Tag Archives: travel

Traveling With Homesickness

Filed under: Social Life/Relationships, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography





I have been in Georgia (the country, not the state) for a while now and I am finding adjusting to be a bit more of a chore than I expected. When I signed up to teach English abroad, all I pictured was living in a cool little town with interesting people, and no problems whatsoever. I could not have underestimated this journey more.

I’m in a small village only a 3 minute cab ride from the city, but the village looks like a completely different world. If I’m not wearing earplugs at night when sleeping, I wake up to the sound of chicks peeping, pigs oinking, roosters crowing, and dogs fighting. Being in this village without anyone I know immediately close by, and living with a family with an English level similar to that of an 8-year-old, has made me really homesick. However, I’ve been getting creative with how to soothe myself with this culture shock, so if you are experiencing homesickness abroad, here are my suggestions:

1. Buy Something Comforting

I’m surprised at the number of similar products Georgia has in their mini-marts. Whenever I’m in town, I make sure to stock up on treats: chocolate, Fanta orange soda or Sprite, and Pringles. Not only will you be satisfying your snack cravings, but you will be eating something familiar, which will help you relax. This applies to other products other than food too, although some may be hard to find in a different location.

2. Don’t “Should” Yourself

Do not think, “I should be feeling happy.” Everyone deals with situations differently. Allow yourself to wallow, cry, be sad, and be alone. It is normal to feel this way. Just don’t sit in it for long periods of time.

3. Reach Out

Email or call friends and family and tell them how you are feeling. Talk it out to whoever will listen. Advice, comforting words, and a new friend will often come of it. You will feel better just talking to someone you miss as well.

4. Distract Yourself

There have been plenty of times where all I want to do is curl up in bed and do nothing all day. Unfortunately, that would not only make the situation worse, it would also mean missing out on cool excursions, such as Georgian wine-tasting at local vineyards. It is actually better to make yourself busy so you forget you are homesick!

5. Pick Up A New Hobby

Take advantage of the time you have available and learn or brush up on a new language, or pick up that book you’ve always wanted to read, etc. The time will pass anyway, so you might as well take advantage of it by doing something fun and intriguing.

The best piece of advice I have been given in regards to traveling: do whatever you have to to make yourself comfortable. I take things day by day instead of looking at the long term, and that seems to make all the difference in this experience traveling abroad.

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5 Important Things To Bring Abroad

Filed under: Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography




A few days after I arrived in T’bilisi, Georgia, I became homesick already. For someone who has never traveled out of the country, it is a surreal experience. It has made me wonder if perhaps traveling to England or France would have been easier.  At least I know that I am thankful to have brought with me some things to make this experience more comforting. Here are some things that you should bring with you if you are going abroad anytime soon:

1. Travel Adapter

You can buy these at Target, Best Buy, or any other home goods store. No matter where you get it, just get one. You need this for all of your electronics. The plugs are very different abroad and if you don’t have the adapter, you will have to trek out and buy one, which could cost you extra.

2. Something Personal From Home

Bring your favorite blanket, pillow, or indulgence. Once you are abroad, you will be craving the familiar and anything resembling normal. For me, it’s a pillow my mom bought for me before I left and Dove chocolate.

3. First Aid Kit

This should contain anything from gauze and bandages to Tums and what you would normally take for headaches. Your body is going to take awhile to adjust to the new times, new foods, and new routines. You will want to be prepared.

 4. Snacks

This will pretty much be a backup and act as comfort food should regular meals not be easily accessible (or if you just get the midnight munchies).

5. Clean Clothes

Pack extra of everything (especially underwear)! This will make you feel clean even if you aren’t. Unless you are staying with family, you never know how often you will be able to do laundry.

It helped reading travel articles before I started packing to keep in mind everything I needed to get before the official packing process began. Don’t forget to include practical things too, such as sunscreen or some kind of face lotion, toothbrush, and extra toothpaste, Chapstick, and a book. Internet may not be steadily available wherever you are so having a book will come in handy.

Any extra tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

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Staying In Touch While Abroad

Filed under: Social Life/Relationships, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography





Preparing for my trip to the Republic of Georgia has come with its tradeoffs. I had to leave a familiar town, a great part-time job I’ve had for three years, and most importantly, my family and friends. It was difficult saying goodbye to people who have been my support system for so long. I have gone from seeing them every day, or at least every week, to not seeing them at all. It has made me think of creative ways to keep in touch with them so that it doesn’t seem like it has been so long that I have not seen them.

