Cycling Around the World


Loneliness and Travel

Posted by Stephen Peel - Cycling Around the World on November 8, 2016 at 2:00 AM

Image by Stephen Peel

Reading about other solo travellers about how they deal with loneliness, I find that most of these travellers already have an element of liking being alone for short times. To be with themsleves and their own thoughts for a while is important, and with some saying they have always been loners. They actually like and appreciate alone time. Maybe not for months or years on end though.

Of course, there are those that feel they will just meet people all the time and get on with everyone, and with that attitude, they just might. There are others who have never been alone while travelling but feel they will never feel alone on a long trip, so when those people actually do find themselves alone, some don’t like it, it is a shock. The romance died a death within days, and that's fine, they have given it a shot and can stop wondering, and have learned a little bit more about themselves in the process.

People are mostly good, and most people who interact with you first will mostly be wanting to sell you something or want something from you, and a few will have a real interest in what you are doing, but that's OK, as not everyone has the time and lifestyle you have. For most people around the world, making money to put food on the table is the most important thing, so don't take it too personal when someone you have been chatting with for half an hour, suddenly asks you for something or tries to sell you something. This will happen to you all the time, and instead of getting offended, just move on. Eventually you will be able to pick up the signals and move on much quicker.

I love alone time and would go as far as to say that I need to be alone from time to time. Although alone time is good and I like to get my fix, I don't like to overdose on it. I feel everyone needs alone time, to spend just a day or two or more, by themselves.

If you love photography and wildlife, you already have a great start at keeping yourself busy travelling. Video and photograph everything you can, this might be the only chance you get. Create a detailed diary you can look through in the future and share with others. Upload the day to social media when you get a signal, and even looking for a place to get a signal can keep you busy. I have followers on Social Media that I can interact with. Sure, they may not be close family, but so many do actually have an interest in what you are doing, and will interact with you in a friendly way, and I consider many of my followers to be really good freinds. Facetime or video chat with a family member or friend when you get the chance too.

Staying in a hostel is something I have never done, and given my age I don’t know whether I will be able to either, unless I can get a separate room on my own or the dorm is not full. I know many people swear by hostels as a way of fighting loneliness, but these are usually young people mixing with more young people. If traveling continually, stopping for a few days at a time in nice places you arrive at will help too.

A couple of years ago I was going through a bit of a bad time and I just had to get away to be on my own for a week somewhere I had never been. So I booked a week in Egypt in a nice hotel on the coast, where I could just chill, be with my own thoughts, and away from everyone else. It had been many years since I even had a day to myself. I thought I would just relax on this short trip and read a book or two, then come back refreshed. That didn't quite work out like that.

Minutes after arriving in my hotel, I sat at a poolside bar for a cold one, and in no time at all I was chatting with another guy who was doing exacly what I was doing, having alone time. Shortly after that we were talking to 2 other guys from the UK, and that was that, we were a gang for the week, and had the most amazing time. I hadn't laughed so much in years, and actually had pain in my ribs as a result.

Let me know your experiences.

Categories: 70% Mental?

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1 Comment

Reply Stephen Peel
5:10 AM on November 12, 2017 
After 3 months on the tour, I was quite lonely at times. Especially after cycling all day alone and interacting with not a sole, then sitting in my tent all alone. At the end of a really hard day alone, I craved being around other people, even if I didn't interact with them. It will be interesting to see how I do farther down the road.