One thing that gets talked about all the time when it comes to solo travel is loneliness. One of the first things people say when you mention your travelling alone is “don’t you get lonely?” (that’s if there not telling you your brave.)
Of course I can see where they are coming from and why they would think like that. But I can honestly say for me personally I have felt less lonely whilst travelling solo than I did when I was back home. Of course everyone is different and everyone’s “home” lifestyle that they are leaving behind to go travelling is very different as well.
Although I have a very close family, I never really had a close group of friends that I was leaving behind when I started travelling. Like a lot of people do. I’m the kind of person that gets along really well with most people. I love meeting new people, I don’t like to judge and I will give anyone the time of day. However I’ve never found it easy to really connect with people, and forge lasting friendships.
I’ve never felt like I’ve really connected with too many people back in my home town in Essex. I never stayed in contact with my friends from school, I never really made any real friends at college and I don’t really talk to any of my friends from university any more. I had friends who I would go out with and have a good time with. However I never felt as if I had much in common with them, or was ever very interested in the topics of their conversation. As well as wanting very different things to them.
So I guess that has a big impact on my answer to the question.
I feel that I have more in common with a lot of the people I have met while travelling than the people I know from back home. There’s something interesting about the people you meet. We may have completely different opinions on many things. Have very different political or religious beliefs and be from completely different backgrounds and cultures. We may enjoy doing completely different things, and have very different taste in music. But the one thing many of us have in common is that we are not settling. We are not living a conventional life, not conforming to the 9-5 lifestyle. We are leaving the security of a constant job, a permanent abode and a place to call home. And setting off across the world to open our self up to different places, cultures, and experiences.
I feel there’s something in that that makes for great bonds & connections. I’ve made more friends that I feel I truly connect with since I started travelling 19 months ago, than I did in 26 years back home.
I see so many posts on facebook groups from people who are considering travelling alone. But are worried they will find it hard to meet people or that they won’t make friends. But the thing is many of the people that you cross paths with are going to be in the same situation and probably feeling the exact same way.
When you are staying in hostels, so many people are on their own and wanting to meet people and make friends. It makes everyone more open than they would be in their social circles back home and therefore much more approachable.
My personal experience during my time staying in hostels is that it is often harder to not meet people than it is to meet them. Sometimes I’ve arrived at a hostel intending to just chill on my own, because I needed some time to myself. But instead ended up meeting a group of people and going out drinking with them until silly o clock in the morning. When I was planning on actually getting an early night for once.
I would say to anyone that is thinking about travelling solo but worried they won’t meet people or make friends…