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12 Tips for Handling Loneliness on the Road

by Turner Wright Oct 18, 2017

Are you an experienced solo travel who still feels the sting of being a stranger in a strange land? It’s all well and good to love some time to yourself, but if the urge to socialize kicks in when you’re in the middle of Mongolia and can’t speak to someone, what can you do?

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.” -Henry David Thoreau

1. Take advantage of technology.

You should have in your possession a device capable of accessing any piece of information ever recorded or contacting any person on the planet.

2. Including really weird technology

If you want to make out with someone in Uganda, you can.

3. Chocolate and alcohol

There’s no subtext here. Massive amounts of chocolate and alcohol.

4. Develop “fake” relationships.

If you don’t have real friends or an SO nearby, sometimes it’s easy to fake it. Walk into the local expat pub and buy everyone a round. You may never see them again, but it’ll save you from a lonely night.

5. Write on how to handle loneliness.

The best distraction of all. Where do you think Walden came from?

6. Couchsurfing and Meetup Groups

There are several in every city.

7. Keep your body busy.

Run until your legs pump battery acid. Cycle into the sunset. Hit the gym for the hours usually reserved for beers with the gang.

8. Book a hostel dorm.

You have to be in the right mood, but you’re far more likely to meet people in a dirty, loud hostel than a quiet, sterile hotel room.

9. Avoid traveling during autumn and winter.

I understand why many people feel seasonal affective disorder most in winter, but for me, it hits hardest during autumn, when all I want is to sit in front of a fireplace with a cat.

10. Instagram doesn’t help.

Social media in general doesn’t help, because you’ll be inundated with pictures of couples and friends thousands of miles away.

11. You’re allowed to quit.

You can cut your trip short and visit friends back home. You can forego a vigorous day of sightseeing and take someone up on their offer to binge watch Stranger Things. Sometimes the more social activity is the one with the least risk.

12. Did I mention chocolate?

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