– Why Backpacking Solo is So Life Changing –
Being alone, feeling alone and lonely is not the most pleasant feeling. But it is something you will experience if you travel solo. Don’t be scared to hear this though, as it is actually a positive thing, not a negative one. In fact, it is the reason why traveling solo is so life changing. You see, though we do experience moments of being alone and loneliness in our daily lives too, they are different.
Not so much in the way they make us feel, but rather on the amount of attention we pay to ourselves in those moments. It is way easier to distract yourself from those feelings of loneliness if you are somewhere where your friends, pets and family are, and when you are surrounded by all your belongings and have a daily job and chores to attend to.
All these things are a great way to shift our attention away from those feelings. So yes, it’s very different when all that is gone. And that is exactly why I am writing this. Because I know it’s sometimes scary when you’re all alone at certain times in your travels and you haven’t got the comfort blanket of all the familiar distractions mentioned earlier.
But here is the truth: it’s exactly those moments in your journey that biggest changes occur within you. Since you have less to distract yourself with, less to hide behind, you come to acknowledge and experience certain feelings within you stronger than ever before. This can be uncomfortable yes, but that is purely because we are not as used to paying so much attention to them when we have so much “noise” around us.
Different outlooks on both life and yourself will come to light and new ideas and insights will start to become visible. And, because of the unfamiliar surroundings you are in, the different people you’ve met, the new culture you have discovered – everything within you is being opened up so much wider. This in turn can result in an even greater impact on your thoughts, even more powerful changes taking place, because ultimately it is your thoughts that decide how your life is going to be shaped.
Now of course traveling solo isn’t always a lonely journey. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You will come to meet and hang out with more people than you can ever imagine. But it’s important that if and when you do happen to feel lonely, you are able to take it as the opportunity it is, and to listen to yourself. Let all those feelings develop within you; allow all the new insights to become visible. It is then that you will discover deeper resources within you.
One final thing. When I feel alone or lonely, there is something I always tell myself. It has been a great help to me, so hopefully it will be for you too. You are never going to be alone all the time, and you are never going to be with other people all the time. What this means is that on your travels, you are never going to be with yourself all the time.
So take that opportunity when you are, to spend time getting to know yourself better. What it also means is that you are never going to be with other people all the time, so when you are, appreciate it.
Remember that. Not only for the moments when you are alone, but also for those when you are with other people. If you don’t, you could end up always trying to experience the opposite of what you have at hand, as opposed to appreciating it and enjoying it fully. I certainly had trouble with this at times when traveling solo.