Backpacking and Beyond · Female Travel Hack · Inspirational Corner · Thoughts

Yes, Traveling Alone Does Get Lonely, And I Kinda Like It

The Colors Of Travel

We’re all too familiar with it. Travel based Instagram accounts filled with colorful pictures of places all around the world– from jaw-dropping landscapes and awe-inspiring architecture, mixed with mouth-watering shots of exotic food from different regions of the planet. Blog entries with stories so full and rich– leaving the impression to anyone who comes across it that travelers must have it all. They must be living the life.

Traveling is without a doubt a wonderful experience. To me at least, it’s pretty much as colorful as the photos that you see. Sometimes, the experience is even more vibrant than what we could ever attempt to document. And there are definitely some memories that we would never be able to articulate eloquently enough because words and pictures just wouldn’t do it justice.

But the truth is…

With that said, yes, social media is NOT real life. With all the beautifully curated accounts, captured adventures just doesn’t end there. Despite how colorful and lively the memory remains, sometimes, it’s not all rainbows and smiles. It’s not all yoga poses at a beach, or waking up fresh and dewy on top of a canyon. There’s usually more story to it, whether it be adventures or misadventures. Pictures, though said to be worth a thousand words, clearly isn’t always enough to tell the truth.

As I was laying in bed on my $16 hotel splurge in Mandalay trying to combat the flu and my own loneliness, I realized that THIS exact thing right here, is a vital part of traveling, yet somehow, many of us choose not to write about it. Travel has the reputation that it’s all fun and games… and though in reality, it kinda is, there are definitely some truths that goes in the shadow. Not because we’re in denial about it, or because we want to try to hide it from you. But because the experience of travel is far too amazing that in the end, we kind of forget about the struggle that we sometimes face. So before the idea of travel misleads you, I’m telling you right now that it’s not always as perfect as it looks. (But yup, most of the time, it is)

The Thing About Solo Travel

By the time you get the hang of solo traveling, you start to learn why you’re actually putting yourself through it. The first time I went officially solo, I did it because when I was younger and dreamed of traveling, I’ve always pictured doing it by myself. Not because I didn’t see a family in my future or anything, but that’s just how I automatically envisioned seeing the world. I’m not constantly traveling alone, but I do when I need to, and I do when I want to– which is quite a lot. The more I did it, I realize that I continue to do it because out of all the other ways I travel, going solo feeds my soul the best. I don’t have to convince you that any kind of travel is great, but like everything else in this world, some things just kinda one ups the other. I certainly do love traveling with my husband, but I feel that it does more for our relationship than my soul. It’s not a bad thing. But travel is very personal to me, so I crave going to places by myself a lot.

It’s true when they say that the thing about solo traveling is that you’re never really alone. And though I’d agree with it, I’m pretty sure no solo traveler would deny the fact that sometimes, solitary moments is just as essential as meeting people. Why look for it if it tends to get lonely, you might ask? Well, there’s plenty of reasons. But to me, I feel like that loneliness is a vital part of the process of a soulful travel experience. For me, it’s always been a great time to think and to organize my thoughts. Being alone let’s me understand my thoughts without being influenced by others. It has no boundaries on what I can think or feel. How narrow-minded I may actually be, or how wide I’d allow my perspective to grow. It lets me be…me. Completely and 100% just all me.

Inevitable Loneliness

Some of the most interesting people I’ve met were through traveling, and that’s definitely one of my favorite things about travel in general. But still, I crave to be alone here and there, and I already told you why. And when I am as I come across couples holding hands looking for restaurants to eat at for dinner, or a big group of friends exchanging the most genuine laughters, it makes you miss your people. Even if you’re not even alone, and you’re having awesome conversations with great people in the hostel, sometimes, although very rarely, it just hits. When shit happens and whatever city you’re in just doesn’t vibe with you, you start to feel lonely. Just like I did in Mandalay when I was sick. Or when everything is just too unfamiliar and somehow you’re not in the mood to immerse in something new, it gets pretty fucking lonely. And it’s not a feeling of homesickness, it’s just what it is. Loneliness.

Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Like I’ve said earlier, the loneliness is a part of it. It comes with the package, and if you’re traveling to learn about yourself and about the world, you have to allow yourself to feel all the emotions you come across. How else are you going to understand the way you feel about certain places or about yourself if you can’t let yourself be real about it? You can’t grow from covering up your loneliness by surrounding yourself with people all the time. You’ve gotta let yourself feel. Don’t mask it. If you feel empty, let yourself feel it. But don’t feel that way the entire time. Just give yourself time to think and to absorb whatever it is going through your mind. It’s seriously such a wonderful thing to do for yourself. And yes, you can definitely do this without traveling, but when you’re in a foreign place and you’re anonymous to the rest of the population, it does wonderful things when you just let it be.

So yes, Instagram isn’t real life. Pictures doesn’t narrate it all. You only see what we want you to see. It’s not always sunny where we’re at. The food is not always delicious. And getting lost sometimes isn’t always as great and adventurous as we make it sound like. And no, we’re not living the life. We’re simply just… living.

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14 thoughts on “Yes, Traveling Alone Does Get Lonely, And I Kinda Like It

  1. I travel with my husband most of the time, sometimes with friends, and sometimes to visit family.I guess it is safe to say I don’t like traveling alone. I want to share it with someone.


  2. I didn’t travel so much alone when I was younger – only on business. Now, I find travelling alone slightly poignant – not lonely as such, but I spend far too much time being introspective. I think it’s an age thing though…


  3. I’ve traveled solo and with my husband or family. Each one has their pros and cons. I enjoy being by myself so for me it’s not really feeling lonely, as it’s wanting my husband there to share in the amazing experience of where ever I am.


  4. I love travelling solo but yes, it can get lonely sometimes. Once in Thailand when I hadn’t really spoken to anyone for 11 days I let my guard down and befriended some pretty dodgy people. Now when I travel I embrace the ‘alone-ness’ and focus on the good things.


  5. I love this! I always get kind of annoyed when people say you’ll NEVER be lonely travelling solo… Of course you will, but that’s important too! I love my lonely moments on the road. That’s when I have the best epiphanies and make the most important decisions.


  6. I loved this post! I did a lot of solo traveling in Australia and it really makes you grow and be comfortable in your own thoughts and emotions. Now for the past 3 months I’ve been traveling as part of a trio, and I kept getting these urges to buck the group and go it alone. So I did for a few days, and felt totally re-balanced. Solo traveling is amazing.


  7. I have never really traveled solo – I have moved abroad for work and been lumped in a room with a stranger, but I don’t think I’ve ever really felt alone. I think because I have always been very independent and happy with my own company I don’t feel lonely when alone – but I can completely understand after traveling for a while how this could happen!


  8. I posted a pretty long comment a few days ago that apparently didn’t go through because my internet access has been shaky at best. This is a thoughtful, well-written and articulate post that resonates with me as someone who has been taking more and more opportunities to travel solo. I really enjoy solo traveling and the freedom it gives me, but I agree that you are never really alone when traveling solo (I think I’ve been alone for a total of a couple hours in all my solo travels!). But you’re right that, even though there are people around all the time, solo traveling can get lonely. And that is OK. Being introspective and taking time to become more in touch with your emotions on the road is a very important part of travel in my opinion!


  9. So beautifully and candidly written, Erica! I am the type of person who is very good at being by myself (not in an anti-social way!!) Like you stated, it’s such a great way to be 100% yourself, to organize your thoughts, and to learn about yourself more. However, I feel like travelling alone itself requires courage as well. I’ve been meaning to travel somewhere (even if it’s a short, local trip) on my own but has always been so hesitant because of fear of being sick or lonely… :/ Your post and your constant journeys are so encouraging, though! šŸ™‚


  10. Your absolutely right, pictures don’t always reveal the complete story behind,it’s exactly that story behind, the how and why and what that makes me curious and interest me! But I love photos too, sometimes not many words are needed and makes the viewer dream or create his or her own story, which can be fun too! I try to find a balance in them and use IG for the photos with only short content and the blog for more detailed info or the story behind the pic. Enjoy your day!


  11. For me Solo Travel means freedom, you go wherever, whenever and whichever you one to go..No boundaries and I luv your narration, its encouraging.


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