Lonliness when travelling

Travel Forums General Talk Lonliness when travelling

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1. Posted by rg6117 (Budding Member 6 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

I'm working in Spain at the moment, have just got here really and am feeling a little down and lonely to be honest. How do people deal with lonliness when travelling/living in other countries?

2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5778 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Well, although I don't feel very lonely when travelling by myself, I am often alone.
Most of the time, this is not a problem and you meet people during the day and sometimes you go out to have some food or a beer at night.
If not, I just go to an internet cafe, read or watch tv. Mostly reading, as I finally get to read the books I bought years ago...;)

3. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

hi Rebekah,

Sorry to hear you're feeling a bit low. It will pass. :)

I find that happens in waves. Loneliness can just come over you like a big tide sometimes.
Like Utrecht I spend a lot of my time on my own by choice and usually I'm very happy in my own company, but I too have had times on my travels when I've been consumed with loneliness or, on occasions, homesickness. However, I do find that it passes in usually a day or two and I dont think I've ever experienced it longer than that.

It's one of the first things that can happen when you move to a new country. After the initial headiness of arriving and getting settled and meeting new people, you can find that it takes you quite a while to find your own niche, and during the early stages loneliness can hit you.

My advice is if you are going to be living in Spain for while, the first thing to do is look for an evening class to join - for example, learning spanish. If you can speak it already, then maybe you could join some kind of cultural class, or sports team. I have always found that's an ideal way to meet local people and because you are seeing the same people every week, you tend to strike up friendships with them. Also, it gives you that feeling of belonging to a group of sorts, which is important. And of course, it gives a structure to your week.

Also, I'd say dont be afraid to just walk into a bar on your own. I remember the first few times I did that I foudn it really hard, but now I always just sit up at the bar counter and strike up a conversation with the bar staff. Usually after a while, you're chatting to half the bar. I have always found other people to be curious about the fact that I am by myself, and someone always comes to find out what your story is. After you've done this a few times, your confidence will really start to grow. :)

One final tip is to suss out expat-related social events or activities in the town or city you are in. For example, most English teachers in foreign countries have a great social scene. Here in New York for example, the Irish have a corporate networking thing that you can go to once a month - it's a bit crap to be honest, but it is something that you can do to begin with to meet new people and get invited to other events. So, maybe there could be something similar wherever you are based?

Anyway, I hope you feel more settled soon. I've lived and worked in Chile, New Zealand and New York and I know what it can be like moving, settling in and making new friends. Feel free to send me a PM any time. ;)

4. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1116 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

yes, I'm reaching my staturation point. How to deal with loneliness? I do my facebook and be more friendly.

5. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru 520 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

I have lived alone overseas at times too.

Utrecht's book reading helps when travelling.

When working overseas samsara2 has some very good points. Do you speak spainish fluently, maybe an evening course if not?

Being overseas alone can get you down, language, cultural, social and other issues isolate people. Here are a few things I have done.

Internet helps. Do you have a blog? Sometimes writing about it online is a huge plus. You don't even have to tell anyone about the blog. Just write about your day and what life is like.

I spent two years in Africa in a pretty isolated place. I found giving myself projects help. Right now I am writing a book, and learning web design and it's making time fly by very quickly!

Likewise, stay in touch here and talk away!

6. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4139 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Feeling lonely is normal when you are new to a place.

Just put yourself "out there" and you will end up making friends, or at least acquaintances with people. Staying in and watching TV everynight will certainly NOT help.

Apart from that, keep in touch with family and friends via email and SMS.

7. Posted by Cool Paul (Respected Member 611 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

I used to be pretty anti-social. I never knew what say. I felt like opportunities would just pass me by. high anxiety, all that stuff. actually I still have high anxiety. but I realized we are all in the same boat. Everybody in the world is waiting for someone to talk to them.

Don't read a book.

just talk to people in a hostel or go out to a pub and talk to people. you don't have to get drunk—hell you don't even have to drink—just start up a conversation. you never know who you'll meet.

just in the past week I met a guy that does pyrotechnics for movies and tv. another guy that works for cirque du soleil. another guy that handed me $100 cash to come up with some simple ideas for a website. A girl that says her housemates are looking for a roommate in her flat. Everyone that works in the local pub and now I may work there part-time.

a few weeks ago I was just sitting down on the couch and a cute irish girl that I met for five minutes in the pub came in and told me she just rented a van. we talked a little. next thing I know I'm in the van going on a road trip with her. now I'm crazy about her. we ended up traveling together for a few weeks.

what I'm saying is just get out there. you'll meet one person they'll introduce you to more...and so on...

you'll meet tons of people whom you have nothing in common with. no problem just don't talk to them anymore.

if you sit around reading. people are going to think you don't want to be bothered.

[ Edit: Edited on Sep 1, 2008, at 6:10 PM by Cool Paul ]

8. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4139 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Cool Paul

a few weeks ago I was just sitting down on the couch and a cute irish girl that I met for five minutes in the pub came in and told me she just rented a van. we talked a little.

Was that samsara2?

9. Posted by sirwhale (Full Member 84 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

I definitely agree with samsara, in my opinion she has given some sound advise, especially about joining somesort of eveing club/lessons. This way you do begin to feel part of a group and that way it's much easier to make native friends. I have often gone through waves of loneliness, both here in Chile and in Spain. I find that it normally lasts a day or two until you meet someone new and have a good conversation. If you just want to talk to someone in the street, pretend you want directions and then take it from there. I have just been introduced to a Chilean girl by a student of mine, so if you're teaching your students may be able to help.


10. Posted by Gavin-D (Budding Member 81 posts) 15y Star this if you like it!

travelling alone has made me realise that i am actually a bit of a loner, i really dont mind doing my own thing. sometimes its goiod to have company though so like the others have suggested i'd just sit down and start talking. if your in a hostel then everyone is in the same situation.
but to pass the time i head out with a small pack and either my camera and a book. i've been away 6 months and haven't had a lonely day yet.