9.20.2011

Guest Post: Davinia Hamilton Deals with Loneliness

I am unceasingly impressed by people who have enough confidence to rise above their fears, by those individuals who realize that they themselves are greater than the imaginary barriers of the mind. This is why I'm thrilled to announce that today's post is from Malta expat Davinia Hamilton. She recently relocated to Dublin, and shares below her methods of dealing with loneliness.


Moving abroad: How to deal with loneliness

Last month, I finally realized my lifelong dream of living abroad when I left my home country of Malta and made the big move to Dublin, Ireland. The first few days were dream-like. It still felt like a holiday, and so my thoughts never even tuned into loneliness. I was on a high of sightseeing, shopping for pretty things to put in my new room and pinching myself every five minutes to make sure all this was really happening.

And then, slowly, as the high started to wear off, I began to feel lonely. The homesickness – something I’d never expected myself to feel – started to set in. Sure, I live with two flatmates – among them my best friend – but they are both at work during the day and I had moved a month before college was due to start, which meant I had to entertain myself during the day for an entire month.

Lucky for me, there is always something happening in Dublin, so there really are no excuses. It really is just a matter of getting off your backside and getting out there and doing things. But then, especially on a student’s budget, you can’t quite take yourself to lunch and a movie very often. Some days you find yourself sitting at home, eating cup noodles and feeling quite miserable because you miss your family and friends, and in my case my boyfriend who I lived with back home.

So how do you overcome loneliness when you’ve just moved away from the place you called home? How do you go about making new friends in a new city?

Turn to acquaintances
Do you have any acquaintances at all in this new place? Maybe a fellow blogger who you’ve been conversing with via email for a while? Perhaps a former colleague or classmate who moved too? A relative or a friend of a friend? Now’s the time to get in touch with them. Send them an email or give them a ring and let them know that you’re around and you’d love to hang out with them sometime. Chances are, they were in your situation when they first moved and they’ll be more than happy to help a fellow human being feel more at home. You may find that you actually get along with them really well; what’s more, they’ll have friends they can introduce you to, and that’s how your circle of friends will grow.

Remember old friends
Just because you’ve left your home town doesn’t mean you can forget the loved ones you left behind. Have Skype dates with your close friends. If your girlfriends always met up for wine and a pizza at home every Friday night, ask if you can continue to join them via your webcam. Seeing old friends helps you feel less homesick if you’re having an off day and a friend can remind you that you’ve done the right thing by moving, especially if they’ve heard you complain for years about how much you want to travel.

Do new things
When you move to your new home, keep an eye out for groups you can join. Always fancied yourself an actress? Join a drama club! Want to learn how to make a mean Baked Alaska? Get yourself into a cookery class. Taking part in activities helps you feel involved in the community and also allows you to meet people with similar interests. Most people are lovely and, when they realize you are new, will go out of their way to befriend you.

Love yourself
Being away from home is a great exercise in self-love. There will be times when you will have to be on your own and you will have to learn to enjoy your own company. Since I moved (and I don’t share a bedroom with my boyfriend any more), I’ve begun to read a lot more,  I watch way more soppy films and I’ve started to meditate again. During the day, sometimes, I just wander out of the house and walk around this lovely city all on my own, just enjoying the sights and the experience. And I’ve realized that, yes actually, I do like my own company sometimes, and it’s hard to feel lonely if you’re holding a great book and a big mug of hot chocolate.


Davinia Hamilton is a blogger, entrepreneur and serial Tweeter. She is currently studying for an M.Sc. in Applied Digital Media and likes to sing, take photos of everything and read books about quantum physics. 

3 comments:

  1. Great tips Davinia - and thanks for hosting the post Claire.

    I moved from Australia to California with my Mum and Brother when I was 17. The first few years were ROUGH! I'd finished high school right before we moved, so I wasn't going to meet anyone that way. It was a little while before I was allowed to work (what with immigration and all) and the random people I did meet in drama classes and stuff I took down town were...well I didn't really have great experiences let's just say that.

    I was really lucky to have my family with me to talk about things back home but when it came down to it, hanging out by myself a lot, listening to music, writing letters back home (back in the day, before Skype), making long distance phone calls. It all lead to being comfortable with being in my own company (which is great now that I'm a writer). And I think ultimately, gave me a great understanding of who I really am and what I really like. (Even though that whole "be happy with your own company and use the time to get to know yourself" made me gag at the time)

    Whoa...that was quite a reply. Guess it really resonated with me.

    Thanks again guys!

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  2. Thrilled to hear that it struck a chord :) Thanks for reading.

    Totally feel you on the being-comfortable-with-yourself experience. I went through a bit of that this summer, staying at school to work when (most of) my friends had gone home. I was incredibly lonely at first, but slowly began to appreciate the "me time." It brought a sense of peace that I'd never really understood before.

    Making that transition right after high school must have been hard--as I recall, my general, and very immature, thoughts on time alone at 18 were that being alone meant being a loser, and so I hated staying home. Grew outta that one, thankfully.

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  3. Well done! I'm so glad for this. It really resonates with me as well.

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