Group tours are fun! Enjoying at The Gibbon Experience, Huay Xai, Laos
Solo Travel

Why I don’t feel lonely while traveling alone: 7 ways of how not to feel lonely during solo travel – Part 1

Most of the people can’t even think about solo travel because they have this perception that when you travel alone, you get lonely and bored; this is not entirely true. I am not going to say that you don’t feel lonely while traveling alone; there are small periods of loneliness during your travels. But, let me assure you, those instances of loneliness are far less than what people actually think them to be.

I have to admit that I felt lonely initially when I just started my solo journey in a different country where people didn’t even speak my language. But, after that initial phase of feeling lonely while traveling alone (which hardly lasted for few hours), I started loving the solitude which I got while traveling alone. With time, I got better in dealing with those weak moments of loneliness.

Solo Travel – Alone, but not Lonely

This fear of feeling lonely is based on the misconception that alone means lonely. We need to understand that there is a huge difference between “being alone” and “being lonely.”

People think being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that’s true. Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world.” ― Kim Culbertson, The Liberation of Max McTrue

Being alone usually has a positive connotation. You can be alone and still be very happy and content. It is a state of mind when you feel comfortable in your own company.

On the other hand, being lonely usually has a negative connotation. You can feel lonely even when you are surrounded by family and friends. It is often associated with a feeling of dissatisfaction with yourself or your relationships.

Based on my experience of traveling alone, I can authoritatively say that solo travel is more about “being alone,” and less about “being lonely.”

So, if you want to travel alone, but worried about feeling lonely, then read on. Here I am sharing with you 7 ways not to feel lonely during your solo travel.

Traveling Solo: Alone but not Lonely!! - I don't feel lonely while traveling alone
Traveling Solo: Alone but not Lonely!! Pic – Wandering on the streets of Turtuk, Nubra Valley, Laddakh.
1. Keep yourself busy

When you travel alone, keeping yourself busy is the best and practical way to not feel lonely. You are not dependent on anyone else while traveling solo; you have to do everything on your own.

Most of the time is spent on researching about points of interests, managing logistics, and doing sightseeing. You hardly get time to actually sit and feel lonely while traveling alone. In fact, when you start exploring and understanding the place, its people and their culture, you are left with very little time to spend any negative emotions.

I am always busy when I travel alone. In the end, I always felt, there is so much to see and so much to do in a very limited time that I hardly got time to feel negative and lonely.

So much to do, such less time! Pic - Kayaking at Ha Long Bay, Vietnam - not lonely while traveling alone
So much to do, such less time! Pic – Kayaking at Ha Long Bay, Vietnam.
2. Make new friends

It is important to have friends from all age groups and all walks of life. And, solo travel is actually one of the best means to meet new people and make friends.

Being a little introvert, making new friends was initially a challenge to me. In fact, starting a conversation with a stranger is always an issue for me. I always feel extremely uncomfortable talking to strangers; I feel I might disturb them or interfere in their personal space. When I first arrived at Hanoi, Vietnam, I hardly spoke to anyone (except few locals).

However, with time I realized that it is far easier to make friends when you are traveling alone. It doesn’t matter whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, you will find a lot of like-minded people and solo travelers. Mostly these other solo travelers, just like you, also look for company.

A hostel is an ideal place to find such solo travelers or other like-minded people. So, next time you see a solo traveler, don’t hesitate; go and talk to him/her.

Ladies day out to explore nearby areas of Yogyakarta, Java Island, Indonesia: Sometimes, you make life-long friends while traveling!
Ladies day out to explore nearby areas of Yogyakarta, Java Island, Indonesia: Sometimes, you make life-long friends while traveling!
3. Join group tours

Mostly I explore a place on my own. But, there are times when I don’t feel like taking that much effort and I want to meet like-minded people. Group tour is a good option during such situations.

Group tour is less strenuous and more fun as you don’t have to worry about the logistics and other things; you meet like-minded people.

Lots of hostels conduct group tours in the form of walking tour, sightseeing tour, pub crawl, etc. So, if you are feeling lonely and want to meet fellow travelers, join group tours.

Group tours are fun! Enjoying at The Gibbon Experience, Huay Xai, Laos
Group tours can be lots of fun! Pic – Enjoying at The Gibbon Experience, Huay Xai, Laos.

This is a two-part blog post. For the remaining 4 ways, go ahead and check out Why I don’t feel lonely while traveling alone: 7 ways of how not to feel lonely during solo travel – Part 2.

However, if you are scared of traveling alone because of your personal safety, then check out my three-part blog post on 25 Safety Tips for Solo Travelers.

Are you scared of traveling alone because you feel lonely? Do you feel lonely while traveling alone? How do you deal with loneliness? Let me know in the comments section below.