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The longer you stay abroad, the more crossing cultures will become an issue, as you get below the normal surface matters of tourism and into the seamy cultural underbelly. It is good to be aware of the adjustment cycle that most expatriates endure.

The cycle begins on a high, when everything is new and exciting. Sooner or later, though, your mood will decline as you face adjustment issues and the strains (mental, emotional, and physical) of travel. You will rebound, though, as you adjust, accept, and better understand your surroundings. There may be other ups and downs as you go on, as you face other changes in yourself and your surroundings. Everyone goes through the cycle at their own pace, so if you are traveling with someone, be aware that your respective mood swings may not coincide.

When I found the travel grind was getting to me, I usually called friends in Sweden, Italy or Germany and went to crash for a couple of weeks. A home away from home for down time is great, but it will be difficult to make close friends in a short time. Get around this by contacting any friends or relatives you may already have abroad, however distant. Send a card before you go, and be in touch when you get there. Most people are excited and delighted to meet friends of friends or long-lost relatives. Look them up!

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