Traveling Solo and Fighting Loneliness

Looking back over *mumble* years ago, at the age of 18 years old, pregnant for the first time, alone, and living in a city where I had no family, I was still braver than I am now.

Head to the movies alone? Sure

Lunch by myself in a restaurant? Yep.

Fast-forward a bazillion years. Past single momhood with two children. Past terrible jobs where I was too exhausted to think clearly. Both of my girls are finally out of the house. I win! I crossed the finish line with those two girls strapped to my back. I can put them down and carry on alone.

I’m actually alone for the first time since those early days. Thoughts of being by myself filled me with a sizzle of excitement and a touch of fear, but surely, I did it all those years ago. I couldĀ do it now. I’m older, wiser, and braver, certainly.

Not so much.

There are people to miss this time around. Cute, little babies that are growing with each passing day. Grown kids who still want their mom.

Along with loneliness and homesickness, there’s the fact that I have to sit in front of the computer most days to work. This lonely trip isn’t paying for itself!

By the time I’m done with work, it’s late in the morning or early in the afternoon. Wouldn’t it be better to wait for a day when I don’t have to work? I can get an early start. It sounds like an excuse in my own head.

The Hampton Cruise was admittedly fun, but there was no one to share it with as it was happening. “Did you see that huge warship?! Oh my god, can you imagine living in a tiny submarine?” Nobody to chatter at with my weird ideas and ramblings. Didn’t want to bother the very nice, elderly man next to me.

Virginia is full of history. I find it slightly boring. The only part of the history I found fascinating was the story of Blackbeard the pirate. Because pirates. PIRATES!

All the loneliness and missing the family is weighing me down. This depressing post is evidence of that! The point isn’t to complain or bring others down with this negativity. I’m only trying to explain how I feel, but also mention that I believe I’m looking at this all wrong.

People do get lonely on solo trips. It only took a search of Google to show me all the posts on loneliness that I should have read before I left. These are “professional” travelers. People who have been traveling for years. They still find themselves feeling lonely, too.

I found some great tips that I’ll share here as I promise myself to try them all out at least once.

Make a List – Ask yourself why you’re here. What are you hoping to accomplish on this trip?

Exercise – It helps with stress, loneliness and low-energy.

Talk to Everyone – (A little harder for me as an introvert) Start with people who have to talk to you. (I do make the Lyft drivers talk to me whether they like to or not!)

Food and Drink – This is completely missing. I can’t eat and drink like other people. (Half a stomach here!) I’m still determined to find a way to fit this into my trip.

Take a Course – Not sure how relevant that is here in Virginia. It seems to apply to other countries where you can take cooking classes in Spain or the Philippines. – I have looked at this, but it seemed all the meetups were in cities about 30 miles from me. I’ll check again!

Take a Tour – Yep. Did that. I’m planning a walking ghost tour in a few weeks at Fort Monroe. I do love Halloween!

Honor What You Need – This one is about intuition and knowing whether you are capable of spending a month, three months, or a year away from people you know and love. It’s something I’ll have to consider as time progresses.

Splurge – Ice cream, a massage, or binge-watching your favorite shows is a great way to make yourself feel better. Okay, not the ice cream, but the rest maybe.

This last is my own contribution to the list. Be who I am. I like sitting in front of the computer and working. I’m also going to do some more writing since I have all this free time now. I don’t have to fill my days with trips to see history if that’s not my thing. This trip is about what I want, and I don’t have to force myself to do anything! It can be a complete writing sabbatical if I want it to be!

How do you combat loneliness? I’d love to hear other ideas from people who have traveled solo.

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