Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Feeling Lonely While Solo Travelling

The thought of being separated from my travel partner Alex and being by myself in a foreign country, all alone in San Fransisco, after a month of side by side companionship swirled feelings of dread and uncertainty during our last night together.

What would travelling be like by myself I wondered, would I feel lonely?

It was abrupt change moving from a friend being around all the time to being completely independent with only myself to account for. It was a liberating feeling to finally be alone, to choose what I wanted with no deliberation with another party, but at the same time, it was intense to be singular and so disconnected from the life I'd made at home.

I spent a lot of time by myself in San Francisco. The hostel I stayed at was immense. There were so many people housed in the building that despite a free breakfast to bring the hostel together into some semblance of a social atmosphere it was hard to strike up conversation with strangers. Knowing after breakfast you may never see them again despite staying in such close proximity made making that first move towards friendship seem so futile. 

Although I did meet some people in my dorm room there wasn’t anybody I really bonded with in the first four days I was in San Francisco. It wasn’t until the penultimate night on a pub crawl (alcohol is such a good ice breaker) that I met people in my own age group whom I liked and had things in common with despite originating from such different countries and cultures.

Rather than spending my final day alone in the city I was able to spend it with a friend I made the night prior, Andy, and we went to Fishermans Wharf, a touristy strip of shops along the waterfront, eventually reaching a small beach and wading in the glacial Pacific Ocean with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance, its deep red colour counterbalanced by a perfect blue sky.

Despite being glad to finally meet likeminded people I am greatful for those four days I spent alone. It was hard and I felt lonely at times like I suspected I would, but sometimes it's those feelings of being lost or lonely that make you grow as a person. You learn to appreciate ypur own company and figure out how to spend your time in a way that makes you happy on your own without the aid of others.

I spent my days how I wished to spend them. Strolling the beautiful streets of San Francisco, visiting museums, getting lost and writing in my diary. Experiencing the city without distraction from anybody else so I could truly take it in and absorb every detail to my memory. 

After an entire month with my friend it was nice to be able to spend some time with only myself as company, reinvigorating and simply enjoying being in San Francisco, so different from my own home city of Melbourne, Australia.