One thing I’ve learnt from travelling is that the UK will always be my home. The place I grew up in will always be the place I call home. When I am travelling though, a lot of people ask me, mainly because I’ve been away from home a lot, ‘Do you ever get homesick?’, or ‘Don’t you miss home?’ I even had a fellow traveller ask me, one month into his 15 month RTW trip, how long it took me to get homesick when I was in Australia.
The definition of homesick, according to dictionary.cambridge.org, is ‘unhappy because of being away from home for a long period’.
My answer to these questions:
When I lived in Spain, I was younger and I had a lot of fun. I went out a lot and I had a lot of friends. I went home for two weeks during the Christmas holidays, so I wasn’t really away from my family for too long. My next stint, six months in Germany, was a blast too. After a month of loneliness (and a lot of Starbucks’) because lectures hadn’t started, I soon made friends and continued to enjoy the next five months. I had a constant stream of visitors, friends, parents, sisters, sisters’ friends. It was quite nice showing everyone around the town I lived in. When lectures finished, me and my friends didn’t want to go home, so we stayed an extra six weeks until the contract was up on our student accommodation (and to make extra sure that we learned as much German as possible).
When I was in Australia, I experienced homesickness for the first ever. After three months of being away, I almost came home. I wanted to see my parents so much. I needed a big hug from them and my sisters. After agonising over whether to go home or to stay, I finally decided to stay in Australia at least until the UK summer. I did make a phone call home that lasted about five minutes and costed me 20GBP. It was worth every penny, as was the rest of the money I spent on phone calls to my parents and sisters in the week following. Speaking to them made me feel slightly better, and after a few weeks I was fine, and continued to enjoy myself in Australia. I probably couldn’t have stayed without the love and support of my family and friends at home, and my friends in Australia. I am glad I did stay as I wouldn’t have experienced all the things I did. When I finally booked my flight home I was very excited. I was even more excited when I landed in the UK and saw my parents and older sister waiting for me in the airport.
It made me realise that I wouldn’t be able to live that far away from home for so long, and go that long without seeing my family.
Being in South America now, I am fine. This is my first extended trip abroad where I have actually booked a return ticket home, and knowing the date I’m going home is quite nice. It is making my time here go too quickly, and making me think maybe I should have booked an open return so I can be free to explore longer. I do think three months is an adequate length of time to be away from home and not be homesick. I do love my family and friends, and I do miss them a lot, but it won’t make me want to stop travelling and go home and see them, or never travel again. I speak to my family regularly, and even though it costs me money, I text my mum from time to time too, just so she knows I’m doing ok!
I now have just under a month left in this continent, and I know when I go home I’ll be ready to return. Although I will probably be planning my next adventure straight away!