It’s 11 AM on a Sunday morning –– hangover o'clock. You could really go for some waffles. And eggs. And sausage. Covered in syrup. Not to mention bottomless coffee brought to you every five minutes.
Visions of your favorite hometown diner fill your head. It’s got a name like Ruby’s or Charlie’s or Stan’s.
You roll over in bed and peer out the window –– to see a skyline full of buildings and signs with another language written on them. You’re in a place where cutesy diners like the ones your stomach is calling out for don’t exist.
You slump back down under the covers and daydream of home.
Perpetual travelers and nomads often come to a head with the homesickness beast here and there. Sometimes it’s the yearning for a particular person or place. Other times, it’s food.
Even though you can’t make that breakfast place of childhood appear out of thin air, there are some things you can do to quell the pangs when they come a-knockin’:
Indulge in a Netflix Binge
When in a new country, there can often be societal or even self-imposed pressure to be having an amazing time all the time, gallivanting around tourist sites, museums, and bar crawls.
Sometimes you gotta resist that pressure. Turn off the lights, burrow into a blanket, and plug into a mini (or mega) marathon of whatever shows from home Netflix will let you see.
Or, if you can spare the expense, splurge on an iTunes movie rental that reminds you of home.
Make a recipe you love
As mentioned above, any restaurants or cuisine that you love from home is likely to be botched to at least some degree anywhere else that you go.
When you’re really craving something from back home, attempt to make it yourself. Message friends or family back home for the secret recipe and see if you can find all the ingredients where you are.
Whether in your home or a hostel kitchen, Skype whoever the expert is on that food and give it a shot together.
Find the Gringo Bar (or café, bookstore, language exchange, etc.)
If you’re in any metropolitan area, there is a gringo hangout. It’s probably got a ridiculous name like Liberty Lane, and they probably make mediocre hamburgers.
But when you’re dying to talk to someone who just gets it, a community of people who can commiserate are probably on the other side of the door.
Lean into the discomfort
I know, this last one sounds kind of awful, but that’s the point.
Part of the experience you are having is one that can teach you a lot about yourself. That means that the painful parts will help you grow in the end.
This message can be the last thing you want to hear when you’re homesick and hurting, but it can help you face (and beat!) the beast when it is at its strongest.
Write in a journal, call a friend, cry. It’s OK that you’re homesick. That is part of it. (By the way, it doesn’t mean that you’re ready to go home –– whatever that means to you –– either).
By the time Sunday evening comes around, hopefully you will have calmed the homesickness beast tamed in one way or another. It will rear its ugly face again sometime, but you’ll be better prepared next time.
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Who wrote this?
Gina Edwards, Impact Explorer founder and lover of all pun jokes, making a positive change in the world, Stephen Colbert, Jif Peanut Butter, and staying inside on rainy days. Order may vary.