Lonely or Alone? How I Really Feel When I Travel Solo

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Originally Published on The Social Girl Traveler by Jen Morilla

I was recently asked during a blog interview if I ever feel lonely or alone when traveling solo. It’s usually the one question I always get asked the most:  “Aren’t you lonely? Don’t you feel scared traveling alone? I could never do that!”

The difference between the two:
Lonely: Without company. Feeling completely separated from others.
Alone: Being solo or physically separated from others.

Now, let’s be real. I am human. Of course I feel both lonely and alone at times. That’s normal. It would be nice to share my traveling moments with someone. When I travel solo I meet tons of people, probably more than I do when I travel with friends.

When I walked El Camino a couple of months ago, I was alone. I was in the middle of the woods for hours following random arrows and running out of water in hot weather. On some days it was rare I’d see any other human being because the roads were so abandoned. During those moments, I never felt like I was alone. I did feel lonely at times, and slightly homesick. I missed my bed. My sleeping bag wasn’t cutting it.

But, If I am completely honest, and I feel like I’ve shared this before, I enjoy being alone probably more than I should! I enjoy being with myself.

See, the thing that always resonates with me the most is when people say, “I could never do that!” I realize that there is a greater fear in being alone than anything else that could ever happen. I know myself pretty well. I know what I am capable of and what I am not. I learned a lot about myself from being alone. Therefore, for me, being alone is never a bad thing. The more I travel solo, the more I continue to learn, too. I believe I have the courage to face any of my fears.

Traveling 220 miles in two and a half weeks in El Camino de Santiago.
Traveling 220 miles in two and a half weeks in El Camino de Santiago.

I believe we have the power to build up the courage to be alone and face our fears; it’s within us. I realize that most people are more afraid to be with themselves. And some people are afraid to be alone because something bad could happen. Don’t get me wrong, I am scared of getting mugged in a foreign country, but things can be replaced. It’s the memories and moments that can’t. To me, the fear of being alone isn’t greater than the fear of the “what if.” Maybe I’m too confident. Or since I’ve already been mugged a few times, I just know the feeling too well.

The way I see it is that we got here alone and one day we leave alone anyway.

Yes, sometimes the feeling of being by yourself hurts and I know it’s the sacrifice I make for being a solo traveler. It’s like a mentioned in another post, 6 Things I’ve Learned About Travel Blogging (the Cold Hard Truth).

But being alone, learning things about myself and making memories have much greater value.

And to be 100 percent honest, at time’s I don’t feel alone. Yes, I am physically alone, but I am comfortable with myself that I don’t feel like I am traveling solo. So no, I am not afraid to travel alone. I am comfortable being alone.

You could almost say that taking risks and making memories is of greater value than the fear of thinking something bad could happen. Because at the end of the day anything bad can happen anywhere.

If I can face myself, and be happy with that, then I can face this big scary world and be okay with that, too.

For more, head on over to The Social Girl Traveler! 

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