Do I Get Lonely While Traveling?

Loving friends and concerned strangers ask me this question all the time.

The (befuddling) truth: nope, I don’t get lonely. I had lonelier bouts in my life “back home” than I do now, living in an RV and going from campground to campground.

Life’s Work

I think that when you’re doing what you want to do–are meant to do–it staves off loneliness. More than that, there’s no room for it. My mind and soul are full; they’re brimming with adventure and creativity. My mind has always been teeming–with ideas, sure, but it used to be laden with anxiety and fret.

Alone with My Thoughts

It’s a blessing and a curse, isn’t it, to be a thinker.

A Myers Briggs ENFJ, I take stimulation externally, but also find great pleasure in being alone to process. While I’m social and can chat easily, I don’t do well at parties or in clubs–too noisy and too many stimuli that distract me.

So traveling solo is actually a treat. I get information and inspiration, and then have the time to sit back and observe and absorb. That’s not to say friends aren’t welcome–I love traveling with others. There’s more laughter, more questions, more insight.

Paula Phone Home

There’s this new fangled technology called a phone that lets me talk to people I love. I call Dad to ask why water towers are so tall (to be higher than the highest point they serve so gravity can do its thing); I call my brother when I’m in a place that I shouldn’t be and need someone to know; I call friends and cousins because that’s what you do whether traveling or not.

Add email and Facebook and I feel connected to the lives of the people most important to me and to my extended community; and readily laugh and cry with them.

40 Year Old Adopts Family

I’ll adopt myself into a family for a hike or a day, as needed. I prefer not to hike solo if I can help it. So I’ll speed up or slow down to match their pace, and hover in a way that may actually be rather creepy. I’ve started to tell them what I’m doing so they’re not irritated (or frightened) by my presence.

On the rare occasions that I’ve gone on a formal tour, I’ve adopted myself into a family for the day and shared observations, meals, laughs–and it’s been a delight (at least for me).

Neighboring campers and campground staff take very good care of me. There’s a camaraderie among RV’ers in general, but my solo-woman-ness brings out a protective nature that I’m happy to exploit, err, benefit from.

Lonely is a State of Mind, not of Circumstance

We’ve all felt lonely at home, with loved ones, at a party, at a party thrown for us. Loneliness is about where your soul is, not where you physically are.

My soul is in a good place. My body is in America.

Waimea Canyon Hawaii

***

Have you traveled alone? What was the experience for you?

11 Responses

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Your joy for living and travel shines right off the page. I agree with all you’ve said but I know that there are so many folks who do feel ‘aloneness’ and are not as gregarious as you are. It takes these people longer to feel the joy that you feel inately. That’s why I devote lots of my posts at journeywoman.com to helping people find the comfort level that you already have. Safe journeys!

Evelyn – thanks for the reply, the support, and the RT. Journeywoman is incredible (and an awesome name).

12.19.12

Lovely! And completely agree!

Everything you said resonated for me. I think we might have a lot in common. Are you an oldest child? I enjoy my trips as a trailing spouse where part of the trip is for work for my husband. While he’s off with his science peeps, I get my alone time and because many of his work trips are invitations by local universities, I get to meet interesting people at dinners or other events planned for him. I still have my RV trip fantasy which he doesn’t share. Oh well.
Just One Boomer (Suzanne) recently posted..How to Visit London Without Breaking the BankMy Profile

Suzanne – i’m the baby, but just of two. But an old soul… So glad you find ways to make travel special for both yourself and with your husband.

Love this post! You are truly lucky and this picture show how happy you are!! How right you are my friend, when your soul finds a home you are no longer lonely!!!

xoxo

12.19.12

Makes me miss you even more!

12.19.12

Life is an adventure and you have embraced it fully! It is such a pleasure to see this radiant photo of you.
I have traveled alone. The first few days were an adjustment to the solitude. Not in a bad way. Just an adjustment. Then I really took in the beauty of having space and time to experience Brasil, make friends (if I felt like it) or be my own best company if I didn’t. Very good trip.

Regina – you’re often my own best company…

Your Comments

I can so relate. How fortunate that you have discovered your niche — your unique way to connect with the world. Some never do.

Diane

12.19.12

Great post and so true!

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