“Won’t you feel alone traveling all by yourself?”
This is a question I am often asked at any given time. My response is always: Yes. Of course. But really, I’m never truly alone.
I stand beside that answer, no matter what kind of day I’m having.
Just like everyone else on the planet, I get lonely and I spend a lot of time alone, whether I am around others or not. But, traveling presents me with thousands more opportunities to not be alone or feel loneliness, because each day the world hits you over the head with something or someone new. The traveler community is a vibrant, exciting one with many interesting people to share experiences and fulfill dreams with. The next person I meet could end up a lifelong friend, could be the best travel buddy, or simply just someone passing through my life. It could very well be sharing a glass of wine with a family friend!
I was very fortunate to meet up with family friends who just happened to be vacationing in Lucca, Italy. A city in the same region as the vineyard I was volunteering at. I took a day off from the vineyard and met up with them for several hours to tour Lucca, ride a hilarious 6 person bicycle around the city walls, learn from them about the city, eat great food together, and share experiences and stories of our travels so far. It was like stepping out of my regular day-to-day life on the road, and into their family vacation. I can’t thank them enough for the help they gave me that day to subdue a feeling of loneliness I had been working on since Florence.
Travel pushes your limits on what you can handle alone. Getting stuck outside in the rain with nowhere to stay, people who were supposed to meet you never show up, arriving in a foreign country at a dark bus stop at 3 A.M with no money, getting robbed or taken advantage of, and not understanding the language while being completely lost are just a few memories that come to mind.
After meeting with my family friends, I was reminded that I am exactly where I want to be. I’ve handled horrible people in the workplace before, the feeling of being secluded, and living far from family and friends for school. Why should travel be any different than the day-to-day ‘aloneness’ we all experience? That’s the thing, isn’t it. Being alone and feeling loneliness all comes down to you, your experiences, and the ability to say that you’re never truly alone.