One of my friends asked me how I don’t get lonely since I’ve been traveling for 3+ months. Well, you do get lonely. I have had a lot of moments where I say “man, I wish someone was here with me.” However, that is one of the best learning experiences you can have and a great opportunity to build some character.

The bottom line for myself is that I’m not going to wait for people if they’re not going to join me. There is way too much in this world to see and I will see it all by myself if I have to!

If you travel for a while, loneliness will strike you at some point. Here are the moments that it has happened to me:

  • When you go around a park or a romantic place and see other couples.
  • People taking group photos of their friends or loved ones.
  • Having dinner.
  • Not knowing what to go do.

There are a lot of different ways to remedy lonliness when being abroad by yourself. Here are a few things I’ve done:

Surround yourself around people, even if they are strangers.

When I was in Barcelona in the beginning, I would go to my local cafe and read outside. I was around people, but wasn’t really talking to anyone. After a week or so I started sitting at the bar to talk to the baristas. That’s another story though. The point is you need to put yourself in a place where people can talk to you. Having your headphones on and reading a book is not going to likely have someone engage in a conversation with you. This last one applies for people back home in Seattle as well.

Find people to interact with

I have had many conversations with people where the intial question was “can you take my photo?” or “how do I get here?” I have to confess that once I did ask a cute girl for directions despite knowing how to get to the place already. You will find along the way that there are a lot of people like you traveling alone and they are possibly looking for someone to have a conversation with as you are.

Have something that you can do everywhere you go

After seeing Amelie for the 7,000th time, I decided to buy a Darth Vader action figure and photograph it all around the world. With Vader Vacation, it gives me a challenge of looking for places to discover while being put at risk of getting laughed at. I’ve had many good conversations about why I take a Darth Vader action figure around everywhere.

Get out of that comfort zone

One of the best things I have done so far was in Paris, when I asked the cab drive to drive around for 10 minutes and just drop me off somewhere. I made it a point to get lost and find a way back.

Conclusion

Traveling can get lonely, but there is so much you can do on your own to make it an adventure. If you get lonely or homesick, email your friends, share your adventures or call them on Skype. Here are a few benefits of traveling alone:

  • You have absolute control over what you want to see and do.
  • It forces you out of your comfort zone to meet other people and potentially build some confidence.
  • You become better at navigating through cities and public transit.
  • Gives you a lot of time to reflect and think about your life out of the context of being at home.

It’s great to travel with friends or loved ones, but there is much to learn when traveling alone. Happy travels!