And, now, I’m lonely as fuck.
** Re-published from a time circa 2016 **
It has been three weeks since I returned home from a year of backpacking in Europe.
I’ve not accepted that it’s over. Memories still run circles in my head.
The places. The adventures. The romancing. Most importantly; I gained a family. Individuals from all corners of the continent.
None of these things can escape my mind. I’m lonely, now, and no one around me can relate to my experiences.
I was lucky enough to grow roots on the island of Malta, where I studied for a semester. I made friends and relationships with dozens of fascinating people. But now I see it makes it all that much harder for it to be absent from your life.
There is something about international friendship that grabs you and never lets go. No matter the age, nationality, language, or differences you carry.
How to cope
I’ve had time to sift through this stage of loneliness. Here’s what I’ve gathered and methods I’ve used to cope:
Stay in touch!
Fortunately, today, it is easy to stay in touch with people across the planet. With the links of Facebook Messenger, iMessage, Instagram, Whatsapp, Viber, Telegram, Signal. . . The list goes on and on. There are limitless ways to stay in contact online.
Of course, it’s not the optimal situation. But who says it’s a means to an end?
Just know, it will be different than the relationship you had when you were with them. Sometimes, the conversation will run dry or feel forced. You’ll run out of things to talk about with even your best of friends.
Phone calls are not out of style!
Hearing their laughter and cracking jokes is the benefit of talking on the phone. It will feel closer to the real thing.
The important thing is to make the effort.
Keep planning adventures.
Things back home haven’t evolved as you did during your time traveling. It’s hard to understand how your stories do not inspire some friends to get out and see the world for themselves.
To avoid frustration, keep dreaming up travel plans. For example, I am amidst planning my two-month journey through Canada. It doesn’t take long to get back on the road if you push yourself.
Reminisce on the good times.
The last method I’m using to cope with my post-traveling loneliness is using pictures and videos.
Let this be a reminder: Take a lot of pictures and videos while you are traveling!
Capture the moments that seem unimportant at the time. You would be surprised by the feelings a video of you and your friends goofing around could bring back.
It is hard to cope with loneliness. But remember how fortunate it is you got to make such beautiful memories in the first place.
You’re one of the lucky ones.
I have a gut feeling I will reunite with these people again one day. Until then, I will smile at the memories.
Talking about it with people who have had similar experiences is another good way to not feel so alone. If you are experiencing something similar, feel free to reach out. I would love to connect through your experience!
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