No matter how far you’ve travelled, or for how long, there’s always something special about coming home. It might be your own comfy bed or your mum’s lasagne or walking round your local park that makes you feel so happy and comfortable there.
Homesickness is something almost everyone suffers from. It’s something you learn to deal with better as you grow older; from your first weekend away with school or a youth group, to a week-long holiday with friends, to moving out to university, it becomes ever easier. Although I’m used to travelling and living away from home, I always find I long to go home about a week before it’s time. It’s the anticipation … almost seeing your friends and family, almost smelling Dad’s apple crumble, almost feeling your own sheets.
Some tips to help with homesickness: concentrate on what you’re doing and where you are. Remember that you’ll probably arrive home and wish you were away again, doing what you are doing right now! Think about all the good differences from home: you might not be able get hold of (or afford) your favourite foods, but this will force you to try new cuisine or learn to cook new meals. Your new town may not be familiar, but perhaps it’s more beautiful, has more shops or is sunnier! And although you’ll miss friends and family, distance gives you the chance to appreciate the relationships you truly value.
We should spare a thought for those who don’t have a home to go back to. Homeless people spring to mind, for whom it is particularly difficult at this time of year on the bitterly cold streets. But also youngsters brought up in care, whose own parents were unable to raise them and who often have to move from place to place. They might lack the familiarity and constancy of a real home.
There’s also a new generation of 'children of the world'. With increased possibilities of travel and more people moving abroad, it’s easy to feel like you have many different homes, and leave friends, family and pieces of yourself all around the world. However, I think this is positive – although you can be left feeling thinly spread, with friends to miss everywhere and no real home, you lead an enriched life and you learn to value what, where and who really matters to you. And when the world is your oyster, you learn to make everywhere your home!
Have you ever felt homesick? Is it possible to call more than one place your home?