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Flying the Nest: Homesickness and What Not To Tell Mum!

By Jane McLellan

Last updated: 27th September 2011

I am 34 years old but my parents still worry about me when I go travelling. I guess parents will always see us as their babies! I don’t think I really appreciated how much parents worry until I started working for a gap travel company, then I realised how many calls were coming in from parents who were really concerned because they had not heard from their children.  I am not a parent myself but I now understand that there are simple things that can help to keep parents left behind at home calm and worry free.  

My parents expected a call from me roughly every fortnight. Sometimes the call would only be a minute long, but it was enough time for me to tell them I was well, safe and having a good time.   My mum kept all the emails that I sent to her whilst travelling and when I got home she presented me with a folder containing all my emails. It was so lovely to read through them – a bit like reading a journal – and it reminded me of all the amazing things I had experienced! 

I’ve got so many examples of occasions when I wanted to tell my parents what had happened to me but decided against it… like the time I rode my moped into a tree in the Cook Islands, or when I went hiking in a National Park in Australia and got lost in the dark… or the time I saw a python go into my hut in Thailand eek!  I’m glad my mum didn’t know about that one at the time – sorry mum! 

Talking of parents, travelling for long periods of time can make you homesick. I missed my parents like crazy but thankfully they used me as an excuse to come to visit Australia for a holiday – I could not have imagined going 18 months without seeing them. I loved showing them around and I felt like Sydney was my home and I was really proud to show them the sights. If you are away for a long time it’s great to encourage your parents or mates to make a trip over during your stay. Seeing a familiar face is so comforting, and my parents treated me to a good (and long anticipated!) meal.

One of my favourite nights in Sydney was the evening when my parents and I had dinner at the Sydney Tower, which is situated over one thousand feet above the city centre. We ate a terrific meal in the revolving restaurant, and Dad and I shared an enormous seafood platter. The food was gorgeous and view was exceptional.  It’s an evening none of us will ever forget!

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