One of the things that unnerved me most before I moved over to Australia, was the sheer distance it would put between me and my family. Interlaced between sheer excitement, was the sinking realisation that I would be 10,000 miles away from my support system.
The first few months spent here were a bit of a whirlwind – I didn’t have the chance to feel homesick because I was too busy exploring the city and living off the adrenaline of the new experiences I was having. Inevitably though, as I started a job and routine kicked in, I noticed that bad days often escalated, because I was feeling homesick.
Being 30 years old, I was a little embarrassed to admit I was homesick. I’m a full grown adult, and adults aren’t really supposed to miss their mums and get sad because their friends back home are still having fun even though you’re not there. We’re supposed to make new friends and forge new lives. The truth is though, even in my 30s, I occasionally get homesick. Even if you live for new places and experiences, the lack of familiarity can be surprisingly jarring.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling a bit nostalgic, but longing for your old life is where things become problematic. Thankfully for me, my homesickness doesn’t stretch this far – I just miss the accessibility of my family – but I know there are lots of people that really struggle to appreciate what’s in the present because they’re too focused on what they left behind.
I speak to my parents at least once a week, sometimes more. I just like to talk to them, even when I don’t have anything much exciting to say. It’s so important for me to know what’s going on in their lives, and to share what’s going on in mine. It’s comforting to hear tales from home, and exciting to share the stories of my journey. Thankfully I’ve found the time zones pretty easy to navigate, and I can Skype, FaceTime or call from my mobile for free – so it’s not difficult provided you make that effort. I wasn’t able to bring much over to Australia with me, other than a suitcase of clothes – but I did bring lots of photos. I’ve stuck pictures of my family all over our fridge, and it’s nice to have these home comforts and reminders of them every day.
The beauty of moving somewhere new is the experiences you get to have and the memories you make. For me, Christmas this year is something I’m really excited about because it’s going to be totally new. I’ve never had a hot Christmas, and whilst I’m sure the day will be tinged with homesickness as I think of my family sitting together doing the Christmas traditions I’m so used to, I know that I’ll also be having an amazing day making new traditions. I want to bring one of my own family traditions to Christmas with my partners family – the perfect way to bring some familiarity, whilst still embracing and accepting change.
The more settled I become, the less homesick I am. I still miss my friends and family, that doesn’t go away, but that innate sense of longing comes over me only rarely now. If you’re feeling homesick, whether you’re a 24 hour flight away from your family, or a 20 minute drive – it’s not something to feel embarrassed about. At it’s core, we all crave a sense of security and it’s something we’ve always yearned to feel. Homesickness can be tough but understanding it goes a long way in overcoming it.