My father says you remember the smell of your country no matter where you are but only recognize it when you’re far away.
― Aglaja Veteranyi, Warum das Kind in der Polenta kocht
I am putting this book in my to-read list because my dad often quotes a similar phrase in Bengali.
Homesickness has ruined several overseas experiences. If you have friends or family who live away from home, you must have seen their social media posts describing their homesickness. Different people deal with homesickness and unfamiliarity quite differently. Over the last few months I have been making notes about a few habits that help people thrive overseas despite their homesickness and circumstances.
Firstly I observed that you don’t need to be an extrovert in order to thrive overseas. So this post is applicable for both extroverts and introverts.
A determination to thrive
People who thrive seem to relentlessly pursue the best life they can have irrespective of where they live. People leave home for so many reasons – the adventure of trying something new, to be with family, for work, to answer a calling. The people we spoke to and read about, described times of overwhelming challenges or incidents of extreme homesickness but their determination to thrive carried them through.
They practice contentment
They are able and willing to maintain a positive attitude when dealing with the uncertain and the unfamiliar. They view the unfamiliar as fun instead of as intimidating. Fear is replaced by excitement. They also embrace their limitations, whether it’s their personality, illness, slow learning, they remain patient.
Read related: My struggles with depression while living overseas
They enjoy new food options
It’s not so hard to try new food options but when that new food becomes the regular option, it not always easy to thrive. Numerous struggles stem from the inability to adapt to new food habits. Finding food options that are close to comfort food have helped many adjust to the new tastes and textures quicker.
An open mind and desire to learn
Learn new cultures, language, lifestyle and habits without passing judgement all the time. A desire to learn and eagerness for exposure to new things is pretty vital to embracing the new experiences that life throws our way. An intentional appreciation for the new community and culture and not being a loner makes them thrive.
Read related: Tips for Overseas Living – Be a Learner
Not losing sight of the purpose for moving
Those who thrive overseas stay motivated by not losing sight of the purpose for moving. They avoid getting distracted with random incidents and emotions, episodes of homesickness, complicated relationships or small setbacks.
The more I think about these the more I realize that some of these habits are good to practice no matter where you live but they come in a lot more handy when you’re away from home.
Author: The Overseas Magazine Editor
We would love to hear your travel and living overseas stories. Learn more bout writing for TOM here.