To a lot of people, loneliness can be a familiar feeling. It doesn’t have to be constant, doesn’t have to be something negative, but something that we all go through at some point. Be it because of an empty house, people leaving or solo travelling, this feeling seems to grip you all of a sudden and not much can be done to help it.
Travelling on your own, it’s easy to feel lonely, perhaps when you get back to the hostel, late at night and not having someone to chat with, perhaps roaming around the streets and seeing something that reminds you of someone who is not there with you. You miss that person, wish they were there so you could maybe pop into the bar and get a pint together, spending some time with a familiar face and enjoying together the uniqueness of the place.
Some people revel in loneliness, some hate it. I am a mixture of both, as I do enjoy my alone time but also deeply crave the company of others sometimes. I love people, communicating and creating relationships. I like to experience things but also to have someone to discuss them with, have a conversation and share different perspectives. It’s nice to be able to share something new and create memories together, meeting later on in time and reminiscing those times spent together in that place, on that date, a small secret you both share and keep hidden in the back of your mind.
Loneliness is inevitable and shouldn’t scare you away – it’s a part of travelling and a part of life itself. It doesn’t need to make you sad and you shouldn’t look at it as something negative, but an experience to go through in order to grow and learn to come to terms with yourself. Being alone, out there, on your own, can really help you focus and have a positive impact on your perception of yourself, as scary as it might sound.
At the same time, being lonely doesn’t necessarily mean being alone. Sometimes we might be surrounded by people, even friends, and still feel lonely. It’s a feeling that I am still trying to wrap my head around to this day, sometimes coming up in my heart with no apparent reason and no events to cause it. One minute you’re fine, the next your heart seems a thousand pounds heavier as you look around and feel as lost as ever. It might be because someone is missing, or simply because you feel the need for some time to yourself, an opportunity to shut everything out, close your eyes and focus on your mind.
Either way, loneliness can come in many forms and can surface at the most unexpected times, leaving us with little to fight it with and forcing us to come to terms with our emotions in order to stay focused. When travelling, I fight it by keeping in contact with friends and family, messaging them or sometimes even calling them to tell them about my day, the new things I have experienced or my plans for the future days. That’s the beauty of the technology I discussed in my previous post, earlier commenting on its power to surround our everyday lives and making us feel small, now praising it for allowing us to maintain contact even when far. Odd, isn’t it?
In the end, travelling is a two-way street. Some like to be completely on their own, some like company. Some like a mix of both. One day I might wake up and just explore, without feeling the need to speak to anyone, the next I might stay on the phone all day talking to a friend. The next one I might just go out and speak to strangers, creating new friendships and perhaps connecting with other lonely people looking for some warmth.
At the end of the day, these are all parts of life. We’re not on our own and, despite the fleeting feeling of loneliness, we have to keep thinking that it’s going to be gone in a while and that we should instead exploit it to make sense of those things we might not have time to think about normally. Loneliness is also a pot of gold for writing and artistic expression, where you lower your guard and let the feelings flow. Why not make a positive out of it then, exploring ourselves and digging a bit deeper, in order to come out richer than we were?
With that said, I turn the question back to you: do you ever feel lonely? If so, what do you do about it? Do you just let it wash over you or do you try to fight it back? Do you think it’s a positive or negative feeling? I would love to hear some other points of view!
As always, I hope you’re all having a lovely day and I will see you at the next post. Also, if you like the blog posts, feel free to hit the follow button on the right side of the page! 🙂