There are so many people that will tell me that they don’t know how I travel alone because they could never do it. The more I probe, and the more I write for this blog, the more I realize that it isn’t always a financial impediment that prevents women from traveling alone. There are safety concerns and family concerns that need to be addressed. So I am going to try to address as much of this as possible. The following is my guide to avoid feeling lonely when traveling alone.
Start with small steps to build your own identity:
I am a single, black, female with no children. There are some people who have kids that they are taking care of. There are some women who have a significant other who they spend large amounts of with. I get all of that. I still think it that an important part of avoiding loneliness is being in touch with yourself.
When you are all alone how do you see yourself? If you can’t find ways to identify yourself that is not wrapped up in another person then you are going to have a tough time spending days on end without those people. It doesn’t have to be something big. You can identify as a coffee drinker or a person who loves to read books.
When you find ways to enjoy your own company, it will be easier to travel alone.
Don’t Fight the Loneliness:
This may be a tip that appears to go against everything that this blog post should be about. I am sure there is someone out there who is wondering why they should embrace loneliness when they are trying to avoid it. Simply speak, one of the best ways to avoid loneliness is to be able to identify it within yourself and deal with whatever is causing you to feel that way.
Maybe your feeling of loneliness has nothing to do with being away from friend and family. It could be that you have a seasonal disorder. Maybe you need fresh air and to get out in the sunshine. Could it be that you are hungry or dehydrated and your emotions are running ragged.
If you can accept your feeling of loneliness and see that it is a temporary condition that you can move past, then it becomes less of a battle to overcome it.
Build Up Your Tolerance:
I have a friend who says that she doesn’t even go to the grocery store by herself. To put her on a place and fly her to another country, by herself, for 5-10 days would in no way be beneficial for her. If there are other people who have similar feelings then it is important to build up your tolerance.
You may want to start with a smaller trip or somewhere that is close to home. I made the decision to just send myself on a 22 day road trip by myself. I find that my tolerance is best built by just jumping off the cliff.
If you are different you can try smaller trips. You can try some of the Groupon experiences that are already planned out. You can try trips with another person so you can work through the pitfalls before trying it yourself.
Build a Support Network:
Building a support network is important for any solo traveler. I would suggest that you join a couple of support groups. I am part of several facebook traveler groups for female travelers and I see posts all the time of women traveling by themselves. It is such an inspiration to see women traveling the world.
In addition to serving as an inspiration, there are people in this group that support me and my solo travel. These groups provide me with sounding boards to bounce ideas off of, people to check in with, and a network of people who help to keep the loneliness at bay.
Stay Booked & Busy:
A great idea of keeping the loneliness away from you is to say busy. It is a lot easier to feel like you are alone if you are actually alone. If you create a schedule for yourself with activities that you enjoy then you are less likely to feel lonely. Frankly, you won’t have the time to feel lonely because you will be fun and when you come back you will satiated and ready for bed. I mean, hopefully that is what happens.
Talk to Strangers:
During my travels I have met more amazing people than I can possibly count. If you are starting to feel lonely then you can almost always find a new friend. You can find people to speak with in almost any location. I have found people to speak with in diners, coffee shops, book shops, different tourist sites, everywhere. There are so many nice people that are willing to engage in conversation.
Try to Stay Healthy:
So, this will tie into the suggestion below. It is very important to make sure that you are staying healthy. By “healthy” I mean that you should be paying attention to what you are eating and try to stay hydrated. If you are stuffing yourself with fried foods and sodas, I can assure you that you won”t feel like doing much. Bad eating will more than likely exacerbate your loneliness.
I don’t mean to suggest therapy as shade. My sole purpose in suggestion therapy is that anxiety or depression are incredibly real problems for people and it can prevent anyone from living their best lives. If anxiety or depression are at the crux of why you can’t or won’t travel by yourself then you may want to see someone who can provide relief. There are natural and pharmaceutical cures to such thing and it may be worth looking into.
Stay Away from Negative People:
This isn’t the easiest thing in the world but it is definitely helpful. At the very least, learn to keep some of your travel ideas to yourself. There are a number of nasty things that people will say to me that will really put a damper on a trip if I allow it. Instead I choose to plan my trips in silence and enjoy them at my own pace.
Seriously, if people make you feel bad about traveling alone then they just can’t be part of your travel journey. If people are dropping out of trips that you try to plan or preventing you from traveling on your own, then lease their asses and live your best life regardless.
Do it Because You Want To:
Traveling by yourself isn’t a punishment. I’m going to repeat that because I really want this to sink in: TRAVELING ALONE IS NOT A PUNISHMENT. If you are viewing solo travel as a punishment or a last resort then you are starting a journey will bad intentions and that rarely will end up well.
There are so many ways for you to plan a trip that is filled with safety, adventure, and joy. Doing anything less than that is really doing yourself a disservice. If no one else want to travel with you, if people pull out of a trip, if there is someone hating, leave their ass behind and enjoy your trip.
There you have it. My tips on not feeling lonely when traveling alone.