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A Low Point – Battling With Homesickness

by Meg · 11 comments


I’ve read about it, heard about it, and witnessed it.  But it never happened to me… Until yesterday.

What is “it?”


Many RTW travelers get it at some point on the road, but I never thought I would be a victim.

I grew up being a very independent “tough cookie” (as my dad always used to say).  In college I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain and never got the itch to return home….

So why would I get it now when travelling the world with my husband?

It has been 6 months since we left the states to travel the world, which is the longest amount of time I have ever spent away from home.   I considered that as the reason to why all of the sudden I became nostalgic, but I think my sadness had less to do with me being far from home (for an extended period of time) and more to do with a void missing in my new life as a nomad.

More than anything, I miss the connection I have with loved ones from home.

It all started yesterday when Tony and I got into a silly argument about something incredibly random (and probably too embarrassing to mention)… Trust me, when you are with your partner 24/7 travelling the world, these mini bicker fests happen A LOT.

But afterwards I needed to blow off some serious steam and found myself unable to do so.  I wanted to talk through it with someone other than Tony (whom I was currently mad at).

I had a burning desire to hang out with my girlfriends and sister from home.

Sure, I could of Skyped my mom or sister to chat, but what I longed for was an in-person interaction.

I have loved having Facebook, Skype, and Twitter available on the road to stay connected with friends and family from home, but what I miss is the ability to curl up and relax on the couch or go out to brunch with my girls and have honest conversations about our lives.

Every connection that I have had with friends and family back home since we left has been “catch-up” conversations discussing what each person has been up to in the past X weeks.  These conversations are lovely, but they really just scratch the surface.

So here I was in Berlin, 6 months into our trip, feeling lost and longing for my life back home.

I felt horrible when Tony was trying to cheer me up, because as much as he was trying to help, he was making the situation worse.  What started off as me just wanting space from Tony turned into me just going down an entire rabbit hole of “wants”.

I started to want and miss all the things I used to have back home:

Halloween back home with the best roomies in the world!

  • Living with two of my girlfriends, Jackie and Hilary, in our crap “character building” apartment in Boston and shamelessly watching Bachelorette on Mondays together after work
  • Weekly dinners out with my friend, Brit, where we would exchange funny stories about work and life as married women
  • The thrill of coming home to Miami on Friday nights after being on the road for work and jumping into Tony’s arms like a five year old after not seeing him all week

Unable to be consoled, I ended up going to bed last night utterly depressed and moody.

However, I came across a quote this morning when I was browsing through Pinterest (my guilty pleasure outlet!) that put everything into perspective:

(People) always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be. ~ Marcel Pagnol

This quote was spot on.

Whenever we have a bad day, we often think of the good ol’ days from the past and draw comparisons.  Last night when I was homesick and thinking about my life back home, I wanted to throw in the RTW towel and hop on a plane back to the US.  I was being completely irrational in my thought process.  I was only remembering my life back home when everything was peachy.

But what about the days when I was travelling for work Monday – Friday and miserable to be living out of a hotel and away from Tony?

What about the days when it was nearly impossible to coordinate a girls’ night out with my friends with all of our busy schedules?

What about the days when I wanted to hang out with my sister before realizing that she lived across the country from me?  I probably have just as good of a chance seeing her now as I did when I was back home!

Sisterly love!

Once I put everything into this context, I felt much better about my situation.  I agree, it was a low point of mine on our trip that I am not proud of… After all, we are having the adventure of a lifetime and I am so grateful to be travelling the world with my best friend!

But I think it is important to not beat myself up over feeling this way.  Not every day on the road is all glitz and glamour and it is completely natural to feel nostalgic about home every now and then.  It happens to the best of us… At least that is what I am telling myself!

Your turn: Have you ever been homesick on the road?  What got you through your “low point”?  Any stories and tips would be greatly appreciated in the comments section below!

About Meg
Exhausted from traveling every week as a Business Management Consultant early in my career, I took a year off in 2012 to travel at my own pace. I am a high-energy girl that loves being active, eating food, drinking wine, and exploring the world with my partner-in-crime (and husband), Tony! I now reside in Portland, Oregon and continue to write about travel, food, wine, and the awesome adventures we have in the Pacific NW!

