Deals With Loneliness on the Road
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
(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
Elizabeth, Seattle, USA
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
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.
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
(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
(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.
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
Shirley, Toronto, Canada
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
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!