Defining ‘loneliness’ as a solo introvert traveller

[Update March 30, 2016: An updated version blogpost was featured in my book Your Big Break. ]

Among reasons that people do not want to travel alone is that they are afraid that they will be lonely.

However, as an introvert hovering between being an ISFP and INFP, “loneliness” isn’t something that I’m afraid of while on the road. In fact, I do my very best to stay away from people which doesn’t make me a very sociable person.

Despite my lack of thought about being lonely while on the road, there were some occasions when I did feel lonely during my trip last year. Oddly, in those situations I wasn’t alone but the sense of loneliness was there.

Lonely situation 1: Feeling blue over a piece of steak

florenttine steak

The first time I felt loneliness was in Florence where I almost wept over a piece of undercooked steak.

I tried analyzing why I was so down even though I was hanging out with a group of people the few days before. Shouldn’t I be glad that I would not be lonely when I head back to the hostel??

I came to the conclusion that I was too busy being with people that I didn’t have enough to myself to recharge my batteries.

The low energy combined with an inedible piece of expensive meat led me to feel lonely

Lonely situation 2: Reading at a dance party

loneliness

The second time I felt lonely was in Argentina during the group tour to Iguazu.

Others were partying and I just felt like reading a book on the sofa. Many people hopped around in the tiny living room in their interpretation of modern dancing while I curled up on the sofa (so my feet would not be stomped on) with my Kindle.

In the crowded party, I felt like there was only me and my book that mattered. I felt silly agreeing to go to the party even though I didn’t want to. I felt silly that I wasn’t mingling around with everybody like I was expected to.

The fact that no one else preferred to be alone made me feel lonely.

Why do I end up in situations that make me feel lonely?

Writing this made me think whether I avoid people while travelling because I will feel lonely among the crowd? Or is it that I clam up around strangers which leads to me being lonely?

What do you think? What makes you lonely when you travel?

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

1 Comment

    1. [An update to the post from two years later.] I guess back then I confused low energy with being lonely. As an introvert, prolonged interaction drains me, making me moody. Now that I know myself better, I’d probably excuse myself and go recharge before trying to be more social again.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.