People I meet are very concerned about whether or not I get lonely travelling solo. It’s nice.
It’s funny though. I mean, I don’t think anyone ever asked me that when I used to do the three-hour round trip commute alone to an office where everyone, including me, sat with earphones in. Where it’d be a once a week workmate trip out to eat together at lunch, for the maximum hour, before we had to catch up on the extra 40 minutes we’d taken by hammering the keyboard all afternoon, lost in a world of composing, sending, deleting and organising.
Then, if I wasn’t going out to see friends (admittedly, most nights) it’d be home, possibly via the gym, to wait for a boyfriend whose working hours were later than mine by working away on my blog, alone, but for Spotify and Breaking Bad.
But now, whether I’m lonely or not is creeping up the top 5 inevitable questions you get as a travel blogger when anyone finds out how I live my life, travelling from one place to the next as I please.
So for all those worried folks out there I thought I’d answer the question.
Am I lonely?
This digital nomad lifestyle I’ve been living for the last 21 months is definitely not a long term thing for me, that’s becoming obvious.
1. I miss my friends, particularly the really funny ones.
2. Sometimes I feel very different to the norm, but not in a good way. Disconnected.
3. I miss my family, they’re funny too.
4. Moving every few days is exhausting.
5. Carrying everything I own is literally weighing me down.
6. I’d like to meet someone who’ll be around for more than a few days.
7. I miss familiarity.
8. Running a business from hostel Wi-Fi is not ideal.
I guess that doesn’t answer the loneliness question though.
So the truth is: no, I’m not lonely.
For me, this is work. Travelling is now work. It’s how I make my money. I used to spend all those hours alone in an office at work and now the world is my office, and I still work alone, but on my terms.
I’ve met some awesome people on my travels and I think having the blog means they stay in touch with me more than usual because they have another way to know me, and a way to keep up on their terms rather than us having to have an actual conversation. I’ll often get Facebook messages popping up from friends I met a few countries ago.
I’ve also made a lot of travel blogger friends, so no matter what time it is, whether England is asleep or not, there’ll be someone online just to have a quick chat to, if I want.
I actually like being by myself
I am absolutely fine in my own company. I mean, it’s not a laugh a minute when it’s just me, myself and I, but I’m perfectly content spending days and even weeks by myself. In fact, I find it kind of tiring being with people all the time now, I need my own space or I get angsty. Just lately I feel kind of weird saying I’m a solo traveller because I’ve barely been alone, especially this last year.
Again though, I think that’s because I write. I get lost in it. I’m more than happy to not talk to anyone and to work away on my blog. I’ve ignored people all day today to get work done – I’ve been the definition of resting bitch face.
I don’t think loneliness has too much to do with whether you’re surrounded with people you know or not.
Loneliness vs being alone
The loneliest I’ve ever felt was when the guy I loved turned against me. It was just for a few months, after five years of a brilliant relationship, which made it all the more lonely and confusing. When I’d cook dinner and end up shovelling it in the bin like some sort of Stepford Wife, when I’d have to make up some explanation to his mum about why he hadn’t come home, when the person I trusted more than anyone suddenly decides they’re done with you but doesn’t have the decency to talk it through, to reason or explain, and I felt like I was going insane because this definitely couldn’t and wouldn’t happen to us two. To me, that’s loneliness.
I’ve got friends who’ve told me they’re lonely, in their relationships and lives; ones who have jobs, partners and houses. Loneliness isn’t always about whether you’re physically with people or not.
Dancing on my own
I’m alone, but I’m not lonely.
I know my life isn’t for everyone. Even last week someone asked if I actually had any friends. Another said I was brave for doing it at 31 (implying something, not sure what). And many others I’ve met recently have said they ‘couldn’t do it’. I want to reply that I ‘couldn’t do’ their life either, but I don’t feel the need to judge their life like they do mine.
But I’ll take this opportunity to reassure anyone who’s worried about me, I’m fine. Waking up when I want, where I want, dressing as I please, eating whatever I desire, doing as much work as I want, talking to people if I feel the need or ignoring them if not, knowing exactly who my friends are from home who’ve bothered to stay in touch all this time and owning a business that pays enough for me to live this life, and save for a future one, is working out just splendidly.
My life is an awesome, unbelievable, crazy, messy, tiring, exhausting, adventure, but I’m definitely not lonely, I’m just doing it my way, by myself.