Why sometimes solo travel sucks!
Do you know the feeling, when you wake up in the morning and actually nothing is wrong, but somehow you have this strange feeling in your guts and nothing feels right at all? And then you look out the window and it’s raining???!!!
That’s how I felt this morning!
I am in beautiful Mexico and I am traveling since 15 month now. I get the chance to see so many great places every day and meet so many beautiful souls along my way, but nevertheless I feel a bit sad and lonely right now.
When people get to know that I am traveling for such a long time already and not planning on stopping soon, they usually react with astonishment, they envy me for what I chose to do. I chose to take care of myself, nothing wrong with that. For some it might seem selfish, but for me it is creating my own happiness, living the freedom!
But you know what … it’s not always fun! As a solo traveler you also ‚pay‘ the price for your freedom.
People have the idea that the big adventure is all about having fun and yeah partly it’s true, I have loads of fun, but there are also times, where it simply sucks and I need to deal with all kinds of emotions, most of them not pleasant ones!
Why does it suck to travel solo ?
For me there are a view reasons why it sucks and here they come.
1. I can’t share things I experience, which I feel, with the people I love most !
I will give you a couple of examples.
As I was in Sapa – Vietnam, I stayed at a homestay .. one of the most beautiful parts of Vietnam.. being surrounded by rice fields and mountains, somewhere what seemed like the end of the world. I got up for sunrise … listening to my favorite quiet tunes .. being right there in the moment. The first sun rays creeped out from behind the mountains and hit my skin .. it felt warm and comfy! I was immediately flashed by it!
It was one of the most intense moments of the past 15 month and I felt the need to have people I love around me! But nobody was there and I felt sad and lonely! I missed my twin sister, I missed my parents, I missed my grannies (may they be happy in heaven), I missed my dear friends and started to cry and I couldn’t stop at all for several minutes, was shaking! Maybe that’s a women thing, maybe not. I don’t know if men experience something similar!? (let me know please).
Another time as I was in Sulawesi, I was at a mountain top overlooking a lake, feeling the strong wind. A local guy took me there, Luiz one of the sweetest persons I met in Sulawesi. There were only the two of us, nobody else around. I knew Luiz since a day by then … I was so smitten by what mother nature gave me there and then .. I felt eternal freedom, joy, happiness and sadness at the same time! It can be so overwhelming to have this all in once ….wow! I said to Luiz.. I feel like screaming … and he said: go for it! So I did, I screamed and tears were slowly running down my cheeks… You get it… happiness and sadness at the same time!
And again I was left there alone with my feelings! Nobody I could hug and feel in peace with!
But there are more reasons why traveling solo sometimes sucks!
2. I hate good byes, I hate letting go
By now you know already, that I am quite an emotional person. I don’t appear to be one, but deep inside of me, I am. Not everybody gets to see this side of me, especially not people who I spend only a couple of hours with! But people I start to connect with and who make the effort of getting to know me, will figure it out quite quickly!
This emotional side of me breaks out whenever it feels like breaking out and sometimes I can’t and I don’t want to control it. I need to let go of all of it! It’s almost like a ticking bomb which explodes soon, if I can’t release the pressure I am feeling.
That might be a scream of joy and happiness or tears full of pain and sadness!
I am a social person and I don’t struggle to meet people. But only with some of them I connect deeper by having intense conversations, sharing parts of my life and sharing my feelings. And then there comes the time again to say good bye. Every long-term traveler knows what I am talking about. You get along well, you connect, you have fun and then out of a sudden, everybody goes their own way (and that’s ok too)… and there you are again, all alone by yourself. It hurts to let go of people I like, people I connect with, people I even like a little more than just like. That sucks big time and I hate letting go!
Do I / Do we need to let go??? hmm another, philosophical question … I can’t answer!
Getting attached to someone while long-term traveling is nearly impossible! I have read of cases where that happened and I am happy for them! It didn’t happen to me yet .. I am still enjoying my being single-freedom :)
But how to deal with all the emotions???
3. Dealing with emotions all by yourself
Everybody is different, I can only tell you, how I do it.
To be honest .. sometimes I just push them away! But more often as I mentioned above already, I need to let them come out of my cage or I gonna explode inside.
Happiness is easy. I feel good, people see it, people feel it and everybody is ok.
But loneliness and sadness are the ones who are tough to deal with! I am single, so no partner next to me, who can offer a shoulder to cry on. My twin sister who is usually my rock, is far away in a different time zone and can’t help either because she is sound asleep.
Then a day like today helps, bad weather, bad mood and reason enough to stay in bed and giving in to what you feel..Today I didn’t stay in bed though, instead I went for a walk in the rain. It felt good even though I felt sad somehow … I felt every single rain drop on my skin and nobody could see the tears on my face .. a quiet relief, at least a little bit for now.
I know that I will be ok again .. it’s always like that. After a rainy day the sun will be back eventually and I will feel better!
In some cases a workout or one or two beers help as well to feel better again :)
4. Even though traveling solo sucks sometimes – it’s still great!
When traveling alone, I have a lot of time to think about life, my life, my personality, what I would like to change, my goals, my wishes, my dreams, my feelings. I have the time to stop intentionally and soak it all in, take it as it comes and deal with it there and then!
Sometimes I come up with questions, I can’t answer … just yet! But life carries on and is full of surprises every single day and that’s exciting. I am still curious and yes I am sad sometimes, but I will be happy again soon enough, because something great is just waiting around the next corner.
Life, especially traveling teaches me lessons and lets me grow, lets me feel free, alive and lets me discover new sides of me! I feel myself more than I ever did!
5. Be grateful even though solo traveling can suck!
I am grateful for what I am allowed to do .. stepping out of my comfort zone! I am grateful for my family and friends who always support me no matter what! I am grateful for all the amazing, interesting people I meet, who leave footprints on my heart! I am grateful for all the opportunities on my way!
And even though I feel lonely every now and then and it sucks ..I am still grateful, because it helps to know, there are people out there, who will always love me and be there for me no matter where they are!
I know this is a bit of a sensitive and very personal topic, but…I would like to know:
How do you deal with emotions while traveling?
What are your reasons why traveling alone sucks sometimes?
What did traveling teach you?
And as always … I wish you all the happiness in the world!
Your Tooth Fairy