Solo travelling is an amazing, freeing experience that allows time for reflection and personal growth.
But what are the downsides? And how do you deal with those moments of loneliness?
As I look out to the ocean, gently swinging from a piece of wood suspended from the roof, my gaze drifts to the restaurant below. Every table seats two or more people, sharing laughter, memories and an evening together.
I look to my left and see another solo traveller, drinking alone, probably wanting the same thing as me- someone to share this moment with.
I could go over and talk to him- I don’t have to be alone. But it wasn’t being alone that made me want to share this moment with someone, it was a yearning for something familiar- something that feels like home. Something effortless and safe and comfortable.
You get these moments in solo travel and they are every bit as important as all the other stuff. It isn’t a feeling to push back or ignore. Use it. Remember it. It will make you stronger.
Because everytime you get this feeling you gain a little strength and that is something you can’t lose. It is also something you can’t buy- you have to be outside your comfort zone.
A few months ago the idea of being 7000 miles away from home, swinging alone in a hostel bar while watching families eat together, would have caused me to well up. But I am here, smiling, knowing that home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling. And no matter where I am in the world I can return to this feeling- return home.
I know right now my parents are probably reading the newspaper in bed on a lazy Sunday morning. My sister and her dog will be exploring the greener part of England (what else is a weekend for?) My boyfriend will be asleep, blissfully unaware of how he lingers on my thoughts. And I know my best friends are stronger than they realise and are ready to get through another day.
I don’t need to be in a restaurant, sitting with the important people in my life to get the feeling of home. I know them and I’m so proud of them. And I know they’re proud of me.