Barb July 12, 2012 at 12:05 am

Don’t forget how long you dreamed about, planned, and saved for your amazing RTW trip. Accept that you will get homesick from time to time. Reflect on all of your experiences (including FOOD), ventures, and new friends you’ve made thus far. And there’s more great things (including FOOD) to look forward to in the months ahead. Soak it all up!

Meg July 12, 2012 at 4:53 am

Thanks Barb and all great points made. It was just a bad day but I am feeling mucho better now!

Tina July 12, 2012 at 7:02 am

Aw, Meg. I feel for you. I think you need another America F*ck Yeah Day– where at least you can eat some comfort foods from home all day. For me, a care package from Dad always helped or a visit from a girlfriend. Not totally in your control– but maybe something to savor when it happens?

Meg July 12, 2012 at 7:20 am

Thanks Tina. Another American Day is definitely in order… Although, I did already cave on a delicious burger for July 4th! Care packages were the best growing up! I remember my mom would send me her world famous chocolate chip cookies when I was at sleep away camp. I became popular with the other kids very fast! And yes, visits from friends are also helpful. You and Stephen will just have to meet up with us in Asia 😉

Kipp July 12, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Meg, this was a pretty good attempt to get me to cave in and book tickets to come meet up with you guys – I’ll give you that. However I still can’t afford it. Maybe if Tony writes an equally humbling article…

I am going through a little of the same being away from home and mine will be for 2 years with some return trips of course, but the important thing to remember is that it is TEMPORARY! For you, a year is so short in the grand scheme of things that you’re not missing much at all. You’ll pick up right where you left off when you get back. I think people will appreciate you even more now that you’ve been gone. Not me personally, but other people. But that’s only because I already appreciated you so much.

Meg July 13, 2012 at 6:05 am

hahah aww man! A Klydia visit would cure all my woes!

Very good points. And now that you are in Chicago, we obviously are not missing anything from back home! Tony and I are hitting up the West Coast at the end of our trip and will then be making our way back to Boston… I am thinking we should plan a stop Chicago on the way back for a grand reunion!

I appreciate you too Kipp. I appreciate you too :-p

Ali July 14, 2012 at 10:11 am

I’m living in Freiburg, Germany now (about as far away from Berlin as you can get and still be in Germany) and I definitely have those homesick days. Email, Facebook, Skype, etc. don’t even begin to compare with just being able to hang out with a friend. Even my friends who live in Vegas and Seattle (I lived in Atlanta) were easier to keep in touch with since it was only a 3 hour time difference instead of 9. I’ve been gone for a year, and it’s getting easier, but I definitely still have days where the tiniest little thing sets me off and makes me want to be back in the US. But it all gets easier with time.

Meg July 14, 2012 at 10:52 am

Thanks Ali for commenting… It’s always good to know you are not the only traveler that gets nostalgic. I always feel a sense of guilt about missing my home luxuries when I am lucky enough to be traveling the world… But I can’t help it sometimes! Today, I am feeling much better, as Tony and I went to a brunch place in Berlin that had an all American breakfast menu… Eggs and pancakes were the perfect medicine! :-)

Vicky August 21, 2012 at 9:56 am

Definitely worried about getting homesick when we start our travels. The longest I’ve traveled for before was 4 months during a study abroad program in Spain and there I made plenty of new friends and loved my host family so it’s definitely not the same as long term travel and spending 24/7 with one person. I can only imagine the mini-arguments and bickering that Dave and I will get into and I’m sure it will be difficult to be separated from family and friends for so long. Right now we are so excited for our trip and have been so busy the reality of leaving friends/family for 2 years hasn’t really set it, but I’m sure once we’re on the road and feeling nostalgic it will. Love the quote in this post – that spells life out perfectly.

Meg August 21, 2012 at 10:01 pm

I studied in Spain too (Barcelona) in 2005! The first few months of our RTW trip were such a whirlwind that I never once got homesick, but once we started slowing down our travels and the adrenaline wore off, I definitely got nostalgic every now and then. And yes, traveling with someone 24/7 can be tough at times but Tony and I have become so much stronger as a couple and its quite entertaining to learn about each others quirks when you are in each others faces all the time – Through the bickering, we have had a blast!

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