Are you planning a long camping trip across the country? If so, you might make reservations and do your research on places to visit. Maybe you’ll check out top local restaurants and search for museums.
You might make numerous trips to Camping World to stock up on supplies and gear. But have you considered how you’ll deal with feeling homesick?
It happens to almost everyone who leaves home for an extended time. Recognizing your symptoms and having a plan can help you cope and prepare for your next camping trip. Many face this challenge whether they go on a long or short trip. And that’s ok! Let’s learn more about homesickness while camping.
Why Do People Get Homesick?
When you enter a new environment, it’s natural to long for the familiar. This is when homesickness occurs. You yearn for something comfortable like your bed or a friend. It might even be familiar locations like your favorite grocery store, the local library, or a greenway you walked twice a week.
Sometimes you may experience anxiety associated with a new environment. When people start to feel overwhelmed, they long for consistency or stability. So removing yourself from an attachment or something familiar can cause homesickness.
What Does It Mean if You Get Homesick Easily?
Usually, people who get homesick frequently have more attachment to their things and relationships. This isn’t bad. You simply miss a strong bond. Getting homesick easily could also indicate that you haven’t put yourself in many unfamiliar situations.
For example, a high school graduate who goes off to college and has never stayed a night away from home will probably struggle more with homesickness than a fellow student who spent summers away at camp.
If you go camping for the first time and experience homesickness, it’s completely normal. As you continue to go away for days, weeks, or months, the homesickness may start to subside. You also learn ways to deal with those longings for the familiar the more you’re away from your usual environment. You can develop positive coping mechanisms and learn to recognize any downward spiraling of your emotions earlier.
Is Homesickness Normal?
Mild homesickness is very normal. In fact, it’s to be expected for most campers. You may miss your comfortable bed, huge refrigerator, and storage closets and drawers. It’s normal to long for the amenities of home.
But it’s also normal to long for friends and family. Missing the relationships back home is one of the struggles many full-time travelers face. Many have difficulty making friends while traveling, especially if you move frequently.
Kids want their friends back home. Grandparents miss their grandchildren. Apart from missing people, you may simply miss your favorite coffee shop or the view from your front porch. So it’s completely normal to experience homesickness on the road.
Pro Tip: If you’re feeling homesick and have decided RV life isn’t for you, use these tips on How to Quit RVing (Without the Pain).
What Are Symptoms of Being Homesick?
Some mild symptoms include dealing with a couple of sleepless nights or wanting to call and talk to your best friend. But if symptoms start to increase in frequency, you may want to seek professional help.
Some normal symptoms include sleepless nights, losing your appetite, and missing your family and friends. However, these symptoms can become more severe and can turn into insomnia, not eating, and depression.
Homesickness affects people in different ways. Many people explain feelings of homesickness as similar to feelings of depression. In extreme cases, you may not want to get out of bed. You long so much for the familiar that you can’t focus on the new experiences.
How Do You Deal With Homesickness When Camping?
If you want to take a long trip across the country for a few weeks or months and are concerned about feeling homesick, start by taking frequent smaller trips. Lead your way up to the big adventure. Spend several weekends away from home. Don’t talk to your friends or family for a few days while enjoying the outdoors. This will help make the longer time frame of the unfamiliar more manageable.
Technology is also a great tool when experiencing homesickness. With the press of a button, you can video call a best friend. You can play online games while chatting through headsets or via text. You can also share your traveling experiences on social media to help you stay connected.
Additionally, you can stay active and fill your day with positive activities. Find a new favorite spot, or talk to neighbors at your campground. Sometimes campgrounds or RV resorts offer classes and activities. You can join those to keep busy and meet new people.
For some people, journaling is a healthy way to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression. Writing down feelings and thoughts can be cathartic. Keep a camping journal and use it when you feel homesick. You can also write down the joys you experience to remind yourself of the positive events still happening.
What to Say to Someone Who Is Feeling Homesick?
First, if you’ve never experienced homesickness, don’t tell someone that you understand how they feel. In fact, to say the opposite shows a level of compassion and humility they might need. Saying things like “I don’t know how you feel, but I can see that you love your grandkids a lot” will go a long way to help comfort someone who is homesick.
Second, don’t discount their feelings or treat them as abnormal. It’s natural to feel homesick, so don’t patronize or tell someone to get over it. Instead, encourage them to share their favorite memories of whatever or whoever they miss.
Additionally, you can help them focus on the positives of the new experience. When someone is feeling homesick, ask them to share their favorite experience so far. Ask them what has made them laugh or filled them with joy. Sometimes they just need a bit of redirection to refocus and overcome their homesickness.
Pro Tip: Feeling homesick isn’t the only down side to RVing. Find out what are The Worst Things About RV Living.
How Long Does Homesickness Last?
Homesickness may never go away, especially for full-time travelers. They may always feel some anxiety and long for the familiar. But as long as it doesn’t turn into extreme symptoms, it’s a normal way to deal with new environments.
For others, homesickness may only last for a day. Perhaps it’s someone’s birthday back home, or friends are gathering for a big anniversary party. It’s completely normal to feel like you’re missing out and long to be back home. But the next day you can feel excited about exploring a new hiking trail.
How Can You Prepare for Your Next Camping Trip If You Get Homesick?
First, determine whether you experience strong attachments or homesickness. Next, recognize your need for the familiar. This can help you deal with the feelings when they arise. When you wake up and start feeling down, you can acknowledge the feelings of homesickness. Learn how to best cope with those feelings. Perhaps calling the person you miss helps to alleviate the sadness. Or journaling your emotions helps to clear your mind.
Setting a schedule to consistently chat with friends or family before camping may also help. You can look forward to those Tuesday and Thursday mornings when you’ll have coffee with your brother via Facetime.
So have you ever experienced homesickness before? What did you do to help cope when you longed for the familiar? Tell us in the comments!
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