One thing that does occupy a fair bit of my time is keeping in touch with home. Made easier by the sheer number of communication methods available to me, made harder by the time difference. I’m known as the person who leaves dinner first because I’ve arranged to FaceTime someone, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
I made the decision before I even left for Australia that I wouldn’t return home over the course of the year. I figured that if it was going to be costing me thousands to buy a return flight, I may as well spend that money travelling around this part of the world, which is exactly what I am doing. Admittedly, that decision was made slightly easier by the fact my family are coming over for Christmas and New Year, but I’ll still be going a year without seeing my friends and boyfriend, which is a very long time.
FaceTime/Skype are an absolute god send when it comes to keeping in touch. If they kept a tally of hours spent on FaceTime, mine would probably be well into triple figures by now. I can’t quite imagine what it must have been like before FaceTime when you wouldn’t be able to see someone, unless they sent an actual photo. I don’t really watch a huge amount of television here at all – most of my evenings are spent on FaceTime instead as this is the best time to call home.
Most of keeping in touch with people is done on social media, although I tend to use that more as a way of seeing what other people are up to. Every morning I have acres of Facebook news feed to scroll through because whilst I’m asleep, everyone at home is awake. Sometimes seeing people post photos of Leicester, or getting snapchats of people on a night out makes me miss the place, but I know I’ll be back next year and ready to spend a night belting out pop tunes at Lets Disko.
My favourite thing, though, is letters. There is absolutely nothing better than getting a letter that you know someone has taken the time to write, take to the post office to send, and that has then spent two weeks navigating the globe to get to you. Every time I get something addressed to me that says ‘Sydney, Australia’ on the envelope, it really hits me that I’m actually living in Australia. Also the funky stamps you get are pretty cool. My birthday was pretty awesome because I had a near constant stream of cards and a couple of parcels arriving for the week before (although I did have to exercise some serious will power and not open them).
So, if you’re going on a year abroad and are worried about missing home, there are so many ways of keeping in touch that it can help you miss it less. I won’t say there won’t be days when you don’t miss home (because that would be lying) but it certainly helps you to close the distance and not feel completely separated. If you know someone on a year abroad, maybe take the time to write them a letter and send it. You’ll make their day (maybe even their week) and you might even get one back (funky stamp and all).