I’m from a very tight-knit family, where we are all in each other’s business and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Homesickness is something I expected to have to overcome, but I didn’t know what to expect or what it was like to be homesick, and I think it is different for every person.
Most of the time I am too busy to even think about home, but the few times it does hit you is when you first get on board a new ship, at Christmas and special family events.
When starting work on a new ship it is very common to feel homesick because for the first week you don’t really know anyone. You are still finding your feet and being on your best behaviour. However, as soon as you start to make friends, which comes very fast, the homesickness becomes less and less. I found the first 2 weeks on my first ship very hard. The whole time was spent thinking “What the hell have I done? I’m living in a cabin the size of my bathroom back home, with a stranger, I’m working every hour god sends, for little money, and I can’t even call home because I’m on Australia’s time.
Talking to other new crew members made me realise I wasn’t alone with this feeling.
As soon as I realised we were all alone together, things became a lot less daunting. Also because of that fact, everyone is so friendly and eager to help.
After this first 2 weeks had passed and I knew what was expected of me at work, and I had made some friends, the change in how I felt was unbelievable, and from that point on, I loved every minute of ship life.
Looking back, of course, I was going to struggle with it. Normally, a person would either move away from home, start a new job, get a new friendship group or visit a new country. I was doing all four at once so, I was silly for thinking it would be easy.
The next time homesickness struck was at Christmas. As you can imagine everyone is homesick at this time of year because its a family day. Even people who didn’t celebrate Christmas at home were homesick. It was just the general vibe of the ship. I do enjoy spending Christmas onboard though, as they make a huge deal about Christmas, and there is always loads going on to keep your mind occupied, so it is lots of fun.
Whether you are on a ship or in a different country, being away from home over Christmas is hard for anyone. This is a list of things I do over Christmas that helps me to feel better about being so far away from home.
Keeping in contact, whether it’s on the phone or through wi-fi, to know what everyone is doing…..
Traditions you do at home you can do while you are away to make you feel like you are closer to home. That might be having a mince pie or watching a Christmas film. My family always watch The Snowman on Christmas day.
Being with friends
Surrounding yourself with people and keeping busy is going help take your mind off things.
Whether you are spending Christmas away from home or at home, I wish you a Merry Christmas and just remember, if you are away from your loved ones, there are thousands of other people who are also away from home so, we are all alone together.