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She Deals With Loneliness on the Road

My mom thinks that I'm intrepid...

I've travelled solo in France, Italy, England, New Zealand, Prague, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Canada, US, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore.
I admit that I still feel alone at times. That doesn't stop me from going alone. The rewards are too great. I hope these tips help another JourneyWoman.

(1) I take an English book to dinner. Usually somebody will spot the cover, stop by and talk with me about the book. If I'm near the end, I always ask the person next to me (especially in France and Italy where the books in English are not that readily available and are expensive) if they would like the book. This relieves me of continuing to carry it and I end up talking with somebody for awhile about the books they enjoy or have read.

(2) I take my CDs and listen to my favorite music.

(3) I always ask "Do you know where. . . I can find a good play, a good cafe, etc. in the neighborhood or near it? Again, it opens up the discussion.

(4) Always carry phone cards. Call home. Hear a friend or my mom's voice.
This always makes me feel -- they think I'm a very "intrepid traveller" and are excited about my adventures! I can't disappoint them.
Elizabeth, Seattle, USA

I meditate in a place of worship...

I travel almost everywhere alone. My independence is sacred to me because it means I can come and go as I please. It offers me the best way to give myself the most from life. Still there are some tough moments when I wish I had a 'someone known' beside me. At those moments I do a 'check' to find out if there are other issues going on inside. Am I extra tired, bored, in a restrictive business environment, or really lonesome?

(1) If I need to rest I can pick a small church for a short meditation, or return to my room for a rest with my MP3.

(2) If I am bored, I ask myself what I'd really truly deeply like and then I go do it. Do I need a facial? A massage? A good movie? A mall? A swim or workout? It doesn't matter what time it is, I try to take time to honor that need and fill it.

(3) If my business colleagues feel too much like starch I remind myself that that is why I am independent- to be free to be me at all hours of the day and night. Then, I figure out what I need to do to perk up the situation and I do it. A long stemmed red rose placed on a conference table with feminine delicacy and in silence followed by eye contact. Yep.

(4) Finally, if I am really lonesome, and that does happens, I will go where the people are and the energy is free. It could be a park, or a mall, or an intimate caffe. I go looking for people like me in places people like me hang out. What an energy booster that is! It's feels like home and the sense of isolation disappears immediately. It is much easier then to strike up a conversation with someone because there is more shared interests and nothing feels forced. I've always found that 'forced' increases my sense of alone-ness dramatically. That short or long, exchange is a win-win situation for both of us. It usually melts away that sense of loneliness and I'm renewed and refreshed, ready to move forward.
Roshanna, Lido di Venezia, Italy

I meditate at a concert...

When I feel sad and my sagging spirits are calling for help from loneliness on the road, I seek solace in music. No matter where in the world I am I book a ticket for a concert of any kind. Sometimes the pickings seem slim but the experience becomes wonderful as I get lost in the musical experience. The extra bonus is that I usually get the opportunity to chat with other people -- locals who love music as much as I do. I always leave feeling much better.
Caroline, Colorado, USA

I pack a pouch of tea...

I still remember my first trip, a solo 2 1/2 months 2-wheeled adventure throughout Europe early spring into summer. Here are some of my tips for fighting loneliness.

(1) Try to book accommodation with Hostels. You have a higher chance of fellow solo travellers equally eager to listen and share stories of daily travelling escapades. Beats talking to your big toe! When book into a business hotel, I sometimes check with the front desk or concierge on what events or places they might frequent if on their own.

(2) A great ice breaker is loose tea leaves in a pouch. Nothing beats a shared pot of hot tea and shared stories. Earl Grey always was my great travelling companion and a favourite shared tea in any countries.

(3) Smile. Other people will approach you and share as well.

(4) Pick-up travel information ahead of time or while at your destination. If on a business trip, I would speak to others (i.e. attendees at trade show who might have booth next door ) and ask if they've heard about whatever I'm thinking of attending. If they've never heard of it, I might extend an invitation to them. Next thing you know, you have a party coming along with you. Bye bye loneliness!
Shirley, Toronto, Canada

I watch my attitude...

I am 68, have travelled in my motorhome for months at a time, and I relish my solitude the most of all my treasures. Loneliness happens when my relationship to myself is incomplete, when I'm not my own best friend, when I talk in negatives to myself instead of appreciatively, and when I don't listen carefully to the quietness inside me. Thinking of being alone as lonely is very different from perceiving it as solitude. For starters, solitude is healing, restorative, and self-nurturing. Therefore, the experience of loneliness is an opportunity to get to know yourself better, deeper, more intimately. When this feels scary or impossible it is an extra special gift. How productive it is to sit quietly, alone, empty your mind, listen for the whispers of your unconscious, your deeper self, your soul. Safe spiritual journeys, everybody!
Jeanne, Atlanta, USA

I log on to my hometown paper...

To combat loneliness while travelling, I bring along a small photo book with not only photos of my friends and family, but also photos of my house, car, and anything else to remind me of home. And I subscribe to the online version of my local paper, so I can keep up-to-date with the latest news back in my home town. But the best cure for travel-induced loneliness is a prepaid phone card - and friends who don't mind you phoning them at three in the morning!
Robyn, Vancouver, Canada


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