Do I get lonely travelling?
Well, the answer is yes, I do and if I could wave a magic wand, I would be travelling with my husband just as we had planned. With that same very magic wand we would be travelling through Europe.
But neither of those options are open to me. I don’t have that very special wand and after two years spent sitting around our house after my husband died, I decided that travelling by myself was so much better than sitting at home.
Being inside a suburban house is very lonely.
Travelling by myself gives me options.
I have found that travelling gives me the opportunity to meet up with so many wonderful people as well as having some amazing experiences and learning more about our wonderful country.
Just today I was invited to have drinks with the couple who are in the caravan next to mine in this very cute town of Richmond in Tasmania.
They had met up with another couple while travelling and were having drinks in the courtyard of the pub as I passed by. I had a lovely time. The sun was shining again, and the courtyard was a lovely place to hang out on a Saturday afternoon.
One of the guys has been in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race four times and had some great stories to tell.
The other couple are also from Queensland and a moving on to manage a CMCA park in NSW. They have been to Tasmania a few times and had some great recommendations of places to visit. They also told me which places allow dogs, the best caravan parks to stay at, and the ones to avoid.
Other times I like to be by myself. I have discovered that I enjoy investigating places and the peace of nature all alone. I like hanging out in bed on the cold mornings and not having to get up and go. I enjoy reading and writing and sometimes it is nice to not have to worry about someone else.
I have found that travellers are all interesting people.
Each day I meet a different person and learn something new. It seems that the community of travellers like to share where they have been and what they have learnt. Often, they are people who have been adventurous all their lives and have travelled far and wide. Most conversations are worth being a part of, and they are happy to include everyone.
I do have lonely moments and wonder what or who I will talk to today and then I go outside and do something and find the most amazing people.
How do I find people to talk to?
I go into the tourist bureaus and they are usually people who love to talk about the area, and I gain so much information about the history, the character and the best places to go. I recommend them as a place to go in every town before you start exploring. I have had some in outback Queensland tell me which caravan parks to not stay at. They will tell me if a tour is worth doing and they will fill me in on everything from where the easiest place is to get petrol to the best fish and chips.
I don’t like staying in crowded caravan parks although I do stay in them occasionally. Some are so much better than others. Some have camp kitchens set up in such a way that people like to hang out there. Quamby Corner Caravan Park is one such place.
I am not sure exactly what makes it a place where people want to hang out, but somethings that seem to be common –
- Easy to access for all those in the park, usually in the centre.
- Ample tables and chairs and good facilities.
- Covered in but not a solid room (the parks where they are full-on rooms look fantastic, but they do not seem to get people gathering)
- Some have campfires that are lit by the management with logs to put on and good seating around, close to the camp kitchen.
If I am having an evening where I feel lonely and I am at one of these parks, then all I have to do is go outside and say hi.
There is something about camping that encourages people to be friendly and open. There is no distinction between age or socioeconomic status. We are sitting around a campfire talking about what we each did that day. Talking about the adventures, the trials, the mishaps. We are all in this together whether we are in a tent or a very big expensive caravan. You don’t have to be lonely travelling. If you come outside and say hi, you will find friends.
My puppy is a people magnet
The other thing that attracts people to come and talk with me is my sidekick Vincent. He is my 11-month-old schnoodle. (schnauzer-cross-poodle) He is so friendly and loves people and people just want to pat him. You can see their fingers itching. He seems to have a big smile on his face and has a big mop of hair on the top of his head. Every day I have people asking if they can pat him and get their dog fix. There are many people who I have met who know Vincent’s name, but possibly struggle to remember my name, and visa versa too.
When I am with a tour group, I will often find other single women travelling and we gravitate towards each other. I met two lovely ladies on the tour boat to Wine glass bay. It was so lovely to hang out with them and get to know them a little bit. It does make the trip a bit more fun when you can share the experience.
Sharing on Facebook
Another thing that I have found makes a big difference for me, is the opportunity to share my experience. I put up a summary of my day and the best photos I have taken on my Facebook profile. So many of my friends and Facebook acquaintances love to see what I have been doing. They love the descriptions of what each place is about and what I am learning.
Most people would love to travel, and this is their opportunity to travel vicariously. I was pleasantly surprised by how much people enjoyed it. And it makes my trip a bit more fun. When I am deciding what photos to take, I think about how it will look in my day’s summary. What will help people see what I am seeing and give them an understanding of what I am doing. I will take photos of the boat I am about to go on and the bay it sits in. I will take photos of some of the signs on the way so both they and I can see what the photo relates to.
They love to see Vincent and how much he is enjoying his trip. Him frolicking on the beach or cautiously walking on the swinging bridge. Then I will take a photo to show the water roaring under the bridge that gives context to the photo and just how scary it was.
I wondered if people were just being nice to me when they said that they enjoyed my daily posts, but they assure me that they are really enjoying the travels and ask where I am off to next.
Final word on solo travel
Travelling by yourself does have its moments of loneliness of course. I really wish my husband was with me and we were doing this together, but it is far less lonely than you would expect, and much less lonely than being home by myself.
If you would like to follow my travels, then friend-request me on Facebook at Kay L Bayly and come and see what I am up to.