Deals With Loneliness on the Road
talk to myself...
I travelled solo
to Spain and was staying for one month, so I posted a note for
a travelling companion. I got a response from a man (gay and perfect!)
who could meet up and travel with me. We got along really well,
but he went to Greece while I had another five days of holiday
left. I never thought I would feel disoriented and alone on my
first trip to Europe but there I was feeling really blue. I was
getting so desperate that I even tried to change my return ticket,
but to no avail. The weather was rainy and cold, not the ideal
for touring around. I decided to really push myself and go beyond
what I ever thought I was capable of. I checked the weather report
that night, found a warm and sunny climate in the southeast of
Spain and the next morning, I boarded a train and headed for the
sun. It was not as exciting as it might have been had I been travelling
there with someone else, but given the circumstances, 'wasting'
five days in the south of Spain was not so bad.
can be lonely, but that is part of the experience. In retrospect,
I had a great time and I would do the same thing again. I'm so
glad that I couldn't change my ticket and come back to Canada.
I'd feel like such a whip if I had to tell people that I couldn't
find anything to do in Spain so I came home early. I send my greetings
and support to all the JourneyWomen out there who have the opportunity
to go on a trip even if you do get lonely.
give myself options...
Loneliness on the
solo-travel road gives you two options, both of which can be fun.
First, you could just go with it. Pour out your heart in a journal
with a glass of wine or two. But then treat yourself to a lazy
and pampered evening in your hotel, giving yourself a facial,
manicure and bubble bath. Shop for the supplies you need at a
local pharmacy or department store.
The second option
is to fight lonely feelings with action. Talk with your hotel
desk staff, the local tourist office staff (or a local newspaper
if you read the language) and find out what entertainment options
are available. Then buy a ticket and attend the cultural event
that most appeals to you - theater, dance, jazz, symphony or neighborhood
piano bar. Once there, initiate conversations with the people
near you - easy to do with an opening line of, "Excuse me,
I'm new here and I wonder if you could tell me..."
Sharon, Atlanta, USA
I've been studying
in Australia for the past 3-4 months and I found that joining different
clubs made a big difference. I'm not your average age student (I'm
44) and to have moved to a completely different world (I'm Canadian)
was quite a challenge. But I joined a bushwalking club and a cycling
club and that keeps me busy enough on the weekends and I don't feel
Anita, a Canadian
practiced solo dining...
Dining solo requires
practice. A woman contemplating traveling solo can start by dining
solo in her hometown and then moving out to test her skills on day
trips to neighbouring towns. Honestly, this works! This way she
will be used to entering a restaurant solo, negotiating a decent
table and ordering and eating with (not 'by') herself. A book or
magazine to thumb through is a good prop, even a small notebook
where she can take notes is good. I use my solo dinner meals as
a time to write notes and feelings about the day. P.S.
I never worry about the idea that people are seeing me
alone. Judging from the bored looks on some of their faces, I think
they might rather be alone, too.
Los Angeles, USA.
stay in hostels or smaller hotels...
I have traveled solo
for more than 15 years, and know that loneliness (or fear of it)
is something that stops many women from setting off on fabulous
adventures. Here are just a few of my recommendations to combat
that awful feeling of being along.
(1) Never enter
a restaurant without a book or journal. Instead of sitting and
staring at the wall while waiting for your meal, you can keep
yourself occupied and feel less self conscious.
(2) Take yourself
out. One of the ways to combat loneliness is to refuse to let
it control your actions. So don't eat at the cheapest restaurant
in town hiding your head in shame. Put on your nicest dress and
take yourself to the best hotel in town. If you can't afford to
eat the restaurant, buy yourself one drink in the lounge. I've
done this in places as far away as Rangoon and Hanoi and it never
fails to make me feel special.
(3) Join small
group day tours. One of the ways I consistently meet others is
by taking short tours. For example, a day tour of Lake Titicaca
in Bolivia set me up with a number of Argentinean and Brazilian
travelers who accompanied me for the next several days.
(4) Stay in smaller
hotels or hostels. They're much friendlier places. You might ask
to join a table of people at breakfast or sit in the lounge in
the evening and see if anyone asks to join you.
(5) While you're
away, take a class or language lessons. Most schools set up events
to get people together. And you will surely meet others in class.
I keep telling myself that there are just too many places
to go and too many people to meet for me to ever get lonely while
Sherri, Boston, USA
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