How To Battle Homesickness Abroad

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Hi lovies!

Happy Friday! I’m currently on my way to Salamanca for the weekend, but I wanted to share this blog post (side note: follow my Instagram or Twitter (both @wanderlustkait) for updates during my Salamanca trip! I always post pictures while I’m traveling!). So I wrote a post a few months ago about The Spain Struggle and cultural adaptation, so this is kind of Part II in the series. Now that I’ve had my fair share of culture adaptation and homesickness, I think I’ve finally figured out the key to beating it. I’m going to be completely honest when I say coming back to Spain after spending the holidays in the USA was harder than the first time I left. The travel itself was easier because I knew what to expect when I got here, but leaving my family, friends and Ohio was just a lot harder the second time around. Now I’ve been back for about a month and a half and while it might be that I have readjusted to the culture, I think there is one thing I’m doing a lot different than when I arrived in Spain in September that is making all the difference.

Instead of missing things about home, I am making Bilbao my home.

It’s as simple as that. Instead of missing everything about the USA, I am embracing more things about Spain. I also am beginning to realize that a lot of the things I was missing, I just needed to look a little harder for. For example, my little sister, Emily. It turns out she was living a few pisos down and I just wasn’t looking hard enough. JUST KIDDING. But little things like peanut butter, a yoga mat, a cafe that has to-go soy lattes, indulging in watching #TheBachelor, etc (so many #whitegirlproblems necessities). So if you’re abroad, lonely, homesick and reading this, here’s some simple instructions to get you started. First, leave you house. Go out and get something that reminds you of home. Anything. A book, music, a coffee, a candle, a food. Second, start building your own home in your current city. For me, investing in things that make me feel more at home, are actually turning Bilbao into more of a home for me. And lately, despite all the rain, Bilbao has been growing on me (I can’t believe I just said that!).

I think it’s important for people to remember that when you move abroad, you don’t have to lose yourself. I know all those pinterest quotes are like “LEAVE YOUR IDENTITY BEHIND AND JUST LOSE YOURSELF IN THE TREES AND GRASS OF EVERY CONTINENT AND BECOME ONE WITH THE WIND AND NEVER LOOK BACK” or something, but in all honestly, I think that’s far from the truth (And yes, I’ve probably pinned every single one of those quotes, in case you were wondering). I think the key to battling homesickness is bringing elements of home to you. And I’ve found, the more home I bring to me, the less I feel like I need it, and the more I can truly embrace living in Spain. 

**Note: A close second for the key to battling homesickness was giving someone a hug. Not even kidding. Hug it out. It helps. 

**

Have you ever been homesick while being abroad (or just away from home)? What do you think helps battle homesickness the most? 

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2 thoughts on “How To Battle Homesickness Abroad

  1. Hahahah I love your “Pinterest” quote. So accurate. Glad to hear you’re feeling more at home! I agree with all your tips, especially the comfort coffee.

    I had kind of a similar experience after returning from Christmas in the States. Before I went home, I was feeling really burned out from long hours at school and long hours at my private lessons + not really enjoying my work at all. When I got back to Madrid, though, I suddenly had this new attitude toward living in Spain. It’s not that I didn’t like living here before, but now I’m able to look at every day with more excitement about what I might do or what I might see. I started going to the gym, I moved to a new, brighter room when one of our housemates left, I stopped caring so much about saving money and started booking more trips.

    Maybe it had something to do with the beautiful Madrid weather (55 degrees compared to the -40 Polar Vortex in Minnesota), but I think it finally dawned on me how limited my time here is. I’m lucky to be living in Spain and I should be making the most of it. It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane, my-classes-are-a-behavioral-nightmare of the everyday, but it’s worth it to stop once in awhile and remember why you’re here. I think that’s one of the best cures for homesickness out there.

    • Yes!!! I totally agree. While being at home made me homesick for a little, when I take a step back and realize that I’m actually living in Spain, I LOVE IT! And I totally agree about the weather. I don’t think Ohio is as cold as Minnesota, but having a winter without snow and 55-65 degree days has been really, really nice. Now that I’m back in Spain and loving it again, thinking about going back to the states is less and less on my mind, and extending my time here is becoming a real possibility! It’s funny how quickly things change.

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