Trained Actor, Still in Training – Lesson Four – Dealing with Homesickness

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The most common jobs for young actors fresh on the scene are touring jobs. If you get a touring job in England, it can be a great opportunity to see parts of your own country that you’ve never visited. Also, chances are the friends you have gathered through school and university and life in general are now all scattered all over the country, and this is a great chance for you to visit them.

But there are also plenty of touring opportunities abroad. Companies like White Horse and Theatrino offer solid T.I.E work in Germany and Italy (actors who work for White Horse also may have the opportunity to travel to China or Japan) And if T.I.E isn’t your thing, there are companies like the American Drama Group who do English and American classics all over Europe.

And hey, there are other ways your job can take you far away from home. You may get whisked off straight away to Hollywood, you never know.

My point is, I hadn’t really thought that travelling abroad would be a big part of my future, but here I am in my first job out of Drama School and I’m spending months at a time away from my family, my boyfriend and my friends. I am so happy to have the opportunity to travel whilst doing what I love, but of course, sometimes, it’s hard to be so far away from my loved ones. Here are some ways of dealing with it.

1. Take Advantage of Technology

Whatever your opinion on social networking, it becomes something else when you’re abroad. Facebook is such a great way to feel involved in your friend’s lives without being there. Barely a day goes by without me having some sort of interaction with a friend online, and that makes me feel closer to them. Skype is also wonderful – I talk to my family and my boyfriend regularly on Skype. White Horse has been going for over thirty years now, and I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for actors in the past who were touring for up to four months at a time without so much as a mobile phone. We are so lucky to live in the age we do where the face of a loved one is available at the click of a button.

2. Make the Most of ‘Me Time’

Friends, families, partners, they’re wonderful. But they also take up a lot of time! When living in Birmingham during my training I filled much of my time by spending it with the people around me. When you’re touring with only three other people, you naturally want to take breaks from each other. But of course, there are no other people around, so of course you find yourself with a lot more ‘me time’ than you might have had before. This especially applies when you’re doing jobs like mine, which are morning only. I often find myself having finished work by twelve and with a huge stretch of time ahead of me to fill up.

Sure, it can feel lonely sometimes, but it’s not often that you have this kind of opportunity to really focus on yourself. Since coming out here to Germany, I have read several books, I’ve been writing articles and blog posts, I’ve been learning German, I’ve been practicing juggling… In November I even partook in National Novel Writing Month – a challenge to write fifty thousand words in thirty days. There are so many ways you can choose to fill up your time, so use the opportunity for some self-development.

3. ‘Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder’

It’s a tired old phrase, I know, but it has a LOT of truth behind it. One of the best sides of my job is that I get proper breaks during the school holidays. After four months away from home, I was so ready for it. And I had the BEST holiday of my life. We didn’t do anything in particular, it was very much the same as many of my previous Christmas breaks. But I was just so darn happy to be with the people I love the most. Every moment was special and I enjoyed the company of my family all the more for having been away from them so long. It was genuinely the nicest couple of weeks I’ve had in a long time. And that makes it totally worth it.