There is no better cure for the inevitable homesickness you'll feel when you move away, than going home. I hadn't been fully aware just how homesick I was until we landed in San Francisco three weeks ago. The relief and happiness that came with arriving in the city I think of as home was met with a bit of trepidation because I knew this was going to be a whirlwind trip. Visiting your hometown (or wherever you consider to be home) can be a tricky and exhausting trip. You want to see EVERYONE, EVERYONE wants to see you, and there are about a gazillion places you want to eat at and things you want to do before you leave. Scheduling all this is no easy feat and it took many years of coming home from college to feel like I am finally close to getting it right. These are five tips I try to follow for planning and executing a successful trip home:
Do Not Over Plan If it can be helped, try not to plan each hour of each day out too far in advance. Having room to be spontaneous will make the trip feel less stressful than when you are "going going going" from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. This has always been a hard one for me because I am a planner, but on this trip I let our moods guide us a lot more than I usually do and it made for a more relaxing trip overall.
Balance Social Activities Of course it would be great to get one on one time with each one of your friends, but there aren't enough hours in the day to do that. So balancing one on one friend and family hangout time with group family and friend hangout time is key. We went wine tasting with a group of our friends in Sonoma and it was a great way to catch up with multiple people without feeling rushed.
Make a Short List Homesickness is not only about missing friends and family. It's also about missing your favorite coffee shop, ice cream place, corner store or nail salon. Along with spending time with my BFF and siblings, my short list included eating at least one burrito (anywhere would do) and drinking at least one beet juice (from Greens and Company). Once those two things were checked off my list I felt more at ease about leaving San Francisco again.
Don't Forget Your Significant Other Plan out a bit of time to hang out with him or her and do some of the things you liked to do together when you were living there. It's very easy to go on a trip home with your significant other and get back from the trip feeling like you haven't seen each other in months. Rob and I weren't as good about this but we did have a mini road trip together from SF to LA where we got to chat and be together which was a nice break from the rest of the trip. We also ended the last three weeks with a vacation to Bermuda, so getting time together in CA wasn't as imperative.
Be Present This is probably my most important tip! It's very easy to get caught up in all the planning and scheduling and forget to enjoy the time you're spending with your family and friends. My trick for staying in the moment is making lots of toasts no matter what kind of beverage is being consumed. It brings people into the moment and reminds them to be thankful that you're all together.