October 8, 2014

Finding Solace in Lonely Travel.

Joe Thompson use with article

Many of us are drawn to travel.

For the passionate traveler, it can borderline on obsession.

We live day-to-day thinking about our upcoming travel plans or about when we’ll have enough money to buy that next plane ticket. Either way, we are drawn to it by some invisible force deep within us.

For those of us who are long-term travelers, either living abroad or simply on a long journey, traveling alone can be difficult.

One part of us cannot get enough of the excitement and freedom that travel allows, but another part of us wants some form of stability, no matter how small. We need that autonomy that comes with being alone, but crave the love and commitment of a partner. We make connections with people, but hesitate to commit because we know one of us will be leaving soon.

Yes, we meet incredible people from all over the world, some of whom we create close connections with, some of whom we might even end up traveling with or visiting back in their home countries. But in the end, everyone has to go home. For the long-termers, this can be like a punch to the gut.

I’ve had the pleasure of living and working in New Zealand for the past six months. During this time I have met people from all over the world: Ireland, Scotland, Estonia, Italy, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Czech Republic, Holland, Norway, England, Mexico, Argentina, Russia, I could go on and on. We were all working in the same area, staying in the same hostel, semi-long term. At one point almost all those nationalities were contained under one roof. Every night it was like a celebration at the United Nations.

But then, slowly, each country moved on. Each country left and continued on their adventure, leaving only a few.

From their absence, a void grew. From this void, my reality was shaken. When before our lives were blissful, relaxed and buoyant, now my experiences left me feeling a bit unfulfilled and almost tense. These experiences aren’t necessarily negative, just, different.

We create a community of like-minded individuals around ourselves, almost drawing them in unconsciously. We laugh together, adventure together, take photos together, make memories together. But then the day comes where one or two leave and we snap back to reality. The reality that we are living a dynamic life, one full of change and adaptation.

This realization doesn’t exclusively apply to the life of a traveler.

We all live dynamic lives full of change. But a more grounded lifestyle might encounter change and require adaptation in a lesser degree. Nevertheless, it depends on whether or not we welcome this flux into our lives with open arms that makes all the difference. Whether or not we embrace the fluidity of life and use it as a tool to grow.

No matter how difficult this is, we push on, we become stronger individuals. The trials and tribulations we face from being out there in the world alone mold us into better-informed, more aware creatures of the planet.

It’s from these struggles and triumphs of personal development that help sprout and mature our lives into who we are to become.

It’s from these struggles and triumphs that I find solace in travel.





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Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Author’s Own

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