Open Thread: How Do You Deal With Homesickness?

lacmaI moved to New York about nine months ago, and most of the time I love it. I am so happy to have moved and feel like this is the exact place where I’m supposed to be. But out of nowhere, I’ve gotten hit with a giant wave of homesickness, leaving me feeling a bit like I’m at loose ends.

I’m far away from home. I’m from Santa Monica, a small city on the most coastal side of Los Angeles. California is this extremely special place–talk to anyone from there and they’ll get this distant, dreamy look in their eyes until you want to slap them. LA is one of my favorite cities and it drives me up a wall when people say stupid shit about it, especially given the fact that most people who talk shit about LA have never been there.

santa monica pier

I first left home in 2007 to go to college in Boston, and it took me about a week before I realized that Boston was not for me. I stuck it out for four years, with a countdown on my fridge. I even stayed in Boston over most summers–my friends were there, I took classes and worked, and it was expensive as hell to fly back and forth. I missed LA a ton, but it wasn’t until my senior year that I experienced real homesickness. I always chalked the feeling up to hating where I was, but here I am, in love with New York City, and I’m feeling it again.

Homesickness is a strange feeling, and there is a physical component. It’s not quite like depression or anxiety–it’s this oddly specific gnawing in my stomach and chest. It’s almost like I can feel this weird pull to go west, as silly as that sounds. It’s funny that it’s not really about the people, since the ones I miss most visit often. It’s really about the place.

I won’t be going home for a while–by my next visit to LA, it will have been over a year since I left. Currently, I’m eating avocados and listening to the following remarkable playlist on repeat:


I’ve also been googling pictures of my favorite eating establishments, but that has been making me emotional. I’m about ready to kick this feeling.

So, where are you all from? Do you ever get homesick? And please, for the love of all that’s good in the world (a Bay Cities sandwich), tell me how you all pull yourselves out of this mopey crap storm.

Images: Shutterstock, Facebook

Share This Post:
    • CMJ

      I’m from Michigan and moved away about 5 years ago (in the Bay Area with a two year stint in Denver)….to keep me out of the deep mopes, I try to watch as many sporting events I can with Detroit teams and college basketball and football (GO GREEN!)…I also listen to music that reminds me of home…my brother’s band in particular (I’m lame).

      Also, FaceTime has really been a god-send.

      • Olivia Wilson

        FaceTime is so much more amazing than I realized it would be when it comes to missing home.

    • Lindsey Conklin

      Now you should start listening to songs like “new york, new york” and “empire state of mind”

      • Samantha_Escobar

        When I lived in CA and was planning on moving to NY, I did that all the time and it cheered me up about the moving aspect!

    • Jenni

      Great, now I have California AND the entire first season of The OC stuck in my head Way to gooo.

      • Julia Sonenshein

        You’re welcome.

    • Olivia Wilson

      Recreate your entire hometown on the Sims. (Fair warning, doing this might be the first sign of insanity.)

      • Julia Sonenshein

        This is brilliant.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      Start playing a video game online with your friends. It sounds dumb, but playing Baldur’s Gate at the same time as my brother in Florida is pretty great.

    • JennyWren

      I moved from the UK to the US just under two years ago, and I can typically only go home once a year or so. I find that keeping busy is the most important thing, that and staying in contact as much as possible with people at home (I’m just thankful that Skype is a thing now). When it does get a bit much, I raid my local British food store for Heinz Baked Beans and proper chocolate, batten down the hatches in my apartment and re-watch all of Doctor Who and Sherlock on Netflix. That usually gets it out of my system!

    • Carrie Murphy

      I used to get homesick for NM all the time, even though I only lived there for three years (but then…SPOILER ALERT! I moved back….a few days ago). I hated where I was living—DC is the devil–, so really there was nothing to do but stick it out. I would say go out and find things you love to do where you are, but since you already love NYC, I don’t know if that’s the best advice. Maybe just eat a lot of ice cream and watch the Before Sunrise, Sunset, Midnight movies so you can think about Europe and not California?

      • Julia Sonenshein

        Going to watch all of those this week. Probably in one night. Also, so happy you made it NM safe and sound!

    • Cee

      I will buy you a sammich!!

      • Julia Sonenshein

        And I will be forever grateful!

    • Emily

      I moved to Macedonia as a Peace Corps volunteer. It’s a strange experience because I didn’t necessarily choose where I moved so homesickness can be pretty intense. I try to focus on hobbies that I enjoyed at home: cooking, running, yoga, reading. And I do them here, but I try to incorporate elements of my new home. I try to appreciate the opportunity to find new trails and cooking is a whole new ball game with new ingredients and a wood burning stove. When i’m hit by intense homesickness everything being new can be incredibly frustrating, but I try to focus on it being a challenge with which I can improve and learn about myself. If that doesn’t help me I sit in my pj’s and watch movies all day and half a good cry :)

    • Samantha

      I actually moved to LA five years ago, and I can see why you miss it. I live on the West Side, and Bay Cities is just the best. “Home” for me was Western Illinois, and I don’t have a lot of love for it, but sometimes, even after being away over seven years, I just want some Whitey’s Ice Cream (not as bad as it sounds – great local establishment created by a dude with white hair and a nicknme) and a bike ride along the Mississippi. Pictures help, but so does going on a new adventure in my new home. You’re in New York, so you can do this too – there’s probably a million and six places you’ve never explored. I like finding a new restaurant/theater/activity/whatever and spending the day trying something new. It makes me feel more part of my new life on days when the homesickness sneaks up on me.

