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May I have a table for one please…Loneliness while travelling

Individually when travelling it can be hard. It can lonely or overwhelming. It can easy to understand or hard to explain. I wanted to write a blog about my experiences so far of loneliness when travelling. Many people may have a perception about travelling but I wanted to give my reality so far…some people will disagree and some people may agree – but suppose that’s what blogging is about.

A few key things happen when your yourself. You get lost. No one is there to turn to – except your phone. For me I ask randoms. I was even taken to my hostel – 1km distance – in Beijing by a man who couldn’t speak much English but just said follow me. I’m alright I can get by with the gift of the gab but I’ve saw a few people get upset while they stand trying to figure out where to go. Literally. I kid you not.

When your out and about and everyone is with friends and family. You start to think about yours. You start to realise there’s something missing. Yes you can tell your friends and family but you can’t show them as such. Instead you post and hope they like it.

The best and worst bit is restaurants. “Hi there can I have a table for one…” The reply has been – are you expecting anyone? Nop – not last time I checked. Sometimes you find the waiter will just start talking to you randomly – maybe this is just me but I’ve literally made “friends” with the waiters. Small chat but it’s a conversation to get you through your day.

When your out all day doing tourist things sometimes you just want to share it with or even just to have to explain what today was all about. And this isn’t just my thoughts – ironically – I spoke to a few people about this when was in hostel in Shanghai. One was an Polish lad who had the same opinion. The other was a man from America who goes adventures all over the world – he was older than us and he agreed but it wasn’t that 25 years ago. Is it technology? Is it the element of talking to strangers? Whatever it is – he agreed it was different these days.

Personally I appreciate a conversation with randoms maybe just me but I also love hearing stories. I love this idea that when travelling you can hear and learn so much about countries, cultures and people. I love striking conversation. It’s about listening and learning. It’s about being able to really truly open your minds and ears.

The other element of travelling is back home. Friends and family. When those loved ones like your statuses and think your meeting loads of people where as in reality in some occasions it can be the opposite. I’ve read a lot of studies and travel agent blogs about loneliness when travelling. Hostel World started a piece by saying “we need to talk about loneliness”. For a lot of people this a concept that when travelling they have never faced before. Sometimes the uncertainty of travelling is what makes the whole adventure exciting – but at other times that’s what can make it the opposite. Some articles state something really interesting that “people bury themselves in the moments of awesome care free life experiences that for a set moment of time hides that some bare the burden of loneliness”.

Now I’m not writing this to have people message me. I’m fortunate I have a small group of very close real friends who understand and check in. No need to name them all as they know who they are and they understand how grateful I am. But I say to everyone. Whether you know someone travelling or someone who may be lonely in general – why not reach out. It takes 5 minutes but can be timeless for the future. Let’s chat in life and not just like statuses or scroll.

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