Tips for holidaying in your home country whilst living abroad
Many expats embark on the expat adventure to have just that, an adventure. The reality is that many end up having a normal everyday routine and count on spicing their lives up with adventures over the holidays. How do you balance your needs for adventure with your need for downtime as well as nurturing your relationships with friends and family at home during your holidays?
It’s been months, and with the corona virus perhaps more than a year since you have last been home. You are longing for the taste and smell of your home country, the familiarity of the language, culture, and sights, and you are excited to be catching up with friends and family. However, as the holiday goes on, you know you will find yourself exhausted from all the visits, the catch ups, the foods, the quick coffees which are never quick as well as potentially ferrying your kids around to their friends too. Returning to your expat country, you feel in need of another holiday - this time to relax.
Does this sound familiar?
Below are a few tips (not all considering corona restrictions) on how to enjoy precious time with everyone back home without exhausting yourself.
Realise that though everyone might be longing to see you, you can’t schedule in quality time with everyone. Don’t be afraid to prioritise your closest friends and family. With people on the periphery, you might want to accept having a rota of some kind so that over the course of your time abroad you do see these people, but not every time you are home.
Consider killing two or more birds with one stone in bringing people together for an event or meet for a meal. This will enable you to catch up with more people.
Rather than you spending time taking yourself around to your friends’ places, consider renting a summer house or cabin. This brings you tranquility and if you don’t want to be shopping for food and cooking again and again, you can ask your visitors to bring the food they would have served you, had you gone to their place. Family and friends are happy to spoil you now that you are at home.
If you are keen to explore your own country, ask people along on outings, overnight trips etc.
Make sure you prioritise your children seeing their friends and cousins; they may have an even greater need to be meeting in person than you do your friends. Again, consider them seeing a few for prolonged periods of time to enhance quality time rather than short visits to many.
Schedule in days of doing nothing. Again, if you have rented a holiday home you are better able to do this than if you are staying in other people’s homes.
Some find it tiring to always be talking about their new life abroad, and some friends and family will find it tedious to listen to as it can be difficult to fully engage when they have not visited the places you are talking about and met your new favourite people themselves. Remember, it’s not on you to entertain about your new life; your friends and family will also have had experiences they might want to share with you.
When visiting friends at home, one of my children used to say that his goodbyes started when he said hello and that he felt the time with his friends felt like borrowed time. If you feel that the grief of saying goodbye and not knowing when you will see your friends and family back home again is over shadowing the joy, try to focus on being in the present. Also, remember that once the initial grief has settled, you will cherish beautiful memories.