Solo Travel: Pushing Past Loneliness and Trying to Change
Wandering into the hostel travel-weary to the bone, I feel like a dirty shell of a person in need of a shower and some good sleep. Being on the road for over two months is starting to make me cantankerous in a way I hadn’t expected. Some days when I need a break from the constant moving, I feel pulled between the desire to be utterly alone or cuddle up on a couch with a friend watching a movie.
The problem is that I am traveling solo and living in hostels. If I want to be alone, I have to lock myself in a bathroom stall. If I want to cuddle up with a friend, I have to force my exhausted body back into a smiling and social state so I can meet new people. Unfortunately that is the unpleasant truth of traveling solo, there are just moments on the road when you struggle to get what you want because you are no longer living a life that is familiar.
As I moved around, I was certain I would become gently enlightened about who I am and where I should take my life.
Before I arrived on working holiday in Australia, I thought travel was an opportunity to learn. I thought I would be constantly and enjoyably distracted by the experience of what was once obscure and distant. As I moved around, I was certain I would become gently enlightened about who I am and where I should take my life. Then, at the end of my journey, I would emerge a cultured, career-focused butterfly wiser for her time in the world.
I can change my setting with a plane ticket and a few hundred dollars, but it doesn’t guarantee that when I arrive, I will be any happier about being alone.
What travel has really taught me is that change is a fickle thing. Whether decisive or accidental, change doesn’t always warrant the results you would expect. I can change my setting with a plane ticket and a few hundred dollars, but it doesn’t guarantee that when I arrive, I will be any happier about being alone. Change takes constant pursuit and time for it to work. It takes endurance to keep moving forward and trying new things until you enact the change you want.
So I continue to balance between the freedom of solo travel and the momentary loneliness. I move forward through the conflicting feelings because I want to know where my limits are and then push them until they change. I want to set down my backpack, take a shower, and go back into the world ready for more.