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There is a lot of talk about homesickness in travel circles. How you don’t know what to do when it hits and how disarming it can be. In a few weeks time we’ll be talking more about homesickness here in the blog. But today I wanted to focus on the cheeky cousin of homesickness; the away-symptoms. The voices who rather than wanting to go home, keep asking to be far away from the home. To be anywhere else than where you are right now. Let’s check this out! Sometimes moving and travelling can get quite serious, so I thought we’d approach this week with some playfulness.

So, the away-symptoms share some similarities with homesickness, but can also show up in many different ways. Key themes includes:

  • Wanting to be somewhere you’re not
  • Uncertainty of how long time it will take to find a way of getting there
  • Confusion about what you want/miss the most right now
  • Crying and feeling low

The key difference between homesickness and away-symptoms are however that people do far more to remedy homesickness (plan a trip home, chat to the person you miss the most) than they do to understand the away-symptoms.

The away-symptoms (I should probably think about patenting this term right about here) will not go away with distraction. They will quietly grow to the point that you just have to do something about them. For some people it takes until they are old, grey and have lots of free time on their hands to realise it. For some, it hits them early in life and makes them make a move they might have preferred to wait a bit longer with. And then there are all the ones in-between.


So what’s unique to the away-symptoms?

  • They will never be quiet. As soon as there is silence around you or you see something that triggers your inspiration they’ll say things like “You’re not meant to be here” and “Stop blending in when you don’t want this to be you“. You might want to add a few of your own away-symptom voices and mantras here.
  • They are strong. They make people do strange things and take a big, bold step right into the unknown, just because they just have to give it a go.
  • They can work in your favour. Now this is where it get’s really interesting. Many people know that they want something different. Most people have no idea what that is. Other than being quite clear on the things they have already tried and firmly decided that it’s NOT it.
  • They are sometimes based on fear, but mostly on possibilities. At least that’s how I choose to see them.

How then do we make the away-symptoms (the drive to go far away) work for us, rather than against us?

  1. Stop focussing on the things you know you don’t want and start brainstorming the things you do want. What type of place, home, relationship and career would you like to have 1-5 years from now? Who are your friends? Do you have kids, pets, a business? Have you written a book, travelled around the world, found balance in yourself? Get as specific as you can. Because only when we know what we truly do want – we can have it. 
  2. Get clear on what you feel and believe about change, what you truly value and become very good friends with your why.
  3. Take action. Away-symptoms are stubborn. They won’t go away until you have found a sustainable solution that actually works for YOU.
  4. Lighten up! You want to be somewhere else, because you have not learned to accept or cope with where you are now. Only you will know what step follows, but remember to have some fun as you work it out. You can have a goal and explore your options at the same time. 🙂

I’ve spent many years being serious about things that would have worked themselves out if I had just approached it with some lightness.  It made me realise that away-symptoms are never heavier than you make them. And as with most things in life, they tend to settle down when you listen to them and take appropriate action.

How do you deal with your away-symptoms?