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The art of going back home to visit

Having lived overseas for many years, I have spent a lot of time working on that balance of going home to visit. Because it is an artform to manage your time so that you get to see everyone you have missed, get to enjoy yourself and most of all – take it easy so that you actually get to have a holiday! The green house in the picture is my childhood home in the countryside of Sweden, in less than a week I’ll be sitting on that porch and enjoying my morning coffee. 

Some key things to consider for your next trip back home to visit friends and family:

  1. Plan a few days just for you – just to catch up and relax after the flight. If you start your holiday with a proper few days of holiday, you’ll have more energy to spend with the people you love the most.
  2. Don’t spend too much time dashing around all over the shop to see everyone. In my case, I find it reasonable that if I’ve flown 24 hours to get back, the friends and family who really want to catch up, and that you really want to see, will find a way to come see you. Not saying you should not make an effort to see the ones you love. Just balance your effort with the time you have available. Wearing yourself thin with even more travel can sometimes cause feeling resentful that you’re ‘always the one who has to go the extra mile’.
  3. Realise your limitations and what/who is most important. Everyone is different, but in my case I prefer no more than 2 activities a day when on holidays. Sometimes a long phone catch up with a dear friend whilst sittning on my mum’s porch relaxing is better than driving for hours to catch up for only a few hours. It’s ok to sometimes say no.
  4. Plan a few key things with the people you definitely want to meet and lock this in early. This way you’ll know when these people are available and this then gives you pockets of free time around these catch ups when you can do whatever you want to do that day.
  5. Remember that this is your holiday and you can choose to spend it however you like. You are in charge of your time and your life, and you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. Choose to feel love for the people and things that matter rather than worry about the things or people that don’t.
  6. When you leave to go back to your new home, you most likely will still be back again one day. When you blink away the tears at the airport and beat yourself up for choosing a life far away – remember that the ones that love you are still there, even if they are slightly further away. The most important thing is to show them how much you love them, regardless of where you both live. Also remember that staying in touch is a two way street. It’s not just one person driving it and it’s not just your job to keep the relationship going.

I’m now looking forward to 3 weeks of holidays with friends and family back in my home country of Sweden. I’m also looking forward for my Australian partner to get to experience his first ever Swedish summer. But most of all, I’m looking forward to take it easy and explore the things he and I want to do. Because it’s been almost a year since our last holiday!