Taking in epidemics of nostalgia in the 18th century, NASA scientists looking at homesick astronauts, and generations of homesickness in refugee camps, travel writer Gail Tolley considers why home – and leaving it – is a far more complex experience than is often understood. Inspired by her childhood experience of homesickness, she argues that the condition is being felt particularly acutely in the 21st century, and looks for ways of relieving some of its symptoms.
It could be mild, an almost poetic longing. Or it could be visceral, deep, an overwhelming feeling that eats into your everyday life. Come with Gail Tolley as she introduces a deep dive into homesickness.
Gail Tolley delves into the history of homesickness and discovers that its rich past holds a clue to how we view the experience today.
Gail Tolley looks at homesickness through the eyes of three contemporary artists and finds powerful new themes of identity and connection.
Migrants and refugees cannot choose to return home, so homesickness becomes a profound and long-lasting feeling. This powerful force infuses migrant cultures, and is rarely given the serious attention it warrants.
Find out how homesick astronauts spend their free time, and how recreating home cooking from freeze-dried ingredients can cheer them all up.
About the contributors
Gail Tolley is a travel and culture writer based in Edinburgh. She has twice been the editor of popular culture magazines: Time Out London (2017–19) and The List (2012–14). She has contributed to National Geographic Traveller, the Independent and BBC Radio 4. Alongside working as a freelance writer and broadcaster, she also works in TV development.
Maria Rivans is a contemporary British artist known for her Surrealism-meets-Pop-Art aesthetic. With its unique approach to collaging, her artwork intertwines fragments of vintage ephemera, often with reference to film and TV, to spin bizarre and dreamlike tales. She exhibits work throughout the UK as well as internationally, including Hong Kong, New York and across Europe. Notable solo shows include the Saatchi Gallery, London and Galerie Bhak, Seoul.