You will often find me recommending solo travel to as many people as will listen to me. Being on your own on an adventure is one of the most liberating, uplifting and life-changing things you can do. You get to challenge yourself, try new things, forge friendships, learn how to really dig deep and be really truthful with yourself.
Solo travelling forces you to talk to people when you might normally just rely on the company of your travel companions.
It encourages you to go forth and follow your instinct. You get complete control over your choices and that is rather freeing.
However, sometimes it just gets lonely.
Sure, you’re meeting loads of new people and trying new friends. But after the twentieth time you’ve sat at breakfast answering the same ice-breaker-style questions (where are you from? where are you going? how long have you been travelling for? what do you do back home?) you get a little tired of the surface level conversations.
You just want to have a moment of comfort. The kind of comfort that only really comes from being around people that really know you.
It’s a tricky kind of comfort to find when you are away from home.
Trust me, it happens to the most independent and free-spirited of us.
So how do we deal with loneliness when travelling?
1. Call home
The most obvious, and possibly easiest, trick is to call home. Speak to your parents, have a natter with your best friend, ring your Grandparents … whoever will make you smile.
2. Skype it
Even better, get the old webcam out, most devices and laptops have them these days, and have a face-to-face chat with someone back home. You soon find that the familiar faces, tatty old sofa and wonky picture in the background will push all those lonely feeling away.
3. Find your national brethren
If possible try to find someone from your home country to chat to for a bit. There’s nothing like having a laugh over some shared experiences such as the cartoons you used to watch as kids.
4. Get pampered
If you are really feeling the lonely blues maybe treat yourself to some pampering. Hunt down the nearest spa and grab a massage or pedicure for a few hours.
5. Sign up for a meetup
Check out websites such as Meetup to see if there are any interesting meetups happening in your destination. This is particularly useful in cities.
6. Join a Facebook group
There are loads of Facebook groups dedicated to travelling certain regions, or discovering destinations, or even for travellers with certain interests. Get chatting and see if there’s anybody you can meet up with.
7. Put the devices away!
I’ve noticed this way more on my most recent travels – everyone has their nose in their smartphones, tablets, laptops and not talking to one another. So store your device away safely and strike up conversation with a real life human being instead.
8. Get sweaty
Often when we are feeling blue the best thing to do is get some exercise. Whether your tolerance level is walk in the park or a full blown cardio workout in the gym, exercise raises your endorphin levels to help you feel better about yourself.
9. Try slow travel
I’m a big fan of slow travel because I think it offers you the opportunity to build much more long-lasting and authentic relationships with people rather than rushing to tick off a list of destinations never stopping to chat.
10. Have a good cry
Sometimes you just need to let it all out.
11. Find a taste of home
Bacon. For me, this is the cure all for most kinds of blues. I do feel better after a good bacon sarnie. For you, see if there’s anywhere close by that could serve you up some food from home.