I dance the night away with friends, I smile with tears forming in the creases of my eyes, both bliss in feeling free but sadness in the knowledge that this moment, along with many more, is fleeting. I capture these moments with my lens but also as screenshots of my mind. It is night time on top of a mountain in Italy and the wine is flowing freely, we are freshly filled up with pasta and my closest friends surround me to celebrate their wedding night.
The next day I am in Florence, making my way to a farm that I will call my home for three weeks and in complete contrast I know no one. I am throwing myself into the unknown once again with my security blanket of familiar faces catching flights to other countries. Greeted by my new “housemates” I feel awkward; they don’t quite understand my blended accent (which depending on who you talk to ranges from “very British” through to Californian, Australian and South African) and I miss the ease of conversation that comes with reuniting with your nearest and dearest.
It is the first time I feel ‘home sick’ and to my surprise it isn’t for my home place of England. Instead, I spend my time scrolling through images of Norway, wondering how I can miss the dark winter when the Tuscan sun is warming my skin. To me it doesn’t make sense, it is a new feeling and instead of finding a way to cure it, I roll into a ball on my mosquito net covered bed, to write messages to those I miss, to loiter on friends feeds and to delve into the lives of people miles away. Unsurprisingly it doesn’t make me feel better, and I start researching cures for home sickness that will have me more grounded in the present moment.
I want to fully appreciate where I am, the opportunities I am grateful to experience and feel the freedom in the choice I have made to wander the world. Here is what I learnt and what I hope can help you if you ever feel yourself yearning for a place that isn’t your current “home”:
No matter how cliche it may sound, I have found a lot of strength in the recognition that ‘home’ is not a single location, but a feeling inside. I both metaphorically and quite literally (in the form of my belongings) carry my home with me and it is rare for me to feel alone. When you become more acquainted with travelling you learn to depend on yourself entirely and learn the pleasure of your own company. Sometimes all it takes is time. It will pass and you will become stronger, learn more about yourself and needs.
With me, I carry a set of photos, postcards and photo-booth strips to remind me of moments of joy, people who love me and the places I have seen. For you it might be souvenir of where you have been, a photo of family at home or a special tea from your travels that you can brew, take a pause and sit with your hands around a steaming cup.
To embrace the present moment in Italy I threw myself into the culture and I took myself to the kitchen. While cooking with Italian herbs, tasting the freshness of vegetables from the garden and providing hot dishes for the people around me I felt a greater sense of belonging. I could appreciate the opportunity that living in Italy provided. If you are missing another place, direct your attention to what your current location is known for. Throw yourself into the cuisine, the art scene, the luscious nature that surrounds you. Jump on the back of a scooter, take a walk amongst the chaos of the market place, listen to the melody of an unfamiliar language.
We have busy work schedules, and are over whelmed by modern devices, sometimes all we need is to breath. Reconnecting with nature is so simple, but something I know that both myself and many others are quick to forget. Talking a walk in fresh air not only releases stress but it also brings awareness to everything around us in that moment. When I take the time to surround myself in nature, my mind feels clearer, ideas start rolling in and I feel the greatest moments of bliss.
If you are currently in the throws of ‘home sickness’ know that it will get better, as with all feelings they will pass. I have been there, survived and still have wanderlust to explore more. You may be travelling right now or you may feel like your not present in your every day life; I hope these tips help you to feel more grounded no matter where you are.