American Journeywoman Heather Burns-DeMelo is a woman (with wanderlust) currently disguised as an Assistant Editor and freelance writer. Her past jobs have included working as a divemaster in Thailand, a kiddie teacher in Taiwan, and a fire twirler in Malaysia. Now a mother of two, she anxiously awaits her next opportunity to jet-off somewhere exotic. Heather writes...
Here's the truth...
After traveling alone for
nearly three years, I came up with ways to meet new people, keep loneliness
at bay, or just keep myself occupied until fate sends someone my way.
Frequent an establishment...
Shortly after arriving
in a new place, I scope out local restaurants and coffee houses. When
I find one I like, I make it part of my daily routine to spend some time
there eating, reading, or planning my next destination.
By my second or third visit, the owner would warm up, refill
Seek out volunteer opportunities...
Learn something new...
Traveling provides opportunities
to learn new skills that will spice up your trip and send you home with
something to add to your resume...or at least impress a first date. Depending
on where you go, you can make your own drum in India, learn to whip up
authentic gourmet dishes in Thailand, call to wild animals with the didgeridoo
in Australia, or learn the ancient art of batique in Malaysia. As someone
who was certain that JAWS was a real-life
creature who spent his life cruising the ocean in search of me, signing
up for an Open Water SCUBA course opened up a new world, built up my confidence,
and provided me with lasting friendships.
Check out tour groups...
Even if you're traveling solo, you can still join a group now and then to meet new people or familiarize yourself with a new place. Most hostels and guesthouses offer informal, non-touristy treks, tours, and guided walks. When I first arrived in Athens, I was dismayed to discover that the street signs were in Greek, while my map printed them in English. I set out on foot, determined to discover the ancient city by myself. While I generally view getting lost as a welcomed adventure, I promptly returned to my guest house by taxi after nearly losing my leg to a pack of stray alley dogs. The next day, I joined other guests in my hostel on an informal tour of the city.
Traveling solo can be one of the most rewarding ways to see the world, but even the most seasoned globe-trotters can get lonely. Welcome those times as opportunities to reach out to others and try something new. But if all else fails...go shopping!
More solo travel motivation...
If you need further motivation to
try solo travel, here are a few more links you might like to follow...
Ed note: Want some travel shopping secrets? Click here
Interested in more tips to fight loneliness? Click here
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