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7 Ways to Battle Homesickness and General Melancholy in Travel

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.

This Madrid, Spain building looks like a cake!
This Madrid, Spain building looks like a cake!

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!

Me feeling homesick in Madrid.
Me feeling homesick in Madrid.

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.

A part of Madrid that reminded me of Boston.
A part of Madrid that reminded me of Boston.

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!

A street in Madrid.
A street in Madrid.

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 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!


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Christine Yu

Wednesday 14th of December 2011

I like these ways. I haven't traveled in such a long time so I don't really know what it feels like to be homesick. But the second way to battle homesickness kind of reminds me on how I eat when I'm bored or upset about things. It's either candy or bread.


Thursday 26th of August 2010

When you get your nose out of your own navel and realize there are other navels out there that are even more needy

I like that one ,,,

Its really good tips,,, I will try it.

Thank you lillie...


Monday 23rd of August 2010

Thanks for these tips! I've been traveling for quite some time now and even with a month home last Christmas, sometimes I go get homesick still. It's important to enjoy your time away, but it also helps to reconnect with loved ones. I'll keep your advice in mind next time I feel the itch for home again!


Tuesday 20th of July 2010

Usually, the melancholy comes in the hours before I have to head home, especially on a wrestling trip when I have spent good times with great groups of people. Of course, my wrestling trips are more of the short term variety.


Sunday 4th of July 2010

My homesickness cure is to do something that I would normally do on an average day back home! My favorite activity is slapping on some headphones, opening itunes and clicking shuffle while working on pictures. This little taste of home gets me charged up for some new adventures in a couple hours.

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