Traveling Alone Without Loneliness
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
It is all too familiar of a feeling when traveling solo, or even with someone: loneliness. You miss your friends, your family, the luxuries back home, your bicycle, your crappy job. It can be overwhelming, especially if you are traveling for an indefinite time period, and at times you want to throw in your undersized-hosteling towel and call it quits.
However, before you do, you should read Robert Evans’ article at vagabondish.com suggesting ways in which to eliminate loneliness. Instead of zoning in on one’s emotional inner-tranquility — which I frustratingly find many “how-to” articles do — Evans provides practical advice on how to meet fellow travelers as well as locals. Whether it is packing onto crowded transportation or sitting in at a local gaming center, Evans prescribes that pushing one’s limits is the key to escaping the self-pity of solitude. I couldn’t agree more.
On our travels, we have all experienced the metaphoric, and sometimes literal, brick-wall. Instead of busting out the climbing gear, we want to turn around and walk back the way we came. Besides the 4 things that Evans describes in his article, the things that have helped me in the past are:
1) If you are anywhere for more than a month, get a cellphone. Not only is a cellphone handy in an emergency, but it’s easier to get in contact with new (and local) acquaintances. Locals don’t usually check their facebook 10 times a day to make arrangements for a coffee. Maybe it’s an Argentine thing (I think it’s a worldwide thing) but cellphones have made people spontaneous planners. You don’t keep up, you will be left behind. I tried doing the whole no-techno thing and my social life failed miserably. You don’t have to become a savvy user, just use it when you want to.
2) Evans talks about striking up conversations with random people and here’s an easy way to do it: Look lost or confused. People are inherently good and truly want to help you find your way. Something to keep in mind is to choose different locations for apparent lostness.
3) Now, to get philosophical: Don’t be afraid of being alone. Be independent and do your own thing. Being dependent, or a “klingon“, will not attract new buds.
By Brit Weaver
About the Author
Toronto born and based, Brit is an avid leisure cyclist, coffee drinker and under-a-tree park-ist. She often finds herself meandering foreign cities looking for street eats to nibble, trees to climb, a patch of grass to sit on, or a small bookstore to sift through. You can find her musing life on her personal blog, TheBubblesAreDead.wordpress.com.