Six steps on how to recover from being homesick when traveling full time.

Traveling isn’t always glamorous and can get a little redundant just like normal life in a house.

Traveling isn’t also a quick fix to the issues you experience internally (for ex. anxiety or depression). There is an adjustment period when traveling that most people don’t discuss, but sometimes the feeling of being homesick creeps in and you want to go back to a familiar place. 

Beginning stage: Prepare for your journey by researching the culture.

Ensure you are ready for your journey and new environment because it will take some getting used to. You can never fully be ready for the unknown but leave some room mentally that things may not look or feel the way you imagined it in your head.

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Initial happiness: In the beginning, you will feel pure bliss from traveling and seeing new places.

Just know the blissful feeling will wear off. Once it wears off you need to remind yourself why you are living the lifestyle and try to do some new things to mix it up. You may even need to touch ground in your home base to reconnect with some family and friends and that is ok. (using Skype or a digital means to talk to a familiar face is also a useful tool)

Frustration: If and when the blissful feeling wears off you will get annoyed by your new living arrangement.

Everything is different and unfamiliar, so you will need to check in with yourself or a close friend to stay connected to the reason you are traveling. There may be some stores that aren’t easily available such as Walmart or Chipotle. You may not be able to run to the store to get a hair product like you would at home and feel that you just want to be done with the new place you are visiting. These feelings are completely normal and please hang in there it will get better.

Adjustment: You get used to the new customs and culture of your new home.

You find it less of a challenge to adjust to the new environment around you and start to settle in. At this point, you may want to find a part time job or a community event to meet the locals. Find a comfortable routine that works with your schedule. After some time you should begin to feel like you are adjusting well with the new culture.

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Adaptation: Troubles don’t last always.

Once you begin feeling comfortable with the culture, you will start to feel a sense of biculturalism, where you identify and even like the new culture you are experiencing. Everything that was once foreign and odd to you now feels comfortable and normal. You may even meet a few friends to include in your site seeing. A suggestion would be  to learn the native language or try some different foods in your area.

Re-entry: Going home.

When you leave this foreign culture to return home, you may find that you go through these stages all over again. It is no place like home. Having a homestead or home base is a essential part of traveling and takes the ease off of feeling homesick. It also gives the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. This is normal and healthy way to enjoy life on the road.

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Living for the weekend.

Many folks think it is impossible to retire and travel the world with children on a fixed income.

I also thought so too. When we decided to retire and travel we happily delivered the news to several of our friends, family, and co-workers. Some not all responded with what are we going to do? The answer to that was to slow down and live rather than exist. I’m sure some found it hard to believe and responded that we would be back due to boredom or cut traveling short due to wanting stability.  Society has us brainwashed to think that there is really only one way to live as a family and that the only way to live appropriately to gain societal acceptance as a family is in a big house, working nine to five, and inserting their children in daycare or school to be raised as good normal working people of society. These are all legitimate ways to live, but have you ever taken the time to stop and think if living the nine to five life, working until your sixty seven, living in the same house, and deciding to retire and travel at nearly seventy once the kids are all grown up is the life you want or the life you think everyone wants for you?

I can only speak from my experience when I say we never really fit in the societal acceptance standard of living. I found it to be quite boring, monotonous, unsatisfactory, and non-adventourus.  We worked really hard in the corporate world. We went to work everyday after dropping our children off at daycare or school and convinced ourselves one day we would be rich from working for someone else. My husband was a network engineer and I a project manager.  We lived on and for the weekends and holiday’s to take short trips as a family to experience life and take time off from our busy lives, but it never felt like enough time off before we were tossed back in to the work grind. We would pray that neither child got sick because one of us would have to take off work and that was usually an issue, because we had to work from home while keeping the sick child quiet and providing care to get them back to health so we can presume with taking them to daycare; respecting the 24 hour grace period. Our mornings started off at 5 am and ended at 6 pm.

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This is what we believed success looked like, so we didn’t complain but worked harder.

