I often get a growing feeling of anguish and discomfort and why-did-I-put-myself-into-this-perhaps-tomorrow-morning-will-be-a-day-like-all-other-days-ever on the day before leaving home for someplace else. It's like preemptive home-sickness. This occasionally spreads to my familiars. This typically stops once I do leave, however, so it appears to not really conform to the definition of homesickness I found on Wikipedia:

Homesickness is the distress or impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from the specific home environment or attachment objects. [...] Homesickness is especially common in youth. Young people may experience a sense of dread, helplessness, or separation anxiety on their first day of school, summer camp, or on a protracted summer vacation away from the family.

(Emphasis is mine.)

Does this feeling have a name?

  • I'm not seeking medical assistance by the way :) – badp Aug 21 '11 at 16:45
  • No solution, but I feel for you. I think City (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_(novel)) by Simak has a description of such a situation. – Avi Aug 21 '11 at 17:05
  • 1
    Here's a colorful expression : heebie jeebies. – Autoresponder Aug 21 '11 at 17:28

As @Jeremy says, straight-up anxiety is a normal term for this context. Apprehension is similar but perhaps sometimes less forceful. I rather doubt English has any particular words that are especially associated with the anxiety that immediately precedes a long trip.

I don't think travel anxiety is particularly apt, to be honest. It's more likely to be interpreted as anxiety about the impending journey (travelling alone, fear of flying, worry about missing connecting trains/flights, etc.). OP specifically mentions "preemptive homesickness" as relevant, so we should assume the journey itself it not the focus of the anxiety.

It's not just metaphoric that many relevant expressions can also be used of an upset stomach. States of acute anxiety do often noticeably disturb internal visceral processes in this way. I therefore suggest OP gets the collywobbles, or has butterflies in his stomach. Both these expressions will ordinarily be interpreted as more forceful than simple anxiety.


Travel anxiety is a fairly common phenomenon.Depending on how acute the feeling is, cognitive therapy might be palliative / antidotal.


This is just straight-up anxiety, where you worry so much about the future that your fears and doubts spiral to the point where they're much worse than reality possibly could be. Depending on how severe it is it ranges from healthy anxiety to a mental health concern.

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