I’m back from my travels which is simultaneously a reason to celebrate and a reason to be sad. I’m happy because I no longer have to live out of a bag, I will be spending more than five nights in one place, and I can sleep again (oh my days, I have lost out on a lot of sleep over the last 11 weeks). But it’s also a shame because I’ll miss the road – the really cool places I’ve seen (New Zealand, you are next level beautiful), the people who’ve accompanied me along the way (whether it be for a few days sharing a hostel room, or four weeks travelling around NZ together), and the adventure and spontaneity that characterises every day when you’re in a new place.
So it’s fair to say I’ve got the post-travel blues, which kind of feels ridiculous to say considering that I’m still in Sydney, so things could be worse. The reality of a year abroad is that things aren’t always amazing-hunky-dory-having-the-time-of-your-life great all the time, and sometimes the source of being down can come from surprising places. I didn’t think ending my summer travels would put me in a bit of a fog, but it is what it is and so I’ve had to come up with things to help me readjust back to university life. It’s a little harder when you’re thousands of miles from home but that’s just one of the many challenges of doing time abroad. So this is what I’m doing at the moment to try to get me back on my merry way and ready for the last four months of my time here. And some of this is applicable to other situations when you’re missing home/stressed by your workload/questioning why you’re where you find yourself.
- Remember why you’re where you are – yes, I miss my travels and at the moment they seem like a better alternative to being in Sydney. But seven months ago I was so so excited about moving out here, and so I’m tapping into that again. I wrote myself a year abroad bucket list and there’s still a lot of progress I need to do. So now I’m looking into what I’m yet to do, planning a time to do it, and looking forward to that. And I’m also going to revisit all those things that I love about Sydney – I’m hitting up that harbour side tomorrow. This is the same thing I do when I’m missing home and it works for me then, so hopefully it’ll work for me now.
- Throw yourself into what you can – it’s a new semester and 150 new students have just moved into college. So I’ve got to get on with meeting new people and making new friends. And the great thing is that introductions often involve a ‘what have you been up to’ so I get to spend a few sentences mentioning my travels (but don’t worry, I’m not one of those people). Also a new semester involves a lot of organisation – making sure I’m fully enrolled, checking where classes are, looking at when deadlines are so they don’t hit me by surprise. Again, if you’re missing home this can be a really good way to distract yourself from homesickness.
- Do something you can’t do on the road – exercise was hard when I was on the go. I did my best (hiked a few mountains, did a cycle ride, did some kayaking) but the truth is I’m not as fit as I was so I’m going to get back to that gym in the next couple of days and start training. It’ll take up some time, it’s good for me, and I’m looking forward to it. In the long run it’ll also help me to relieve stress which can only be good.
- Indulge yourself every so often – I’ll be printing off my photos, putting up my souvenirs, and going on to my family for weeks about my travels (I think my boyfriend is already sick of hearing about how much I loved New Zealand). And that’s cool, because even though it makes me miss it I also love reminiscing about it all. And if it’s homesickness you’re suffering from, it’s okay to do the same – look at photos from home, tell your friends and family how you’re feeling, and plan in minute detail every meal you’ll be eating when you get home.
Admittedly what works for me might not work for you if you find yourself in a similar situation. But no matter what gets you feeling down during your year abroad (and I can pretty much guarantee that something will because such is life) there is a way out the other side, you’ve just got to find it. So I’m off to upload all my photos onto my computer and do some serious browsing/reminiscing.