How Not to Feel Lonely When Traveling Solo
“What I’m going to do there alone!?” – that is a common response of a person that finds solo travel boring. But it’s quite strange response in my opinion, at least the first part of it. So let’s abandon that first part and consider the second one – is it true that you would be alone on the road?
There are more than 7 billion people on Earth today, so it might become a really complicated task to find a secluded place. It doesn’t matter where are you now, you would still be surrounded by other people. They might be taller or higher, have another skin colour and be absolutely different than you are. But they all speak languages that we may comprehend. All this means just one thing – you’re not going to stay alone on the road.
Still one of the biggest fears of solo traveler is loneliness on the road. I feel the same every time I hit the road without companions. Will this fear disappear someday? I really doubt it. But I’ll never let this feeling make me stay in one single place and give up traveling just because I’m afraid of being alone on the road.
The greater part of this problem lies within interpersonal skills. For shy people it is, indeed, a complex issue. Many people can’t initiate conversation on their own. There are a lot of reasons for that, but all these reasons are surmountable. By following some certain steps you would easily find new friends and fill your life with socializing. It took me some time to learn these rules, but now they fully determine my life in travel.
Single travel allows you to feel free from your everyday fears and limitations caused by our surroundings and by ourselves. During solo travel you have to deal with new kinds of problems that in the end broaden your horizons. If you got lost in the streets of an unfamiliar city, you just can’t afford to stay shy. Sometimes asking for help is the only way out as various situations may occur on the road.
I would also suggest considering single travel as a process of overcoming shyness and improving interpersonal skills.
Initially, in all cultures there are willing to help travellers. That means you can ask locals if you need any help. Usually they are friendly minded and feel free to help foreigners. In some countries sociability is a nation’s character trait. So shy people may find countries like Greece and Spain worth visiting due to this fact.
People are social beings. If you stay in a hostel, it’s quite possible the next day you would know your roommates. And it doesn’t matter who started the conversation first. Want to be the first one to start it? No problem! For example, you are visiting the next door bakery or grocery shop. Praise the shop and inform the owner or seller that the next day you would come again. Visit that shop later and be surprised that most likely they would ask you about your solo travel adventures. Share experiences and feel free to continue the conversation. The best option here is to find out any kind of unique information that only locals know.
ASK MORE QUESTIONS
Mind that people, in general, like talking, especially about themselves. Give them that chance. Be able to hear your interlocutor. Also you increase the chances of making friends by asking questions. Questions are a tool that can be controlled. It is unlikely that one is able to approach a stranger and say “hello”. Meanwhile, strong intention to ask a question removes that problem. If you want to get in closer contact with local, build up a chain of questions. These are to convince your interlocutor that you’re interested in him.
Shy again? Try to start the conversation by asking for help. For example, ask the way to get to any of city attractions. It doesn’t matter that you already know the way. Continue with questions about ticket price, hours of operation and so on. It’s quite difficult to predict an outcome of such conversation. It may end up with night kitchen talks or with suggestion to show you some unique places. It also depends on your gender.
TRAVELERS ARE COMMUNICATIVE PEOPLE
Another way to avoid loneliness on the road is to find other travellers just like you. There are a lot of travelers in tourist areas who would also like to communicate. Find them as they have so much similar with you: they are far from home, they might also be concerned about lack of friends. When you find the person you would like to talk to, inquire where he or she came from, what does he/she planning to do next. If you find this person attractive it might be wise to combine your traveling plans. The same tips are applicable if you would like to join a group of travelers.
The main thing when you want to find someone to talk to during the trip is to be social. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make an effort if you’re a shy person and this will result in finding new friends or maybe even something greater. In addition, be ready to change your plans or itinerary. Even if you have planned everything ahead, there is no need to pay in advance. Mind that singles vacations allow you to get acquainted with people you would like to join. And sometimes prepaid hotels, taxi or museums are not that convenient. Provide yourself with the freedom to pay your bills on the spot. After all, we don’t know what opportunities we might face while travelling solo.