Deals With Loneliness on the Road
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.
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!
are my link to home...
I do feel lonely
at times but that doesn't stop me from travelling all by myself.
Going alone allows me the freedom to do what I want to do
when I want to do it. However, I can't bear being away from
my family for long stretches of time and not knowing what's
happening back home. My survival plan is finding
out beforehand where the cybercafes are located at my destination.
Then I seek these places
out and get daily updates from my clan. They even send digital
photos as a special treat.
a woman who knits...
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.
Theresa, Atlanta, USA.
gave someone a birthday party...
Reach out! That's
my cure for loneliness. Travelling to Paris by train I struck
up a conversation with a young American woman twenty years
my junior. She told me it was her birthday -- the first time
she wasn't celebrating with family and friends. I invited
her out to dinner and then to a French dubbed Woody Allen
movie with English subtitles ( hilarious!). We had a great
time. It didn't make a huge dent in my travel budget and I'll
bet that she remembers that celebration as vividly as I do.
I hope that one day someone does the same for me.
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
Cyndie, Morelia, Michoacan,