Expat Life | Feeling Lonely Not Alone (and how travel helps)
It’s not often I feel lonely instead of just alone but tonight is one of those nights. I haven’t been in a proper relationship in years but it honestly never bothers me because I love my life and I don’t believe that a relationship would improve it. Tonight though, I question it all.
I’m sat on the luxury Paradise Elegance cruise ship in Halong Bay, Vietnam surrounded by happy couples, honeymooners, and groups enjoying the holiday. Me on the other hand … I’m trying hard to find a wifi signal and push out my 1st travel piece that I was supposed to upload yesterday for FEMALE Malaysia magazine!
Everything was going great until ‘B’ messaged me today, sharing a memory from “5 years ago today on Facebook” from our official first date in Bangalore, India. We met there at a gallery opening and had such a whirlwind romance that we both thought we were falling in love. And maybe we did. For weeks we didn’t work or socialise or do anything other than stay in a love bubble. It was the only time in my life this has happened and it was terribly romantic. He lived in the U.S. and ended up changing his tickets a few of times to stay longer in my arms in Bangalore. It was seriously wonderfully romantic.
Five years have passed since then, with no one new popping up on my radar that has been interesting enough to make me even want to go on a date.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I don’t put myself out there either. I’ve never installed a dating app nor have I signed up for any dating websites. Mainly because I don’t want to be in a relationship but also because I feel that fate and destiny are better allies for my personal style.
FAST FORWARD 2 WEEKS! >>
I wrote the above about two weeks ago and shelved it because it seemed more like a senseless rant and because these moments of feeling lonely and not just alone always pass. That one did I’m happy to say.
Today is February 14th, Valentine’s Day. Everywhere I looked this afternoon there were men carrying bouquets of flowers in Kuala Lumpur. It was very sweet and I’m happy to say that it didn’t trigger some crazy meltdown. I’m handling it like a big girl with a bottle of wine and chocolates 😉 And although it has made me question whether I wish I was in a relationship or not today, I’m happy to say the answer is still no.
Travel to Combat Loneliness
As an expat, living far away from where our hearts call home can be tough … with holidays being the hardest moments to get through. It’s because of exactly that actually that my daughter and I started our tradition of going away during Christmas and New Year when she was young and we were living in Spain and India. Since we couldn’t go home to see ‘gramma and grampa’, the perfect distraction was going off on an adventure.
Whatever you love to do should be the thing you fill your time doing to stay upbeat and positive. For me, I use travel to combat loneliness because it’s my favourite hobby. This has been especially important since my daughter moved away to uni and my nest is now empty. I plan a trip for my birthday each year to ensure I don’t feel ‘lonely’ and it helps a lot. The last few years have been Bali (a solo trip for 8 weeks), Malaysia (you can see a moment from that trip in the video below, with me and my lovely mate Lukas on a jet ski), and this year was another solo trip for a week to the island of Koh Samui in Thailand (the hammock and yacht moments in the video are from that trip). Sure, I’m still alone but I’m doing what I love so who cares!
Final Thought For Expats, Digital Nomads & Solo Travellers
Most of us are not destined to “have it all” and I’m happy with the lot in life I’m thankful to be living right now. I know that I’m lucky to travel as much as I do and to have total freedom — not only over my own choices and life — but over where I live because I’m location independent. My dreams aren’t ever about owning a own home, shopping for clothes, or finding someone to share my life with. They’re about luggage, vlogging equipment, and exploring a new country!
Sometimes the greatest risk is to trust we know ourselves… Maybe a relationship would change my life for the better … but it’s just not a risk I’m willing to take right now. So I send a big hug and two kisses to all the single solo travellers, expats, and location independent / digital nomad folks out there who have ever felt lonely and not just alone. Trust me, it’ll pass.
60 Seconds of My Recent Travels
The above video is 60 seconds of my travels from 2015 to last week I edited together as a trailer for my YouTube channel Expat Angela
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