Embracing “Being Alone” When Traveling Solo : Part 1

Reflection

Part 1: Identifying the Issues

Okay, it’s not as bad as it sounds but this past week has called for a bit of self-reflection.  It has been a little over 4 months since I left the comforts that were offered by my home in the US.  There have been a few times where I have had to confront the concepts of “loneliness” and “being alone”, both of which are quite different for me.  Solo travel forces one to be with themselves and their thoughts.  While you may have a few companions with you along the ride the only real person that understands you is your own self.  Inward reflection is extremely useful but altogether frightening.  Who knows what you will find?

Ronery

Someone hand me a tissue.

I feel that I can handle “being alone” quite comfortably.  My truest self is present as I don’t have to live up to any preconceived notions of who I am.  I have no issues attending a concert, art exhibit, movie, traveling or any other traditionally social event by myself.  If others do not wish to experience something that I find enjoyable then it will not prevent me from taking it in for myself.  Of course I’d rather share an experience but there’s also a certain benefit to having a memory solely for yourself.  This past weekend I traveled to Hua Hin and I fully embraced “being alone”.  It was the first time I had traveled without a companion since I touched down in Thailand and it was quite refreshing.  My schedule was free for whatever I could fit in and I could take my time doing each activity.  There was no rush or sense of urgency.  After doing everything with someone it was great to finally explore with no one.

Somewhere over the course of the past week I somehow allowed the darker side of “being alone” to creep in.  The feeling of “loneliness” is a much tougher animal to face than just “being alone”.  Various occurrences over the past week have led to this emotion pushing itself into my emotional state and it is not being shaken as easily as other minor bouts with the feeling have been while in Thailand.  I’ve found myself turning to utilities that I don’t normally frequent as often for companionship such as more time spent on social media, especially Facebook, and paying more attention to American politics which I don’t believe I’ve ever actually received anything mentally positive from.

Rabble! Rabble! Rabble!

Just your standard American politics crowd. Nothing to see here.

In order to alleviate this feeling I will be attempting various tasks this week.  All in the hopes that I can return to the happy state of embracing “being alone” without the feeling of “loneliness”.  One is not always around in the presence of the other.

Task 1: Quit posting on social media and comment sections.

Every now and then it’s a good form of communication to interact with others on the internet.  This past week though I have inserted myself into conversations that I normally refrain from being a part of.  It is my goal for the next week to stay away from looking at Facebook (aside from sharing this blog) and posting anything other than the occasional Instagram photo of my travels as well as not reading anything from the virtual cesspool that is an internet comments section (I say all of this as I shamelessly link to each profile).

Task 2: Call, not text, those back home that I have not spoken to recently.

Many of my friends and family back home I’ve kept up with by looking at pictures on social media but this does nothing to fulfill me.  It merely makes me seek comfort that much more.  I will do my best to get in touch with as many people as possible back home not so I can update them on my travels but to learn about what they’ve been up to in the past few months.

Task 3: Get out of the apartment everyday after work.

In an unconscious effort to seek comfort I have been watching movies and TV shows that I would normally watch back home.  I will attempt to limit the time spent engaging with a computer screen and expand my time interacting with others and nature.  Whether that’s shooting the basketball, playing soccer, or just checking out something new.  Sukhothai only has so many options for entertainment during the week that I’m sure I will come back to this.  My hope is merely to limit the time spent on these distractions.

Task 4: Spend 20-30 minutes in solitude each day.

I need to spend time with myself and let my mind wander.  My goal is to develop a better relationship with myself and understand where my head is at that moment in time.

I will report back next week (hopefully it will be a shorter post) and let you know how successful these methods are and hopefully by this time next week, if not sooner, I am back to embracing “being alone”.

*I tried to make this post not feel so depressing with a meme and GIF.  Did it work?  SOMEONE TELL ME IT WORKED!!!


How have you dealt with loneliness while traveling?  What efforts did you make to embrace being alone?  Let me know in the comments below!

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Tar Heel Voyager

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8 thoughts on “Embracing “Being Alone” When Traveling Solo : Part 1

  1. Pingback: Facing Uncertainty While Living Abroad | Tar Heel Voyager

  2. Pingback: Embracing “Being Alone” When Traveling Solo: Part 2 | Tar Heel Voyager

  3. I really enjoyed your post. I am heading to Thailand at the end of December and this new travel trek is going to be a major change. It was interesting to me that you were able to put in to words the difference between loneliness and being alone because that is a concept I struggle with. I am a people person and generally I don’t like being alone, it’s not that I need to be interacting with someone else but I like their presence near by. I have also been trying to focus on spending time with myself, but it can be tough! I am hoping to develop the confidence you have in checking out the things you enjoy all by yourself. Hopefully by the time I get to Hua Hin I’ll be able to do the same! Thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Traveling through Thailand offers so many great opportunities to meet other travelers. I’m sure you will have no problem because the “fear of missing out” usually trumps the feeling of “loneliness”.

      Appreciate the kind words and I look forward to reading about your travels!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can empathize as the vast majority of my travels, I’ve gone alone. It’s hard sometimes when you can’t share amazing moments with someone but I’d rather see it alone than not at all. I liked the .gif so you can rest a little easier today haha.

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    • It’s an unfortunate side effect but just another challenge along the road. Like you said, rather see it by myself than not at all. What’s worse the temporary feeling of loneliness or the permanence of missing out?

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      • To me it’s the permanence of missing out on something. People come and go as will our lives so I want to see and do as much as possible. I can get past the solitude and to me I prefer it that way. I’ve been a lone wolf pretty much all of my life so I’m pretty comfortable prowling the fields of the world on my own.

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