6 Ways I Deal with Loneliness as a Solo Traveler

Ways to Deal with the Loneliness of Solo Travel

Getting in Touch with Myself.

Everybody always asks me… “Don’t you get lonely traveling by yourself?”

My response is always… of course! Every day isn’t filled with wild rainforest excursions, epic pool parties or historic polo championships. Building a network takes time.

The work and travel balance is usually around 80% excitement/happiness and 20% anxiety/loneliness. I get nervous that I won’t be successful at meeting new people, I get depressed when I don’t make immediate connections and I get overwhelmed that I haven’t done everything as of yesterday.

As expected, the first few days are always the most difficult. I don’t feel comfortable hanging around the hostel crowd and I stay clear of “comfortable connections” so I make it harder than it would be for most solo travelers. My loneliness is a direct result of my own self-imposed restrictions, which I’ve created to help me obtain my goals.

With that being said, I’ve implemented 6 different techniques to minimize my loneliness while staying true to my objectives and getting the most out of the work and travel lifestyle of a digital nomad.

6 Ways I Deal with Loneliness As a Solo Traveler:

1.  Get OFF the Internet

For a while, I got in the habit of logging into facebook or Skype whenever I got lonely to talk with friends and family or I’d watch my favorite shows from back home. I’ve realized this is a dumb idea because it just makes me miss home that much more. Now I do the complete opposite. I disconnect from my computer and head out to explore a new area or neighborhood. If I’m really feeling down I try to sneak into a new place.

2.  Make a List

I try to re-focus on the task at hand. Why am I here? What do I wish to accomplish? Trade loneliness for ambition and make a plan of action. I made my list when I was stuck in my apartment in Medellin for 3 weeks with a fractured ankle.

3.  Get Jealous

Before you turn off that computer, get yourself good and pissed off by checking out other inspiring videos or stories. Huh? Let me explain… Like many people, exceptional individuals doing remarkable things inspire me. However, unlike many people, when I hear about these remarkable travelers, athletes and businessman… I get super jealous. Why aren’t you doing that? Why can’t you create something great? That competitive fire quickly eclipses any loneliness and pushes me to create something great. Get pissed off at great people and then try to beat them. I think if you have that attitude you will eventually find yourself among them.

Read: 12 People Who Inspire Me To Keep Moving

4.  Sweat it Out

Exercising solves a lot of my problems. Stress, low-energy, man handles… everything. It also helps a ton when I’m depressed or lonely. I like to pretend I’m Rocky training to fight Ivan Drago all alone up in that cabin in the Soviet Union… Nobody’s watching but I’m getting ready to shock the world!

5. Spark a Conversation

I know this one isn’t for everybody. People are programmed differently and some are more reserved and blah blah blah… I think that’s all bull shit. If you can’t communicate with other people (in real life), especially as a traveler, you’re at a major disadvantage. Even when I first got to Argentina and couldn’t speak Spanish, one of my favorite things to do was venture out and strike up random conversations. There’s nothing better than forcing yourself into uncomfortable situations to change your attitude and thought process. Talk with waitresses, store clerks or tour guides first because as a rule they have to talk back. This helps you gain confidence to approach that hottie in club that isn’t paid to talk to you.

6. Get in Touch with Yourself

No, not like that! I’m just saying embrace the moment. Spend that alone time to think, reflect and be creative. Sometimes I enjoy my own company a little too much because I catch myself walking down the street laughing out loud at my own inside jokes. There is something great about complete silence. There is something great about having nobody to please, nobody to impress or nobody to affect your day. Sometimes loneliness is great!

Here are a few great articles from other work and travel pros with different prospectives and advice that address loneliness as a Solo Traveler:

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14 Responses to 6 Ways I Deal with Loneliness as a Solo Traveler

  1. Great tips. Although we travel as a couple and don’t get lonely this means we often miss out on meeting cool people. An advantage of travelling solo is that you have an increased motivation to get outside of your comfort zone. We need to talk to more strangers!

  2. Gareth

    Thanks Erin, You two should split up for a day and see who can make more friends!

  3. I can totally relate to this post, was thinking about it yesterday.

    I at times get really bored when I’m living in a city. Traveling not so much but when I”m living somewhere. Most of the time it’s cash but sometimes, really bored. I found having a gym pass helps break up the day and the work. Also find myself going out and enjoying nightlife, maybe a little too often.

    Sick theme fyi

  4. Gareth

    Nothing wrong with enjoying a little after dark entertainment!

  5. Great tips, and you’ve listed things I never thought of. One thing I suck at is trying the native language more. You convinced me to!

  6. What about some good music, too?
    crazy sexy fun traveler recently posted..ME IN BARI PORTMy Profile

  7. awesome, AWESOME post — BRAVO!! *claps*

  8. Gareth

    Thank you! *blush*

  9. Love the post Gareth. I think these tips are great for people looking to get out of their comfort zone in general, not just travelers. People who are still living in their home town can still have new experiences and meet new people if they take a step back from their every day routine and are willing to venture out of their comfort zone.

  10. Loved this post. Super useful! I’ve travelled alone and the only thing I don’t like so much about it , is constantly looking like an alcoholic when I’m drinking alone! Guy travellers get away with this so easily!

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  12. I love this line: There is something great about having nobody to please, nobody to impress or nobody to affect your day.
    SO TRUE!
    Marysia @ My Travel Affairs recently posted..Friday Lens Affair #28My Profile

  13. Interesting – you start with ways to deal with loneliness and at the end you way “Sometimes loneliness is great!”.
    You are right about many things, I agree…
    I think friendly people are great, having company is wonderful, but loneliness has its own sense and it can be enjoyable as well

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