I remember being 10 or 11 years old preparing to spend a weekend away from home. My
parents dropped me off at the dormitory where I would be staying with a group of girls but
I didn’t want them to leave. It was winter and the moon was already up even though it was
early. To comfort me my Mum said that if I missed her all I had to do was look up at the
moon or the stars and think that she was looking at exactly the same sky.
Of course, as soon as my parents left and I got to know the other girls, I didn’t give home
another thought – but several times over the years when I have been far from home I’ve
looked up at the night sky and been comforted by that same sentiment.
I think everyone gets homesick occasionally, no matter how old you are – you might call
it something different – but it is still homesickness of one kind or another . I was really
interested to learn that homesickness is often caused by a reaction to our new environment.
In Antarctica I am most likely to feel homesick when I am cold, hungry and uncomfortable
because images of home represent the exact opposite to all these discomforts – it
represents warmth, food, comfort, safety. This seems to make a lot of sense. When I feel
vulnerable I guess it is natural that I would long for a place I feel safe – for me, that would be
Somehow, understanding the logic behind an
emotion, makes that emotion easier to deal