I am not quite sure if you can brag about not feeling the urge to return home, because of the everlasting feeling of missing it. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my „home“, but I don’t consider it four walls with a ceiling, it is more so a feeling of togetherness. When I am in the midst of my family and friends I feel more comfortable than anywhere else. It took me a while to figure out what home meant to me, but the second I did, I broke free from these manacles and started a travel that would never end.
About three months into my year abroad I started to feel sick. Not in a „I have a cold and a runny nose“ kind of way, I just felt lonely. Which was odd, since I had so many people around me. People who support me, value me and just treat me like one of theirs. After looking up the symptoms for depression, I came to the conclusion that it had to be something along those lines, yet I wasn’t truly convinced that it would happen this sudden. And anyway, I felt perfectly fine going to school and spending time with my family. I wasn’t dreading going places, I wasn’t lacking motivation to do things, I just felt lonely doing them.
Long story short, I found out that I was homesick, not dying of some mysterious disease, which then lead me to being frustrated with myself. I was angry because I didn’t know how to get rid of it. As mentioned in one of my previous articles (btw. check them out you won’t regret it) there is no handbook to the whole ’being an exchange student’ thing. But guess what? You can come over it, and while this may sound like it took me a month to get back on track, the whole scenario happened within a week. Gladly I was able to talk to my host family about my struggles and what I’ve been going through. The „cure“ to the problem is keeping yourself busy. By that I don’t mean keeping up with the Kardashians life better than with your own, just entertaining yourself. I started scrapbooking and talked to my host-family a lot, to feel more involved. It is an option to talk to your natural family and friends back home but in my eyes that would just make the feeling of not belonging here even more „visible“. I guess it depends on how you prefer to deal with things as such, and how you like to approach things.
To quote my favorite speech from Marina Keegan: „We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life…It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team.“
Home is a place where you feel safe, valued and happy with yourself. It may be included in the process of travelling and not stopping until you find what you are looking for. May your heart be bold and your mind brazen because at the end of the day you are a part of „home“.