    • Alisande Orme

      Um, not to derail this very worthwhile thread (I was at boarding school from age 11 and suffered terrible homesickness) but where was that first picture taken? I love LA and Santa Monica and would love to visit.

      • Julia Sonenshein

        It’s at LACMA! I’m the weirdo in the denim shirt.

    • Shannon

      When I first moved to STL I got homesick for VA all the time. I got over it by going out and discovering new places in my city. Other time I really couldn’t take it and would phone my Nona back in VA and cry and she would tell me to stick it out that I would be better off be independent in a city that was new to me. I’ve been here for almost 4 years and have only visited home 3 times and I love it now.

    • dangermouse

      I’m living in Switzerland for a year (which is about as far away from New Zealand as you can get) so sometimes I get pretty homesick, especially because everyone at home is asleep when I’m awake so it can be lonely. What I do when I feel really bad is post show off-y pictures of my new digs (like beautiful mountains) or delicious new foods (such as croissants) and then all the jealous comments I get on facey make me feel better. Petty but it works for me!

      • Julia Sonenshein

        I love this. 100% on board.

    • Madame X

      I just moved to Massachusetts from LA and I miss it so much it physically hurts. I learned that I thought I was more wanderlusty and adventurous but I am not and that’s fine. I love LA and living there gave me what I want out of life and my goal is to get back there. But even that goal makes me sad because it won’t be the same. I feel like a homeless orphan.

      • Julia Sonenshein

        It’s my goal to get back there, too, at some point! But you’re right, it’s scary to think about how different both LA and I will be by the time I get back there.

    • anna

      I like seeing what other people think of my homeplace. When I was living in Berlin, I’d order the Texas burger/hotdog/salad. It always had corn in it, no matter what it was. I have no idea why. It’d make me laugh and feel a little closer to home.
      Or I’d go to a place that’d remind me of home. I lived in a neighborhood that reminded me of brooklyn, which was comforting. I’d go to a park that looked like prospect park. Just little things that make you forget where you are.

      • Julia Sonenshein

        That’s awesome! I’m going to make a big Mexican feast this week.

      • anna

        if you ever find good mexican food in the city please let me know!! it’s the one thing NYC hasn’t mastered. be wary of all mexican food joints in Manhattan

    • ascholarsparrot

      Find a way to transfer those emotions to your new home. There was a coffee shop back home that I loved, and I would go and snuggle into a comfy chair and be at peace with the world. I moved a few months ago, and the first thing I looked for was a coffee shop with comfy chairs – not the same, but has somewhat the same result.

    • m

      I didn’t move nearly as far as some of the people below- I’m from northern CA originally and moved to Orange County, so it’s only an 8 hour drive. I had gotten a job down here, and at the time, I was just so eager to get the heck outta my hometown that I just packed up my car and drove on down almost as soon as I got hired- only to discover that I didn’t really like the area after all. I’ve now been down here two years, and while there’s a few things I like about the area, there’s still a lot of major things I dislike and can’t wait to leave behind (namely, the horrible traffic, the unbelievably high cost of housing, the utter lack of good coffee shops or any decent cycling infrastructure). I’m coping by devising my plan to move out of here eventually- probably back up north, though not necessarily back home- and in the meantime, visiting home when I can.

      • Julia Sonenshein

        When I was in college and hated where I was, it was really helpful to plan my life afterwards! Good call on devising your plan out of there. Once I had a set move date, I even had a countdown going on my fridge. It helped.

    • Amanda

      When I get homesick, I call my mom, make mac’n'cheese, drink apple juice, and watch Elf and 13 Going On 30. Those are my mom’s favorite movies, my sister’s favorite food (which she eats like 3x a week), and my mom always keeps apple juice for me when I’m home.

      • Julia Sonenshein

        I love this. My mom makes mac n cheese when I’m sick and I’m going to make some this week!

    • Frances Locke

      Um, first of all you should visit a little place calle Rockaway Beach, right here in NYC. It’s basically like a (now freezing) little bit of heaven. Also, it’s where I live and we have THE best bars. Because we’re Irish (not racist, I”m Irish as we ALL agree).

      Seriously, I grew up until I was 12 in Ohio. I hated it and I still get pangs of homesickness. Even after spending the other half of my life in NYC, which i consider my home. To combat this, I buy all kinds of regional shit online (for Cincy people this entails Skyline Chili, LaRosa’s sauce and shame about the Reds and the Bengals).

      Sometimes I gotta take a day or so to forcibly remind myself how much I love where I live, and since we live in the same damn city, I think we can relate. If it were me, I would go to the Empire State Building, Chelsea Piers, The Cloisters, MoMA, and then spend a week hanging out like a well dressed vagrant at the MET. Then I would knock down the whale at the Natural History Museum like Barney Stinson on HIMYM.

    • anna

      oh, and DON’T GO HOME!!
      if you plan on making this new place your life, don’t go back when you’re feeling homesick! it never ends well.