I've been travelling solo
for twenty-three years and I absolutely love it. It wasn't always like
this. I remember my first solo journey to Europe. It was just after my
divorce and I couldn't stop crying. I cried on park benches in Paris,
in restaurants in Rome and even as I shopped in London. No, it wasn't
simply because my heart was broken. I know now that my sadness was all
about being totally alone, without a support system, and not having another
human being to share my travel experiences with.
I still get lonely...
Since that time I've worked on learning the art of solo travel. Today's newspaper articles and magazine stories applaud my seeming ability to venture forth all alone. Bold adjectives like brave and intrepid inevitably find their way into journalists' descriptions. Yet few explore the underlying truth. I still feel alone when I travel. That's natural because I am alone. In fact, at times I experience extreme loneliness. Now I enroll in classes along the way, seek out restaurants with communal tables or use my solitude to relax and just be me. The difference between that first solo journey and now is that I have acquired the experience and the skills that help me to deal with the 'aloneness' and to reach out for company when I need it. Actually, in a lovely turnaround way, it is this reaching out that has produced incredible experiences that make me love 'solo travel' even more.
In a past newsletter I asked other travelling
women to share their thoughts on loneliness. Do they feel lonely as well?
Any solutions to offer ? Has loneliness stopped them from going off to
follow their journey dreams? Here is a sampling of e email responses from
the Journeywoman Network. Some submissions are serious, others lighthearted,
however we found each one helpful in their own special way. Enjoy everybody!
Cybercafes are my link to home...
Beverly, Winnipeg, Canada
I'm a woman who knits...
I learned to knit recently,
and avid knitters are never without their knitting, especially when travelling.
It's a distraction from loneliness and boredom, as well as a good conversation
starter. People invariably ask what it is that I'm knitting, then tell
me about their own knitting or a friend who knits, etc. I've met lots
of nice folks this way, as well as fellow fiber artists and fashion designers.
P.S. I've had no problems
bringing (wooden) knitting needles on planes. Just leave your scissors
and tapestry needles at home or pack them in your checked baggage.
I gave someone a birthday party...
Evelyn, Toronto, Canada
I give myself presents...
A great way to deal with
loneliness on the road is to take along gifts. I put aside any small ones
at Christmas or my birthday. Not that I receive so many gifts, but if
no one minds, I just don't open smaller gifts when they are given and
save them for times when I expect to feel low. When I open one I feel
loved and connected and surprised. It's a real pick me up.
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