You know you’ve got some soul searching to do when your soundtrack turns from Eye of a Tiger (for those of a different generation please Google Rocky III) and turns into ‘All by Myself‘. This stage is a little worrying for most adventurers as you went from feeling euphoric to feeling like an absolute poo-brush. My thoughts when this happened overnight were: what just happened!? I went from feeling like a rockstar to being a softy that missed her mums cooking.
Not at all what I imagined traveling to be like! Super-sad-times! The reason for this, a lot of people underestimate how much energy traveling costs or that in fact a new country is not only exciting but a little scary sometimes too. Are you wondering why no one ever posts that on Facebook? Me too. Facebook is for great #havinganawesometime!!! pictures, not for honesty about ones shitty and alone feelings when one is abroad. In fact, there is a whole history of home sickness!
The reason you feel like this is that you’re in fact adjusting to your new environment and that takes a little more than buying a plane ticket.
Culture shock is NO need to panic this is completely normal and you’re doing very well!
Here is a little quick pic for those adverse from words and keen on pictures (I count myself to be this type of person – it’s totes ok!)
How do you get from ‘ Feeling unhappy’ and staring at ones own genitals apparently – that’s what unhappy people do according to this picture – to the adjusting or the I feel great phase!??
The answer is force yourself to play the Eye of a Tiger Song like before even if you feel more like curling up like a little ball and cry!!
Stuff you think when you’re in culture shock or if you are feeling homesick
- Why are they eating like that? Eww!
- Where in gods name is the train station?
- How can I ask for the way if I do not speak the language?
- What have I done coming here by myself? I can’t do this!!!
- Any other variation….(something that is upsetting to you right now)
No need to panic or to call mum just yet! Just follow these simple steps to feel good again and give them plenty of time to work! Yes, this means staying a little bit by yourself but trust me you GROW and GROW going through this phase.
STEP 1 – Kick yourself in the butt and get out of your room/house/flat!!
- Go for a walk to somewhere new, maybe a place you haven’t been before and give yourself an assignment. For example, I will make the most awesome status update on this beautiful place and think of a kick-ass headline to go with it. Why? Sharing it with people back homes feels good.
- Exercise, even if you do not feel comfortable yet going out for a run – push yourself. You will get nice endorphines (the hormone that makes you happy) and you get energy.
- More cool tips of what to do if you feel a little lost
STEP 2 – You want to Skype, Whats-app, Call, E-mail every 2 minutes because that will help you feel less alone
No it won’t, it will make you feel the physical distance even more between you and your family and friends as you can see them but they can’t give you a hug. Try and keep all your socials to once a day or twice if you really need it and force yourself to go out and explore your new city!
STEP 3 – Hey! I did it!
Focus on what you achieved already, you planned your trip, you had the balls to take the journey, you talked to that random new person you met and you found the supermarket (or at least dared to ask someone where it was!), you found a place to stay etc. YOU did all that! Not your mum, not your dad and not your boy or girlfriend but you and without anyone’s help. You are absolutely AWESOME!!
You are strong and competent and the best to way to highlight this is by keeping a little ‘I am awesome journal’ . In this journal you write all your accomplishments for each and every day. Write for 5 minutes each night and look back on your day and be proud of yourself.
STEP 4 – Watch the video! You are not really alone and there is a way out of it. (maybe skip video to a 1.30 min for best stuff!)
Here is a great video of a girl who shares your pain and explains what she did to overcome it! She has some great tips and explains the emotions you go through well so you learn how to understand yourself and have some empathy for yourself!
You’re going to be fine and you’re awesome!