It is all fun and games until we arrive at a dead end and realize we are traveling alone. Traveling is empowering, yet sometimes on the road loneliness creeps in. It is in the moments when you are surrounded by fellow travelers that the pangs of loneliness hit you the hardest.
I recently took a trip that made me realize you only need to follow a few rules when you feel the pangs of loneliness.
The first hack is to be spontaneous. Spontaneity comes naturally to many travelers. However, for introvert solo travelers, spontaneity can be quite the challenge. Even though it may be difficult to begin, once you do, you will start to feel freer and more in control of your own journey.
Forcing yourself to be spontaneous is a reminder that you do not need anyone else; that you alone are in charge of your destiny. So embrace the loneliness and let it empower you. Feeling excited and free will help distract from the loneliness.
BE OPEN MINDED
This is a mantra for every traveler. You cannot travel well if you are resistant to new possibilities. In India, people tend to be orthodox. For example, most Indians will not even touch beef. However, when I traveled to North Eastern India, I came across many food stalls where there were “Beef Momos” all around.
When I first saw them, I scrunched my nose. I had never eaten them and did not want to start now. Contrary to that initial reaction, I took the chance. From that moment until the last day of my trip, I survived on Beef Momos only. What I am trying to say is, if you are open minded, you will not need to surround yourself with like-minded people, you can make friends with anyone, over a plate of beef momos perhaps.
NATURE IS YOUR FRIEND
How can a person be lonely when they have the whole universe at their disposal? I seldom feel alone when I am sitting in a car or train and traveling around. It is not that I am not alone, but it is this that I let nature give me company.
My first experience traveling alone was in Puri, where I thought I would definitely feel alone. One day I saw the ocean’s water kissing the shores as I drove by, the magic struck me! I no longer cared that I was alone because I realized that nature and all its charm always walks alongside us.
LEARN TO TRUST PEOPLE
I am super paranoid, and by super I mean “take screenshots of every conversation because you never know who will turn against you” kind of person. Haha, I know I was a bit extreme. But, when I started traveling, I became someone different.
I had to trust the directions that strangers told me. I had to eat something a stranger cooked for me. I had to trust my driver not to kill me.
Traveling is a risk, it is a kind of bet you make on others and yourself. You need to learn to trust people, and if you do, you may stop feeling lonely.
KEEP A DIARY
I know it sounds kinda cheesy and old-fashioned, but believe me, the best way to not feel lonely when you are traveling is to talk to someone. When you are traveling, you will likely only talk to your guide or your fellow travelers if you have any.
The only person who will always listen to you is your diary. Maintain a diary where you can write all your day’s experience. It will be like you are pouring your heart out to someone and you will not feel lonely at all. I have a diary myself where I write all about my travels, it not only keeps you from being lonely but also keeps an account of your trips for you to enjoy later.
You already know music is the best cure. Riding in a car for several hours can be exceedingly lonely, so what do we do? If you have an awesome playlist, then a 4-hour long drive will seem like mere 15 minutes. Make sure you have songs that cheer you up and make you feel free. My playlist has all the “independent single women” kind of songs. I put it on, and it makes me feel good about myself that I can travel alone.
You can also have fun-loving songs so that you can enjoy yourself during the monotony of travel. Also, keep a “Lullaby” playlist ready, to encourage sleep when needed.
STAY AT HOMESTAYS
If you want to feel at home while traveling, what is better than staying in a Homestay? I was unsure when I booked my first Homestay. However, when the time came to check out, I didn’t want to leave. After that experience, I am convinced that staying with locals is the best way to travel.
By taking advantage of a Homestay, you get to experience local culture, you get to know the people better, and it gives you a dose of the pure essence of travel. The Homestay I stayed in had warm and friendly people, and I never felt like I was alone. Make sure you do a background check on the Homestay or Guest House you are staying at; you do not want to end up in trouble.
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL
It is hard to learn the ways of locals, but when you do it makes you feel like you belong. My recent trip to Gangtok was all about being a local. I ate like them, and I even sang like them. By singing I mean almost everyone sings here! The driver will switch on the music and start humming the songs. It is double fun if you join in with them and start singing it louder.
Anywhere you go, try living like a local. Once you feel like you belong, you will surely stop feeling lonely.
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May 29, 2017 5:17 pm 3 Comments