Chances are, if you’re from New England and are already homesick, Europe is going to make you ache with it.
Travel in Asia and Africa is easier on the heart because it is so different from home that you can just flow with the newness.
But here in Europe? You’ll feel the tug in your soul. The curve of that column? It looks like Boston’s buildings. The glint of the ocean? Remember Rhode Island. That cafe? You’ll reminisce on your favorite spot back home.
This week I’m feeling much better (having taken the advice I’m about to discuss), but when I started writing this article a week ago, I was melancholy! And however much you may try to appreciate each second of being abroad, if you’re homesick, you’re homesick. And it hurts!
So how do you battle melancholy while on the road? Here are some effective tricks.
1. Go for a REALLY long walk around both touristic and non-touristic areas. You may still be in a foul mood for the entire time, but at least you’ll see a few sights and get some exercise while you sulk. And scientifically, exercise unleashes endorphins which spin the mind to a happier high.
2. Eat a lot of really good food. But you already know all about comfort eating! Though in a foreign country, it can also be called “culinary tourism”… which also happens to also soothe the soul.
3. Stew in it. Tell yourself: “I am depressed and homesick and waahh, waahh, waahh!” Sometimes naming your stormy emotions and permitting them to exist is the first step to recovery! And after all, some of the best poetry, prose, songs, and even emails are crafted while melancholy.
4. Sprawl out on an expanse of grass and contemplate the trees and the universe. Breathe in the nature and watch the birds and bugs.
5. Find some way to help other people and contribute to society in general. When you get your nose out of your own navel and realize there are other navels out there that are even more needy– and that you can do something to help their situations instead of being moody about your own– that’s a boost for all!
Search for volunteer opportunities online or in person, or just help someone else on a small, personal level.
6. Know that this feeling, too, shall pass… and if you change your plane ticket to leave earlier, you are officially a giant wimp and will regret it forever. Sure, this is harsh, but let’s accept it for the reality that it is.
7. Try every method possible to connect with other humans. For me, this is the key to being hoisted out of a cloud of sadness and homesickness. Wherever you find kind friends and new loved ones, that place becomes another home!
How do you do this “connecting” thing? For a cheat-sheet of concrete ways to make friends while traveling, click here!
Should you be of the female-ish sort (or want to get into the feminine mind), here’s a special article on female friendship on the road right here.
What are YOUR tricks for fighting melancholy?
Now if you will excuse me, I have to primp and preen (with my last remaining clean shirt) for the local Couchsurfing.org tapas meet-up tonight!
Photo Note: These lovely photos were taken in Madrid, Spain. I find Madrid to be modern, livable, clean, and enjoyable. Now only if it were only by the sea and a liiiittle warmer, it would be ideal!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!