At some point on the road it is inevitable that your moods will go up and down, which includes loneliness. It can be hard to manage when it pops up and can easily turn into a spiral that leads to uncovering the deeper states and moods of sadness, depression, discontent and uncertainty.
Loneliness is a lack of connection with ourselves and others. Doing the work to be at peace with yourself wherever you are is critical, however, accepting that we will all feel lonely throughout different stages in our life, is just as important.
Throughout my travels and life crisies, it has required me to master my moods. Here’s some advice I have gained on what to do when loneliness hits on your travels.
Accept it. Do not shame it or cheerlead yourself out of it. Let it be.
Our moods show up to call our attention to what we are ignoring. They are there as friends to tug until you listen to what they need and take action. Like all emotional states, Lonely needs you to be there with it. To give it and yourself permission to feel it, fully.
While you can feel lonely just about anywhere, in a crowded place, in a relationship, groups of people, solo in a foreign land will blow the hold open like a magnifying glass. Instead of blockin it, try letting it in.
Express Gratitude to your loneliness.
I like to thank my emotions and express gratitude when they come. This might sound cheesy, but after a while, it has helped. Try this, “Thank you loneliness for being here to remind me what it feels like to feel seen, apart of something, and togetherness. Thank you lonely for reminded me we are always alone and we are also never alone. Thank you lonely for being here for me to keep me company, to talk to me, share with me your thoughts and fears. Thank you lonely. I love you.”
I remember when I was lonely in Bali and went over a month without a friend. Then, I met Victoria. Bright pink hair, from Chile and on a 4 month solo journey. I was so happy we connected multiple levels. When she left, I sobbed. I was so grateful to have met her on my journey, I forgot what it was like to a have friends. I became so grateful for all my friends and my connections. I believe I ended up voice texting at least four friends back home gushing abut how much I loved them and what they meant to me. How lucky I was that they were in my life. Lonely made me appreciate everyone so much more. What a special gift.
Phone a Friend
This is a great time to actually pick up the phone and reach out to a loved one. Whether it’s another fellow traveler, family member or friend. Sometimes, I think our egos get in the way of admitting that just because we chose this admirable life of traveling, doesn’t mean we don’t get feel all the feels, sometimes it feels more severe. This is a great time to tell a friend your feelings. Don’t make the phon call only about you needing them, make it about calling a friend to say “I love you”. I do not take you for granted.
I guarantee you, you will get off the phone feeling 100% better, full of energy and at a little more peace.
Learn to talk to yourself and remove the emotion as a secondary character
With my own mental health story and remote travel lifestyle, I’ve had to learn to be the orchestrator, the CEO of all the feels, personalities, voices that pop in and out. It’s an art, a skill that has taken me a long time. It is still and always will be a daily practice.
I want to invite you into how I committed to work on them. I started to remove each feeling, mood, state of being as “my little selves”. I realized they all stemmed from different child version of myself that were birthed at different ages. Lately, I’ve add myself with a third person vocbularly, “Lonely Morgan”, “Hungry Morgan”, “Manic Morgan”, “Bratty Morgan”, “Silly Morgan” “Judgey Morgan”, etc.
When Lonely Morgan comes up, I ackloged that she is here and needs my attention, “Hi lonely Morgan. What is making you lonely” She will respond with something like, “I have no friends. I’m not connected with anyone on a deeper level, I’m single”. I listen and say “I know, I understand”, “How can I help?”. It can be anything from lay with me in silence and cry, to call your mom, go out to eat in public, watch a light comedy on netflix.” She always answers and is clear on what she needs. I don’t let her rule me, I let her speak.
Sometimes she says, “I want to go home” and I’ll look at flights and say “Ok, we will sleep on it and if tomorrow if we feel the same, we reasses”. I will do my best to ntot make an impulsive decision and if I do, trust that it was what I needed to do for myself in that moment.
Sign up for Therapy Apps or Find A Coach
There are a lot of tools out there. I’ve tried Better help. I really liked the platform. It made it easy to find a time, stay on track and they send you assignments to help create goals. If you are working on loneliness with a therapist, they can be there to support emotionally, talk you through and be a removed party to listen. A coach might also be beneficial to work with you on ways to move out of your loneliness.
Get on FaceBook groups and see if anyone is around or can talk that might understand you.
