Here is a gentle ease into what you might be feeling in the lead up to your expedition, what you may feel on the way or every now and then throughout your overseas journey. You may be able to relate, you may not, but have a read – and remember to every now and again take a deep breath.
‘We don’t call it homesick, we call it missing home. Venture outside your comfort zone, the rewards are worth it.’
What is homesickness?
At some point in your life, you will experience homesickness. It affects everyone and is nothing out of the ordinary. Whilst it’s not the nicest feeling in the world, being able to recognise and understand homesickness is key to being able to accept and deal with it, allowing you to move forward and enjoy your expedition.
What triggers it?
Since it affects everyone differently, it is hard to know what causes homesickness (aside from simply being away from home). However, research suggests a number of causes; from hearing a similar voice or accent of a loved one, being away from home during a celebratory time such as birthdays or even recognising a distinctive smell can remind you of home.
How will it affect me?
Homesickness can make you feel a bit odd. It may affect your concentration levels, your sleep or your willingness to be in social situations. If you are feeling a little homesick, take a step back and acknowledge your emotions. Take control of the situation by acknowledging how you are feeling, reminding yourself that it’s normal to be feeling this way and asking yourself if there is anything you can do to make yourself feel better.
It may be that you are tired and would benefit from an early night, that you’re experiencing ‘culture shock’ and need to discuss what you have seen with others in your group, or simply just need to chat to someone about that homemade lasagne you are missing. Sharing how you are feeling with others will take a weight off your mind, whether you talk to your friends, your teacher or your expedition leader, there’s no shame in confiding in others.
Points to consider…
Get your head back in the game.
Think positive thoughts and give yourself a talking to. You can do this, you’ve worked hard to fundraise to get where you are. Allow yourself to relax and get the most out of your expedition.
Remember you are not alone.
Even if it seems like everyone knows each other – this might not be the case. Even if they do know each other, there will still be moments when everyone misses home – take the chance and have a chat.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
For most people, going on an expedition is their first experience of being away from home for an extended period. It may also be for many the first time they encounter and deal with what is known as ‘culture shock’. When faced with new challenges it is important to keep yourself grounded. Remember that at some point everyone is likely to experience a wave of emotions; it’s how you deal with them that’s key.
All that fundraising, planning and saving has finally got you to this point; you’ve made it. One of the best pieces of advice we can give is ‘don’t regret the things you have done; regret the things you haven’t done’. You don’t want to look back on your expedition and wish you’d said this or wish you’d gotten more involved in that. Make sure you make the most of your expedition and make as many long lasting happy memories as possible..