As time went on I became less and less happy with our lifestyle. I felt like I wasn’t able to spend as much time with the children as I wanted to and felt a bit lost. All the things and money just wasn’t adding up to the experience of our day to day and right before I decided to jump off the corporate ladder and suburb train I was miserable. On the outside you look great on paper to other folks, but deep inside I knew I desperately needed to make a positive change to impact my life in a way that I was happy, having organic experiences, making an income, and enjoying my family simultaneously. That works for me it doesn’t work for everyone, but to keep my sanity I needed to do it. Living small has been the most rewarding and freeing feeling for us. We spend more time outdoors and less time inside watching our gigantic seventy two inch television. My anxiety has lessen and I feel more relaxed.

We are a month into traveling and I’m convinced I don’t want to go back to the life I just described. Maybe I’ll change my mind, but one thing I didn’t realize is how unhappy I was living the monotonous routine of going to work and coming home. I believe if you are unhappy with your life you have the right to make a change. You don’t have to put on the face for the outsiders, but stick to what makes you and your family happy. Traveling full time isn’t for everyone, but find something that you can do that will allow you to live more versus existing in the day to day whirlwind of work and living for the weekends.

 

Corporate America made me Travel.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to win and lose at the same time?

I previoulsy worked for a company that is a major defense contractor for the government. It is a white male dominating bureaucratic and political aeronautics industry. I never thought in a million years I would get the opportunity to work for a company with such a rich and prestige history, but there I was excelling and performing like I belonged. The truth of the matter is I didn’t really belong and it would take me a while to learn that before choosing to leave.

When I was originally hired I was responsible for two major areas. One regarding food and the other fitness. There wasn’t any structure that existed prior to me starting so I built my own structure to manage my daily functions and responsibilities. In the beginning it was slow, but it allowed me the opportunity to learn the ropes and build relationships. As time went on I began to prove myself, and more responsibilities fell in my lap. I was ok with this because I saw it as growing opportunities, and I was looking for more of a leadership role within the organization. I slowly began to learn that there were some minor roadblocks simply because I was a black female in this industry.

One when I sat in meetings I was the only brown face in the meeting majority of the time.

I was used to that sort of thing working in Corporate America, but what I wasn’t used to is not being acknowledged or not getting a handshake from white men in the room. Secondly I learned that black or brown people were mainly in janitorial or in the food services area of the organization. There were very few brown people in leadership and if they were in leadership they weren’t women. Third, I would slowly realize that the culture of the organization had existing issues with discrimination and it was a common fact amongst the brown and black people working for the company –there was nothing anyone can do about it, basically get your money, go home, and be black.

I assisted a white male who at the time was my manager. Before him it was a white woman who managed me, but soon retired. She trained him to run the department before she left and he took over. I fell into the picture because I assisted him in running a fraction of the department. For some reason he saw me as competition and limited my knowledge on many things pertaining to the department. He was very unhappy with his job and soon looked for another leaving me in the dark about his intentions. He announced to the department that he was leaving after a year and a half in the position and provided me a week crash course on how to run the department until a replacement manager was selected.

With limited knowledge on how to manage I ran the department successfully for three months independently.

I applied for the position as well while I was managing the department thinking it would be a perfect fit. After three months, I learned that I didn’t get the position. When I asked why I was told that I wasn’t assertive enough or outgoing. I wasn’t the loudest person in the room and they were looking for someone that had the personality traits of the last manager. I was stunned and confused by this feedback because it was based on personality and not skill. The job was ninety percent skill and skill wasn’t even considered. I was told that my expectation was to train the new manager and bring him up to speed. I came to the conclusion that the reason they could afford to hire someone based on personality because I provided the skill. How was this fair? The candidate that was selected was described as such, he was a represented employee, Associate degree, and a electrician. I looked him up and turns out he was a white male. I had a Bachelor’s degree, was a salary employee, and had more experience.

So again I ask did you ever have the feeling of winning and losing at the same time? How is it that I exceeded all my expectations on my annual review and not deserve a promotion? How can I lead a department independently and still not measure up to a worthy candidate? Many would accept this and think they had a chance, but I knew I wouldn’t simply because there was no evidence of a black woman leading in this organization successfully. I’m not a person that will just accept anything because I should be happy that I’m in the door. I will create my own door and win not based on the color of my skin but the depth of my character. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.