Living abroad can be tough. Sometimes we feel so bad that all we want to do is go home. Luckily, this article is going to show you exactly how to overcome the travel blues when living abroad.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been living abroad, feeling down is something we all go through.
Things might not be going as planned and your life abroad might not be exactly what you imagined.
It would be so much easier to call it quits, pack your bags and be on the next flight home.
Does any of this sound familiar?
If it does, don’t stress!
These feelings are entirely normal. If living abroad was so easy, everyone would be doing it. But you had the guts to take the leap and follow your dreams so, congratulations for that.
Even though I’ve been living abroad for the majority of the last 6 years in several different countries around the world, I still have these feelings every few months.
In fact, I was feeling this way only a few days ago!
Luckily over the years, I’ve come to realise that these depressing feelings of doubt and worry will pass. And there are certain things you can do to ensure you’ll be feeling 100% again in no time.
What Causes The Travel Blues?
Everyone gets these feelings of doubt for different reasons.
It depends entirely on each individual and what they’re experiencing at the time.
If we put things into perspective, even when living at home, we have these feelings of doubt and worry.
These feelings may have been what pushed you to take the leap and move abroad in the first place.
All that being said, I’ve found there are a few main reasons why most people feel “depressed” when living abroad.
It’s common to feel alone and like an outsider when you’re on the other side of the world. You’re surrounded by strange things, different people, new languages and unfamiliar cuisine. With everything being so different, sometimes you just want to go back to what’s normal and comfortable.
But, if you’re too comfortable all the time, you’re not going to grow and take advantage of your time living abroad. So, start learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Worrying about Money
This is one of the main reasons that people get the travel blues when living abroad. Wondering how much longer their money will last if they don’t find a job, feeling guilty about everything they purchase and not knowing when or where their next paycheck will come from.
Because of this, many people try and make an income doing something they’re unfamiliar with. This could be anything from teaching English, learning how to start a travel blog, writing articles online etc.
This added level of stress can make you want to return to your old job back home because it was “easy money.”
Dwindling Relationships back Home
It’s extremely common for expats to get the travel blues when thinking about their dwindling relationships back home. You realise you barely talk to your best friends anymore, don’t feel as close with your family and haven’t made any “real” friends in your new country of residence.
It just seems so easy to go home and enjoy time with your friends and family. Thankfully there are plenty of ways to learn how to make friends abroad and keep in touch with your friends and family.
Lack of Routine
If you tend to move around a lot, travelling can become exhausting. Not having a routine and doing something new every day is exciting in the beginning. But after a while, it becomes exhausting and you stop enjoying yourself.
That’s why I recommend creating a routine so you actually benefit from living abroad.
Stuck in a Boring Routine
On the other hand, if you’ve moved abroad and all you’re doing is working and doing the same things every day, it may be time to break out of your mundane day-to-day routine and try something new.
Take the time to travel and explore the country you’re living in. Start doing the things that made you want to move abroad in the first place.
There Are Solutions!
I found that by doing some of the following activities, it allows you to quickly overcome your travel blues and start enjoying your time abroad once again.
Indulge in your Guilty Pleasures
Personally, I find this to be the best way to overcome the tough times abroad.
Sometimes you just want to relax, eat some takeaway and watch a movie. That’s okay!
Whatever it is that makes you happy, do it when you’re not feeling so great and your mood will surely improve.
Warning: Don’t get stuck into the trap of doing this every day. They are called “guilty pleasures” because you should, in fact, feel “guilty” if you’re doing them all the time.
Change your Routine
As I mentioned earlier, sometimes you need to get out of your boring, mundane routine.
It can be depressing to do the same things every day if you’re not enjoying yourself. Try adding a level of adventure or travel into your weekly routine and start doing the things that made you want to move abroad in the first place.
Whether you want to travel more often, explore the city, try the local cuisine, visit museums or do one of a thousand different things, start including them into your routine.
Make some new Friends
Sometimes it’s hard to make friends when living abroad.
Almost every expat (including myself) have found it difficult to create meaningful relationships in foreign countries.
I recommend checking out a recent article I wrote called “How to Make Friends Abroad“. This article goes into detail about different strategies and platforms you can use to create meaningful relationships with both locals and other expats when living abroad.
Talk to Friends and Family back Home
Sometimes all that it takes to overcome the travel blues is talking to your friends and family back home.
If you’re really feeling down, schedule a time to talk to them for a few hours. It will make you feel better.
You can even schedule a time every week to interact with your loved ones so you never feel too far apart.
Once again, I don’t recommend that you spend all of your free time talking to people back home because you need to take advantage of the time you have living abroad by creating new relationships.
Some of you may think that meditation is a waste of time and the truth is that before I did my 10-day silent meditation retreat in Guatemala, I wasn’t totally convinced either.
The great thing about meditation though is that it put’s everything into perspective.
Are you worrying for a legitimate reason or are you over reacting because you feel bad?
Taking the time to let your mind be free can be extremely helpful when you’re having a bad day and want to call it quits on the whole living abroad nonsense.
Eat some Vegetables and do some Exercise
This may seem obvious but it can be easily overlooked.
Personally, I find this to really help. Living in third world countries can often mean eating very questionable food for many months at a time.
Feeling sick leads to feeling bad and wanting to go home to a place where you don’t have to question if you might get food poising every time you want to eat.
Do Something Expensive (if being cheap is bothering you)
Constantly worrying about what you spend your money on and how much you spend can be more than depressing.
Sometimes you just need to say “F@*k it!” and go out to a nice restaurant, buy a new t-shirt, have a relaxing massage or go out for a few drinks, even if it’s above your budget.
I find myself doing this occasionally and it makes me feel a lot better. Being on a tight budget sucks, but splurging and treating yourself feels great!
If you’re feeling a little sad and “depressed” about living abroad, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Everyone feels this way at one point or another whether you’re an experienced expat who’s been living abroad for years or a newbie who’s just moved abroad for the first time.
By following some of the advice in this article, you’ll not only start feeling better about yourself but notice that the next time you feel a little down, it’s for a shorter period of time.
Don’t let a few negative feelings impact the amazing opportunity you have living abroad.
Live to fight another day!
And if you’re really struggling, don’t hesitate to send me an email. I’m here to help!
Have you ever wanted to call it quits and move back home? What did you do to overcome those feelings?