There’s a disease that follows adventures. It isn’t one we like to talk about directly either. Somehow, by admitting it, perhaps we are making ourselves look like bad global citizens or travelers. Because it is swept under the rug and forces each person to deal with it in silence instead of solidarity, we do not realize how often it occurs no matter if it is your first or your fiftieth trip.
I’m talking about homesickness. It’s a complicated issue that takes many, many forms and can look different for each person each time. Sometimes it shows up as feeling alone-even in a city of four million or more people and with good friends always down for a chat or an adventure. It can be anger at just about everything from the fact your roommate left you to take the trash out..again or at the city in general because why must everyone drive so absurdly? It can be tears, yelling, stomach aches, locking yourself in your room to watch Netflix, or spending more time facetiming home than experiencing the things around you.
As complex as it is- the things that solve it can be even more varied. For some it is a call home- a quick chat with your baby sister who wants to walk you around the house. Other solutions may be ice cream, a familiar homemade meal, getting out and about to remember why you chose to come to the city, a hardy laugh with your friends, or a journaling session. Some may need a day to reset by themselves; others may want to talk it out with friends.
For me, as I begin my third week in Puebla, it has taken most of the forms I have mentioned. It comes in waves. Sometimes it happens so strongly I feel it will consume me, other times it is a quick bite of pain. The most random things seem to bring it on: little girls in princess costumes that remind me of my sister, teenagers in a hoodie my brother owns, seeing the company my father works for pasted on the side of something in the supermarket, the hardest times are when nothing at all happens and it begins to sink in that I miss home.
I love it here. I do. But just as much as I love it, I miss home. That is okay. That is natural. I take it on, I allow myself to feel it and deal with it in whatever way I need to, and then I get back soaking in every minute of this experience that I will get to take back to my home. I will go home different that I came. Some day, not too long after I leave I assume, I will begin to feel a homesickness for this place too. It will be a temporary home, but I know it will be a home that deeply impacts my life.
There is no specific time you must be traveling to experience it. There is no way that it must manifest to be true homesickness. There is no one thing you must do to make yourself feel better. You are not weak for feeling it. It does not make you any less of an adventurer, because no matter how strong the wanderlust is, eventually you will feel the ache for familiarity. Embrace it, work through it, and venture on.