You can even feel lonely at home...
I distinctly remember being two months into my 16 week stay in France when I experienced several days of being totally on my own. It was the days before cyberspace and I hadn't had the opportunity to speak to another soul. I hungered for some interesting contact. I was tired of traveling and missed my family, I didn't want to see the inside of yet another church and wearing that same sweatshirt over and over again was disheartening. In fact, I was sad enough to contemplate changing my plane ticket and going home the very next day.
What stopped me was my inner voice saying, "you've had lonely days before and you were not even traveling. You were at home. Running away is not the answer."
Instead, I booked an appointment at a local spa and enjoyed the pleasures of a relaxing massage. That evening I took myself out for a lovely dinner complete with wine and a decadent dessert. I bought myself a new sweater. Somehow that extra bit of self-nurturing did the trick. Thank goodness I didn't go home. I was refreshed and ready to start all over again with gusto.
In the past I've asked the women of the JourneyWoman Network how they deal with loneliness? As seasoned travelers they certainly don't deny that that emotion exists. Here are some of their interesting solutions. It's a good idea for all of us to review these suggestions every once in a while.
Once it happened to me I could recognize homesickness in others. On an intercity train I once sat beside a young American women. We chatted and she told me that it was her birthday, the first one she was spending away from home. She sorely missed her family and friends. I suggested we go out to celebrate by going to the movies that evening. It would be my birthday treat. So we watched a Woody Allen movie in French with English subtitles, laughing along with the French audience. It was easy to see that a little bit of adventure cheered her right up. That's the beautiful magic of coping on the road.
During my travel career I've developed ways of making friends along the way. Check out this list. It might prove a help to you when you set off on your own for the first time.