Loneliness is one of the worst diseases you can get while travelling and when it hits, it usually hits hard. Although I travel all the time I can still find myself getting really lonely. Here are a few tips that I use to combat loneliness:
Keep yourself busy: One of the greatest traps for loneliness is boredom. As soon as you find yourself with nothing to do loneliness can set in. Giving yourself something to do is an excellent way to pass time and take your mind of things. Some people like to sketch, others keep journals - I write a lot of my blog posts while travelling.
Don’t wallow in self pity: If you are keeping a journal avoid writing long epitaphs on how sad you are. Likewise keep your reading to something light or motivating. I remember on my very first solo trip to Europe when I was twenty I read those heavy literary master-pieces and wrote these tortuous letters home; of which both helped my black mood spiral further downwards.
Don’t hide in your room: Once you do get lonely it can knock your confidence about. Try and avoid hiding in your room and instead hit the bar or common spaces in your hotel or hostel. By all means you don’t have to get yourself smashed - but do have a drink and a bite to eat and try talking to a few people.
Get out and about: Doing some exercise is an excellent way to overcome loneliness. The endorphins created by exercise can really lift your well-being. If you’re not the running type try going for a long walk, stop at a cafe for a coffee along the way - time will fly
Avoid phoning home too often: It is all too easy to go to a phone booth or jump on Facebook or Instant Messenger when you get lonely - but it should be avoided where possible. Although you may think it gives you a lift, the joy is short lived and the resultant lonely emptiness can in fact be much worse than before the call.
Don’t be too cool for school: Being an adventurous independent type is awesome; travelling by yourself, going to these out of the way places. But if you are someone who is going to be susceptible to loneliness make sure you regularly have stops with lots of other like-minded travellers to touch base and recharge your feel-good batteries.
Sleep well: over-tiredness is one of the biggest sources of loneliness. Get some good sleep - but at the same time recognise that over sleeping can also make your tired and lonely. When lonely it is often easy to go to bed early and “hide” in your sleep. This can actually cause you to be more lonely and tired.
Spend a little cash: whether it is a day-trip or a multi day tour, getting out in a group environment is a great way to meet other travellers. Often many of them are in the same situation as you. There is an unfortunate correlation between loneliness and lack of travel funds!
Have you got any other tips you can add?
Tell the world!