5 tips for traveling alone
Traveling alone can be daunting. The thoughts of being far from home surrounded by a language you can’t understand, the loneliness seeping in, nothing seems to be going right… These moments may be fleeting but they’re strong and unforgiving. Below are 5 tips for traveling alone that I remind myself of when I feel things are getting rough on the road.
You are never truly alone
We all get lonely on the road. Traveling alone often brings moments where it feels like we’ll never meet anyone again, no matter how busy the hostel is. Sometimes, though, it just takes a little stepping back and appreciating the fact that everyone who’s passing through feels the same way.
You’re never truly alone on the road, be it the driver that picks you up, the lovely gas station attendant who kills a few minutes with conversation, or the next person you meet happens to be your travel-soul-mate and you end up traveling together.
Everything happens for a reason
Everything on the road happens for a reason. Standing for hours on the side of the road with weary eyes lets you appreciate the small things. Lows like waiting hours for a ride turn to highs almost instantly, such as getting a ride for three days with one driver across the midwest US. Though it’s often a mental battle to convince yourself of this when you’re stuck in a hitching spot, it all works out in the end.
While we can never foresee what will happen at the end of the day, each moment comes together and allows you, through hindsight, to see the pieces fit together. You’ll appreciate the fact that everything happens for a reason. If you remember this, everything will cruise along nicely.
Embrace everything from the tiny to the enormous
This one is a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get trapped in the frantic rhythm of trying to see everything at once. Too many times I’ve made the mistake of setting off without having first weighed up the options; where I am, who I’m with, etc. Embrace the small bird chirping foreign sounds in a tree. Appreciate the grandiose cathedral built how many years ago. They’re equal in their beauty so appreciate them as such.
Finding yourself and who you are is more a reflective process, and it’s certainly not a sudden realisation. Traveling alone gives you time and space to discover this though, so utilise the time. Push yourself to your limits, but remember to stay comfortable too.
Hitchhiking pushed me far beyond anything I could have imagined, but it did require effort on my part. Traveling alone isn’t always a breeze and you do have to remind yourself it’s for the better. It’s worth the processes involved to better understand yourself; mental health, socialising and interpersonal skills, and (in my case) finding life’s simplicities spectacular and beautiful.
Enjoy the solitude
We’re made believe loneliness is paramount to happiness. I say embrace it. Loneliness while traveling isn’t the same as other forms of loneliness, but it shouldn’t be ignored.
As noted above, loneliness sometimes gets the better of us on the road. However, if you embrace the feeling and make it your own, you’ll find ways of coping and appreciating the fact that there’s no one to bother you, no one to worry about only yourself.
Loneliness is always a factor when you’re traveling alone. Meeting people can sometimes be fleeting, and then it’s back to your lonesome. Embrace the fear of being alone. Command it and respect it. It’s liberating.
Thinking of heading out on the road? Check out my 6 tips to start hitchhiking.