Even the most seasoned traveller can get lonely travelling solo. At some point during a long trip, the excitement of the unknown gets overshadowed by the loneliness and the need to share your experience with someone else.
I’ve travelled on my own quite a few times. My longest solo trip was about a month in South East Asia.
Me, myself and I sure can get lonely some times, but there are definitely ways to get over it!
Keep a journal
If you’re not used to keeping a journal, doing so while travelling is a good way to practice. Just write down anything. Seeing your experience and thoughts written down makes it more real and gives your trip more meaning. (Even if you have no one to share it with at that point in time.)
If writing really isn’t your thing, try making voice notes. I did this on a road trip once and recorded nearly every little thing I saw. It kept me entertained, awake and amused when I listened to it a few months later.
Make friends with a bartender
When you’re travelling solo, it can be daunting to go out on your own. Sitting alone at a bar just makes you a target for unwanted attention. Try going to a bar (whether it’s at your hostel or just any old place) while the place is still quite empty and strike a conversation with the bartender/waiter.
They’re used to having foreigners around and a little bit of conversation will help keep the loneliness at bay.
Join an organised tour
Even if you prefer making your own plans, consider at least one organised tour. You are sure to strike up a conversation with someone else joining, even if it’s just with your tour guide. You don’t always have to figure out everything on your own. Sometimes it’s nice just to join a group and tag along.
Having other people around you and listening to the tour guide will keep you out of your own head for at least a little while.
Learn something new
Whether it’s a local cooking class, a discovery dive or a guy at your hostel teaching you how to dance with pois, doing a new activity will help you engage with people and give your trip more meaning.
You will be forced to engage with people and you’ll walk away with a new skill. It’s a win-win situation.
Join a Couchsurfing community
Even if you don’t want to couch surf and stay with random people, be on the lookout for Couchsurfing communities in your area on Facebook. It’s a great way to learn about events and parties where most of the attendees are of a similar mindset. You don’t even have to know anyone, just show up. Everyone there wants to make friends.
Alternatively, you can try some meetup website or even Tinder. Just make it clear in your bio that you’re travelling and looking to hang out with people. Even change your preference to all genders and whatever age group you want to hang out with. I’ve met friends like this.
Message someone back home
Don’t get caught in the trap that you think you have no one to share your experience with because there’s no one next to you. Message someone back home. Tell them about what you did that day. I love hearing peoples random stories even if nothing in particular happened.
Also, send your mom a pic, I’m sure she’d enjoy it.
Set out to achieve goals
It’s easy to lose track of everything when you’re wandering about on your own. After a while, the whole trip can seem pointless if you’re not careful.
Have a goal that you want to achieve. Maybe you want to collect teaspoons from all the places you go to or maybe you want to taste all the local crafts beers This will give you a mission to fulfil and give your trip more meaning.
Above all, it will give you something to focus on outside of yourself.
Embrace the solitude
Lastly, embrace your situation. Being on your own from time to time is good. It allows you to see if anything is bothering you. Whatever surfaces, journal about it. Take it on when you get back.
Travelling is a time of exploring and discovery. (Both the outside world and your inner workings.) You will most definitely be lonely from time to time, but that’s just part of life. Make the most of it and embrace it.
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