the first week back pretty tough. But you just get back into the swing of things, remember why you went where you are in the first place, and try to make the most of the opportunity because one day soon enough the time will be over. Reply to this

13 years ago, February 22nd 2008 No: 14 Msg: #28220  
Hello Blackmanx 😊

Good question. Not sure whether there is a general psychological reason for it or what. When I get homesick it does not seem to have anything to do with which country I am in or if the culture is different. It seems to depend on the types of people I meet. If I experience too much negativity from people in a place or situation then I start to long to be with people I know care about me and those are generally at home.

Mel Reply to this

13 years ago, February 24th 2008 No: 15 Msg: #28378  
Generally so far i have felt no homesickness, i have on ocassion felt a little down because of maybe the people im around or a bad day, but then i pick myself back up again as the will always be a really cool time to follow to make up for the naff time. Reply to this

13 years ago, February 25th 2008 No: 16 Msg: #28404  
Reading the other entries seems to also beg the question: what is the difference between culture shock and homesickness?

In my 2nd month in China, I felt great...was loving it! Then, going to get my groceries, the clerk told me my handbag was too big and I couldn't bring it in (the same bag I had brought in many times before). I had so little Mandarin at that point, all I could say was, this is my purse! And he just kept saying no. Suddenly I felt overwhelmed and tears started running down my cheeks right there, in a Chinese mall packed with people staring at the crying foreigner. The next day I found it funny. I call that culture shock. I didn't want to go home, I just wanted to be able to communicate, and found myself unable to do so...and overreacted.

Fastforward 4 months, I'm still here, and lately I've been homesick. I think its many things, winter/cold blahs, a lull in work, and then my husband breaking his wrist which just makes things more difficult for the next 3 months. However, now that Spring Festival is over, I'm back to work, and don't have the time to ponder it. I'm not going home, in fact we agreed to stay another year, but right now my heart is in the Saint John River Valley.

Maybe some would say there is no difference between culture shock and homesickness...
Reply to this

13 years ago, February 25th 2008 No: 17 Msg: #28433  
Hello Elizabeth(or Craig) 😊

I think there is a difference between culture shock and homesickness Elizabeth.
Culture shock can be exciting. It just means there are a lot of new things to get used to. I generally find culture shock entertaining. I suppose it is when the culture shock is caused by negative things rather than positive then that is when the homesickness happens.

Mel Reply to this

13 years ago, February 27th 2008 No: 18 Msg: #28648  
In 17 months of travelling we have genuinely not felt homesick once. We miss more mundane things like a decent pizza, good coffee, cooking together and having friends over for dinner.

We have wondered briefly what people are up to and quick e-mails/phone calls usually show us we are better off travelling because in these 17 months nothing has changed at all with our families! Maybe we don't feel homesick because there are 2 of us, we have been together for 13 years and know each other so well. To us, home is where each other is, not a specific place or country. We'd imagine though that travelling alone would be different and more difficult without people who truely 'get you' to help out when the blues hit. Being ill is tough when you are away, but we are lucky in that Neil is a doctor and manages to communicate with pharmacists wherever we are (usually by listing every known name for a drug!). We have had a rough patch with illness and broken bones recently but strangely we have never once wanted to go 'home' which is beginning to worry us that we will hate being back in the UK once we finally do return!

Maybe it is certain things that make people homesick, seasons which prompt memories or being ill...it's different for each person.

Reply to this

13 years ago, February 27th 2008 No: 19 Msg: #28667  
I have very strange homesickness, it happens only when I am getting myself dry from the shower / swimming etc, and I desperatley want my mum to give me a big cuddle, it doesn't matter where in the world I am.

As soon as I'm dry I'm ok again. I think it's a throw back to going swimming with school and being a bit scared.

Weird Huh ! Reply to this

13 years ago, March 13th 2008 No: 20 Msg: #29826  
Homesickness is always bad...i find lookin at pictures of loved ones and thinking of good times helps ease the blow...some people dont believe it but it works...:P

Also doing something relaxing and soothing helps as well, or even doingsomeething construcive...

Good Luck:P Reply to this

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