I have gotten on calls with random people I have never met and probably wont. I have talked to others I;ve met up with months later. Being in a Digital Nomad group, Expat group, Yoga Greee group. We all understand the journey, sometimes asking for someone to talk to, is enough. I know someone will answer and be happy to text, voice text or get on a call with you.
Be Around People without needing to make a “real” connection
I’ve gotten really frustrated when I’m struggling to build more meaningful connections. In Bali, I went an entire month not feeling bonded to anyone. I met incredible people and was very grateful. We know what it’s like when you click in with someone special, friendship or otherwise.
I finally let go of needing it. I had an epiphany, I have incredible friends, the best family, and deep connections all over the globe. So what, if the people I meet right now, are surfaced connections, or simply a shared experience of a snorkeling trip, where I go home after and watch a Netflix show?
Sometimes pushing yourself to join up with a group, booking a tour, finding ways to chat, even if it is small talk can fill up the lonely hole.
Get over the search of this Holy Grail “Community”
There are many groups that sell you on community as a digital nomad. Even expats I meet are searching for this elusive “Community”. It is such a major buzz word, I think we haven’t asked ourselves, what doesn’t community look like for you?
If it’s a group, what kind? All Digital Nomads? Yoga people? Weekly drinking club with a running problem? A game night group that meets once a month? Is it a camp of everyone that are best friends forever?
Are you searching for community or deeper connections with others and yourself?
Community can be as simple as you want or as complex as you make it to be.
It can be a group, or individual connections that have collectively made up your community within yourself. You don’t actually need to be searching for this magical community, develop the deeper relationships you have, including the ones with yourself.
In Koh Langa, Thailand I live in a Tiny home with 6 other houses. I am the only long term resident so far. People come and go. I say hi and bye. No one has been my bff, but there is a community sense around. We’re neighbors. I borrowed a pan from one today, and everyone went snrokling last week. I have one more hearty connection with my landlord and that’s about it.
Stick around in the same city, same accommodations for as long as possible. Embrace the Slow-mad travel experience
We have a tendency to want to see and do as much as possible. Soon that will tire, like many things do. The times I stay in one accommodations, in one city, in one place for at least a month, I feel more grounded and an organic community presents itself.
I have been working on Slowmad traveling, with my slogan being, how slow can you go? How can I stay still longer. We seem to get bored easily and be on the run. You can OD on experiences and need to pause and see what’s really going on inside.
Are there new wants and desires you haven’t been addressing?
We have stop moving to start speeding things up.
Get into a routine where you are
If you were at home, would you go to the same gym, coffee shops to do work, favorite hiking spots? Create that routine for yourself on the road. This will help if you are staying still longer. Even if you say Hi the person at the receptionist, you’ll start developing mini moments that make you feel connected.
Decide if it’s time to re evaluate how you view being a digital nomad and travel in general
Perhaps if you paused long enough, you will be able to ask if this lifestyle is working for you still or not. If the answer is No, can you dig to uncover how it might. Is it a slower travel, selecting only 2 destinations that go back and forth and take mini trips. Is it time to become an expat in a new country?
Your soul is tugging at you to chill so you can hear what you truly want. It’s OK if you’re done running around so much
Go to the place you consider home.
Eventually you’ll determine what home is to you. For me, I feel at home in two places. Los Angeles, where I grew up and my family and close friends still live. My second home, is anywhere with a beach & body of water. I remember being away from the water for months. I landed in Da Nang, Vietnam. It was raining and I didn’t care. I ran to the water and stuck my feet in the sand. I watched the waves crash and thought “I am home”. If you have a city or place you call home, go back. Stay awhile and when you are ready, the next opportunity will present itself.
Traveling on the road, far away from known comforts can make loneliness charge through brighter and quicker. You are not alone, ever. Even though you feel lonely, there are so many other travelers around you that feel the same way. Share it! We all want to connect and feel less alone.
Remember, nothing is permanent , including loneliness. Once we can accept all our feelings, and become the parent, CEO, conductor of all our selves, we can start really listening to our authentic voice and honoring it. If it is saying, it’s time to stop. Trust it.
Most important, take a lot of time to celebrate your wins. You are so brave. You accomplished this dream of yours. Relish in, and let it go. There might be a new dream, a new adventure waiting for you. Maybe, just maybe, this part of the journey is waiting for you to close the door first before the new one enters.
Reminder, You can always re open it, nothing is locked. Wherever you are in your journey, I am here to support you. Keep following along!