But don’t you get lonely traveling solo?
Short answer: no. Long answer: no, not really.
For almost 6 months now I have been traveling the world solo. And I don’t just mean I left my home country to live abroad and start a life elsewhere, I mean that I have been traveling around Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa solo. Later this year I will also visit North America, South America, and Canada… before returning home to Australia to see in the New Year with my family. Then I’ll be back on the road solo again.
So the question of whether solo travel is lonely or not has been flowing in for months now in its’ various forms.
First off, I’m not a brick wall. Emotions don’t bounce off me. Quite the contrary, I’ve always been heavily effected by my emotions and what is going on around me. Put simply – I’m a big softie.
But I’ve learned to love my own company. More importantly, I’ve learned to love myself.
The matter of self acceptance is something we tend to underestimate and certainly don’t give enough attention to. But it is true that when you learn to accept yourself, and I mean completely and utterly accept yourself for who you are, you automatically realise just how powerful self acceptance can be. Before you know it you have an air of confidence you never knew to exist, you have a spring in your step to conquer each and every day, and you begin to achieve things you never knew you were capable of. Not just that, it all seems to come naturally.
But I haven’t always been happy with myself in a way that has led me to truly enjoy my own company.
The two most prominent features that distinguish ‘alone time’ from ‘being alone and travelling solo’ are:
Whether you’re taking a solo trip for a week, a month, or a year, no matter how long you are going for that is presumably going to be the longest amount of time you have spent in solidarity. Sure, you might meet people here and there, but essentially you will be on your own. You know that any point these people could up and leave and head onward to their destination and then you will be back to where you started – alone.
Now that sounds like a pretty tough situation to be in for most of us… especially when the second prominent feature of solo travel comes into play – challenges.
I’m talking about those times where you get on the wrong train heading for Germany instead of Hungary and have a panick attack on the train knowing you are going in the complete opposite direction.
I’m talking about those times where you physically injur yourself in the street whilst carrying 30kg of luggage and have no way of getting anywhere but to suck it up and keep going, even if you know it is now going to take you an hour to get to where you need to be.
I’m talking about those times where you arrive at your accommodation and it is not even remotely what it looked to be on the internet but you have nowhere else to stay because there’s an event on in the city that week and the only alternative is to lose your deposit and pay 4 times as much on an alternative hotel.
Challenges – they are inherent to travel, not just solo travel.
But a wise woman once told me the following…
It’s not about what happens to you that defines you, it’s how you react.
For some reason we see challenges as an obstacle – a blockade in the road, if you will. But if we are happy within ourselves, confident of our capabilities, and take this as an opportunity to prove ourselves and our character (to no one but ourselves, mind you), then challenges can be overcome.
Solo travel is hard. It requires a lot of time on your own and a full sense of reliance on yourself to solve your own problems.
But it’s important to stop seeing this as a bad thing and start seeing it as an opportunity to learn, grow, and accept yourself.
As soon as you accept yourself, you will enjoy your alone time without any effort. This and so much more in your life will begin to flow naturally.