In a nutshell, these are the things he recommend for tackling effectively the issue of homesickness when away from home.
- Bring a piece of home with you. Nothing eases homesickness than a few mementos of your home and loved ones. Bring small photographs in a folding frame for your nightstand— your kids, wife, girlfriend, or loyal pooch. Do you have any young kids? Bring a recent piece of “art.” Does your wife or girlfriend wear a perfume that you love — bring along a sachet that will remind you of her.
- Stay in touch. Keeping in touch keeps home close to you and you close to home. There are ways to work around a time difference, but it is important to be sure to keep in touch with your home base — not your office, your home base. Be sure you know that Jimmy won his soccer game, and that your wife had the day from hell, and that Susie has the sniffles. If you are in Europe, call late at night just before you go to bed, and if you find yourself in Asia, set your alarm for a 15 minute conversation in the middle of the night. Call on their time, not yours.
- Use technology. If you have a laptop, keep in touch with “just thinking about you” e-mails, consider an instant messaging program, or even a webcam for the face-to-face conversation. I know that my evening out with some clients will go a lot better when my Elizabeth (my daughter) pops onto my instant messaging to tell me about the “way cool lacrosse game” she just finished. While I do not have a webcam, many of our clients do use them to keep in touch — it is a living photograph and closes the distance gap just a little more.
- Blog it. Blogging is all the rage. It’s is a personal piece of cyberspace to voice your opinions, keep your thoughts, photos, and memories. Google has a partnership with Blogger, which allows you to blog for free. Just give your personal address to your friends and family and you all can share and post to keep one another up to date. If you are not as tech-savvy as you would like, a travel journal is a great alternative. Don’t bore the neighbors, but a journal and some photos to really see what mommy or daddy does when they go away is a fantastic way to keep in touch.
- Pick the right place to stay. While bringing a piece of home with you and keeping in touch will go a long way to ease the pain of a road trip, the fact remains that a hotel is still a hotel. Or is it? If you find yourself away from home for an extended period of time — say, 10 days or more, you ought to look into long-term corporate housing. I am not talking about those extended stay places that add a refrigerator, microwave, and coffee pot to the standard fare hotel room. I’m talking about a full-blown home away from home.