Travelling alone isn’t lonely at all. You find that when sharing a room with a group of strangers that you meet people very easily because everyone is in the same boat and is always open to meeting people.
The best way I can describe a solo traveller is like a meerkat that pops their head up seeking out fellow meerkats for company. It’s very easy to walk into a hostel, spot the other people travelling alone, introduce yourself or ask to join them and then head off doing touristy things together or just a drink. Once you get passed the introduction stage you are good to go.
However, I feel the need to vent about my ‘friendship’ experiences as I started to get used toe a few patterns…
Pattern one: The same conversation
Where are you from? Where have you been? Where are you going?
It feels like Freshers week at University.
But the biggest test of all is if the conversation gets past that… when you start to really get to know the person, their reason for travelling, their hobbies and interests and when they take the time to get to know you.
Pattern two: Attachments
Friendships travelling can become close very quickly. When you’re experiences so many incredible things or facing a fear, having people to share it with makes it all the better and attachments are formed. I also think many people travelling have a lot in common, we’ve all made sacrifices to leave home, we’ve worked hard at some point to save up for the trip so usually it’s very easy to find common ground. So it’s very easy to bond on these points and feel comforted so far away from home.
The same can be said for romantic relationships, attractions to people are also heightened because you’re both more open to the possibilities of whatever travelling may bring. You’re also a more interesting version of yourself or maybe this makes you more confident.
I often found myself telling people I’d only known an hour or so very personal stories about my home life, stories only my very very best friends know… my point is that when you’re opening up so much to people, personally I found that I started to form what I felt was very close attachments, to then have to say goodbye. This brings me on to my next point…
Pattern three: Temporary Friendships
After a lovely evening, couple of hours or even a conversation with a fellow traveller, what found was that I really really disliked the temporaryness of making friends travelling You meet people, have a lovely time and then their gone and off on their way…
If you’re lucky you’ll get a few days with them or may even get to travel part of the country but usually it’s not much time at all. And after this you may exchange numbers and full names for Facebook purposes but it always leaves me with a sad feeling. These ‘friends’, unless by chance you find out lives in the same city as you, will not be there when you get home, and perhaps you will never see in person again.
It was two months into my travels that I realised more and more that I’m not a ‘temporary friend’ kind of girl and that’s what I struggled with the more I met new amazing people. I got used to knowing that in a few minutes, hours, days that person will be gone and once you make a mental note of this, or make a group of solid friends on your travels you start to make less of an effort to meet new people.
It was a hard hit for me at this point because my blog was becoming more and more about the people that influence the places I go, so it’s became harder to write and reflect on days gone by when you’re sat with a completely new group of lovely people who again will be gone tomorrow.
All in all, meeting people travelling makes travelling better. It can be very easy to disconnect from meeting people at times when you know that you need to have the same initial conversation, you’ve just left a group of awesome friends who you’re missing already or you think this isn’t a person you usually talk to. But break away from these feelings where possible!
You never know if you’ll see them again, you never know if this person may even advise you on the next awesome location to visit or give you the best advice you’ve ever had. Who’s to know who you meet is just a quick hello, or potentially a person that shapes your travels? You don’t know.
My advice is to smile, meet and greet as many travellers as possible, in the dorm rooms, in the kitchen, on the street you never know the outcome.