If you are preparing for your own adventure abroad or doing some traveling, here are some suggestions for staying in touch with those you love:

1. Skype

This is an obvious option for anyone using a computer. Free calls with anyone anywhere and you can see each other face to face! Another bonus, Skype is the perfect way to still have meals together – you can eat breakfast while they are eating dinner!

2. Postcards

Postcards are inexpensive enough that you can stock up on them in craft stores, airports, trinket shops in your visiting country, or you can even make them yourself! Print your photo at 4×6, turn it over and write your message, then stick on a stamp and write your friend’s address where they would normally go on a postcard and pop it in the mail!

3. Email

Since you probably won’t have phone access (unless you pay the extra fee for international service), email is the next best thing. However, if you do have coins, try the payphone at a nearby cafe. Depending on where you stay, there will most likely be a phone available.

4. Video

A lot of people like to keep a video diary which they update weekly or even monthly. This is a fun way to bring life (and reassurance) to what you’re experiencing, instead of just writing words. It will also be something great to look back on when you arrive back home and to share with your friends and family.

Keeping a journal and/or online blog of your travels will also help when you don’t have time to write each individual person. Just send one email out announcing the blog link and let everyone know it’s the best way to stay updated because of your unpredictable schedule. They will be able to leave you comments and follow your day to day adventures.

Happy travels!

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Thank You Gifts For Abroad

Filed under: Money/Budget, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography





Whether you are planning to stay with a host family, in a hostel, or with friends, it is a good idea to always have some small trinkets to give as gifts to whomever shows you a little hospitality while you are abroad. Not only will you be presenting yourself in the best light, you will also be presenting your country positively, which is something a lot of travelers don’t think about.

Rest assured buying thank you gifts doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many inexpensive things you can pick up that will be sure to satisfy and are easy to travel with!

1. Magnets

Magnets make great gifts because they add life to a kitchen! Plus, anyone who comes over to their house for a meal will most likely ask about them and that makes it a gateway to a great conversation about how a wonderful traveling student gave it to them as a little thank you.

2. Postcards

I have pen pals from Africa, Spain, and even just a few states in the U.S. and postcards are one of my favorite little gifts to get. I love having something to pin up on the refrigerator, around my room, or on my bureau mirror, and your kind friends, hostel works, or host family will too!

3. Homemade Goods

Anything home-made or handmade from your state is always a great gift. People love supporting local businesses and areas. Some ideas could be: jewelry, candles, jams, or chocolate. If there is a local market in your town on weekends, chances are it is a jackpot for inexpensive goodies like these.

4. Keychains

Add a little flair to your someone’s key ring with a unique keychain with their name or a cool design on it. Each time they reach for their keys, they will think of you.



Still in doubt? Think about what you would like to get as a gift from someone and go with that. As long as you put some thought into it, you can’t go wrong. Mostly it’s the idea of being appreciative to those who welcome you into their space for your extended travels. Show them they have made a difference!

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Travel Insurance

Filed under: College Life, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography





One very important part of planning for vacations that a lot of students don’t take into account, is travel insurance. I am currently overseas to teach English and insurance is something that has been on the top of my list. While my employer will be providing me with medical insurance, travel insurance is something else on its own.

1. What Is Travel Insurance?

While medical insurance only covers you if you get sick, or need a prescription or antibiotics, travel insurance protects your property should it become lost or stolen. It can also cover you in the event of a family death that you need to come back to the states for, lost luggage, or a trip cancellation.

2. How To Get It?

First, see if your current health, car, or house insurance provider offers it. If they do, get a quote! If going through an already existing insurance provider isn’t an option, ask around to see if any of your friends or family has ever had to get travel insurance and whether or not they can recommend someone. Or you can use a travel insurance cost comparison website, such as tripinsurance.com, squaremouth.com, or Lonely Planet. Also, the U.S. Travel Association ranks travel insurance companies in good standing.

3. What To Include?

What you decide to have included in your insurance is up to you. Keep in mind, though, the more you have included, the higher the monthly price will be, so be sure to tailor it specifically to your trip and budget.

Travel insurance is great to have no matter where you are going. The longer you plan to travel, the more highly I would recommend getting it.

Good luck!

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