5 Ways The Singaporean Traveller Can Beat Homesickness
In January, I took a 22-hour flight to Missouri, in the United States. I was living and travelling alone for six months in and out of a small college town that was a quarter of the size of Singapore. Travelling to a new city is always an exciting experience, but after landing in Missouri, the feeling of missing home started to creep up on me.
Maybe it was the fact that I was alone most of the time or the cold polar vortex that I landed right into, but I never expected homesickness to hit so quickly, or to even hit me at all. So believe me when I say homesickness is real, and could happen to anyone – whether you’re travelling alone or on a curated journey with your friends. But just as all things are, this too will pass. Based on my experience, here are five ways I found to help deal with homesickness when travelling.
1) STAYING POSITIVE
Sometimes we get miserable when we find ourselves struggling to adapt to the environment of a foreign city. That’s where we begin making comparisons with what things were like back home, and end up in a vicious cycle. I remember thinking “Singapore’s transportation is so much more efficient!” while getting frustrated over once-an-hour buses in my college town.
But I found that instead of comparing, trying to look on the bright side of things helped. Instead of missing and comparing with Singapore, I tried finding things about Missouri that I appreciated. I found that although there was a less efficient transportation system, this gave me time to explore more of the city on foot, and I was given the chance to talk to people on the streets and understand American culture better. We travel to break out of our usual surroundings and dip our toes into unfamiliar waters, you’ll be home in no time, so try to make the best of your journey now, no matter how unfamiliar the city.
Related Post: Anywhr: Discover Journeys, Not Destinations
2) TAKE ON NEW EXPERIENCES WITH AN OPEN MIND
Make the most of your time spent in those novel surroundings, whether you’re having an adventure up in the mountains or lounging by the beach on a getaway. Instead of dwelling on what you’re missing out on back home, be present and take in what’s around you. Put yourself out there -- meet new people and create new memories, because if not now, then when? Travellrs Caroline and Jamie made a friend in their homestay host and even spent the day with another traveller that was staying there!
3) TALK TO PEOPLE BACK HOME (BUT IN A REGULATED FASHION!)
You’ve been overseas for a while now, and you’re yearning for that familiar feeling of a chat with your besties and the people you love most back home. Taking time out of your day overseas for a chat with your family doesn’t hurt! But ensure your calls back home are done in moderation. The last thing you want is getting back home and realising you’ve spent most of your time overseas on the phone with your partner or mom, rather than soaking in the atmosphere on your trip and meeting the locals.
Pro-tip: Make sure you leave still having some wicked stories from your travels to tell everyone back home! I usually schedule phone calls with my parents once or twice a week just to catch up with them and see how they’re doing.
4) TAKE A BREAK FROM SOCIAL MEDIA
Spending time on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook could induce FOMO (fear of missing out) in you, so stay away from them. We’re pretty sure you didn’t go on a vacation abroad just to spend time glued on your phone catching up on your social media feed, so put the phone down and immerse yourself in the sights of that new destination.
During their journey Anywhr, our Travellrs Cherie and Theodora had a Getaway assuming everywhere they went would be a chance for another Instagram-worthy shot. To their surprise, their vacation was filled with not just picturesque sights, but also with activities that allowed them to truly live like a local.
Related Post: Destination X: On Ditching Hashtags For Real Experiences
5) PACK SOME HOME COMFORTS
Not bringing food from Singapore was one of my biggest regrets when travelling to the United States. I shrugged off the idea of bringing packets of chicken rice seasoning and Milo packets along with me because I thought I would be able to go through six months without it. But who knew I’d start missing it a week into my journey, and my excitement when I found tins of Milo in the Asian Supermarket.
As Singaporeans, we love the flavours of our local foods, and usually miss it when travelling for long periods of time. There’s nothing to feel guilty about wanting to indulge in these delicacies from home. Comfort food from home could be as simple as the cup noodles you’ve stashed in your luggage, or the convenient packets of seasoning to whip up for dishes wherever you are.
One of the best ways to overcome homesickness is to bring along something that reminds us of home — a soft toy, a picture of people you love back home, or even some local food. These will be able to cheer you up when that wave of missing home hits.
Be sure to pack some of these home comforts before jetting off on your next customised trip! Most grocery and convenience stores are just a stone’s throw away for many Singaporeans. Plus, with online grocery services today, you can get all your comfort food from the comfort of your home!
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With these tips and tricks, we’re sure this will help give you a much more enjoyable travel experience when travelling Anywhr, and help combat your down periods when homesickness hits.