Welcome back to another of my #yow (year of wanderlust) post, this time talking about the loneliness of traveling. Today, on day 218, I’m leaving from Innsbruck, Austria to Salzburg, Austria. I have just finished two days in Innsbruck, which was a pretty nice town. Did a hike yesterday that took me 1.7km into the sky. Now that was a tough hike! So out of shape I am, ha!
Since the last post, I’d left Hungary and spent a week in Slovakia, where I visited Kosice, Spisske Pohradie, Spisska Nova Ves, Trencin, and Bratislava. After Bratislava, I did three days in Vienna before heading to Innsbruck.
While I will write a future traveler’s guide to Slovakia, I just want to make a quick point that the country is quite beautiful. It has the most castle per capita, and castles like Spis and Trencin are very nice and pretty to look at, either up close or from further away. I managed to visit during the fall season, so doing a hike in the nature park and seeing the colors was quite spectacular.
For today’s post, I like to dedicate it to the loneliness of traveling.
Since I’ve started my trip, I’ve been asked by plenty of people if it has been lonely traveling by myself. I always internally laughed at such a question. Mainly because of two points:
- I’m never really lonely unless I want to be. I call this on the superficial level. It is as in, always being around people physically. Maybe if I was staying in a hotel room at night, then I might barely agree to this, but I don’t. I stay in hostels and couchsurfing, which means I’m always around people. Actually, sometimes I get tired of too much socializing. Because the first 10 minutes of any conversation with any new strangers is the same, “Hi, my name is Tony, I’m from California.” “Ah, where in Cali? San Diego.” “What am I doing? Oh I’m just spending a year traveling the world, having visited Asia and now Europe.” “Blah blah.” It gets tiring man. I can’t even imagine how many times I’ve had to say the same stuff since I’ve started. Don’t get me wrong, I get excited to tell people about myself, but on some days, I’m just like, I’m gonna go over here, sit in the corner, look like if you try to talk to me I will rip your eyeballs from their eye sockets, and be left alone. Those days don’t happen often, but they do happen, and because I actually want to be alone!
- The second point is being lonely on the meaningful level. As you probably surmised, meeting people in hostels and on couchsurfing isn’t going to do much in the term of developing meaningful friendships. And it’s true. The max I’ve stayed in a place is max 3 days, (except for that week in Boracay, but that was just…insane, ha). But people come in and come out, so I’m never anywhere long and neither are others, so any kind of friendship that’s developed is on a more superficial level. And you will probably ask, “don’t you miss being able to share bonds with close friends and stuff?” You know my response? “Eh.”
I won’t speak for others, but for me, this whole trip was about me. It was, and still is, about finding out about me. Do I miss talking shit with my good friends and throw inside jokes at one another? Sure. But is it that important to me right now? No. Because for this trip, I’ve also been running into friends that I haven’t seen for ages. And when we do, it’s great, because we hug, laugh, and everyone go, “oh Tony, you’re still the same.”
Balance, my dear astute readers. That’s the key to everything in life. Everything you do must be a balance. Traveling doesn’t have to be lonely, and if you’re afraid of being lonely before you even travel, then you might be traveling for the wrong reason. You should always be traveling for you and yourself. Whether it is to expand your mind, find out about your inner child, or learn to be less ignorant, the first and foremost is about yourself. If you’re afraid of being lonely when you traveling, then you might as well stay home and be around your circle of friends, and never grow, never improve. Because as human beings, we always tend to hang out around those with whom we share a common mindset with. It’s why racist people tend to be racist because they hang out around other racist people. It’s why anti-immigrant people tend to be anti-immigrant because they only hang out with other anti-immigrant people and etc.
Don’t get me wrong, though. If you can travel with a buddy, do it. Things are always more fun in pairs. But make sure the person you’re doing it with has the same travel mentality as you. I will have to admit, there are certain times when I wish some of my good guy friends were with me if only to tear up the night in some city. But alas, most of my good friends are all Americans, and as we know, it’s quite difficult to travel as an American because most of us get shitty vacation times.
But for the rest of us that do travel, and travel alone, I can say at least for myself, I am not lonely. I’ve never at once felt that I am alone and need to go home to my little comfort box. How lonely you are when you travel depends on you. And if things really get bad, well, there’s always using your socks as your traveling buddy.
- Year of Wanderlust Day 206 Recapping Hungary
- Day 222 Types of Travelers