Published by Johnny Ward on July 23, 2012
Loneliness is a common emotion on the road, especially when you travel alone however, it’s not an emotion that lasts long, trust me. Sometimes paths cross and sometimes they separate but it’s what happens in between that keeps us going.
“True happiness is only known when shared” Alexander Supertamp
Every time I embark on a new leg of my journey I let a group of friends know my vague plans, I hope that one or two of them are at a juncture in their lives that they can join me, and over the past 6 years that’s happened quite a lot.
It’s common for people to feel stifled by their job, to dread the alarm on a Monday, to be in a relationship that’s dragging them down – I offer them a way out, or at the very least, a break from their status quo where they can get their heads straight and work out what it is they want from life.
Traveling with someone does something that no other walk of life can truly do. It creates a bond that really cements a friendship, it takes you from drunken bar buddies to someone you can rely on, share your problems with and rejoice in each other’s success.
Traveling, and backpacking in particular, is no holiday as any true traveler can attest to. You’ll be lost, beyond tired, hungry, hungover, broke, homesick, uncomfortable, too hot, too cool, heartbroken. You’ll also be ecstatic, happy, appreciative, free, independent, positive, enthusiastic, exhilarated, and radiant. The range knows no end.
Extreme emotions are tied to traveling and there’s no avoiding it. Your travel buddies will see the best and worst of you, they’ll see you from defensive to vulnerable, from selfish to selfless and if you’re still at the next platform, waiting to board the night train to your next destination, cracking jokes about the crazy sh*t that’s happened on your trip, then you’ve probably got a friend for life.
Traveling reveals new depths of friendships. You’ve got proof that your travel pals are there for you through thick and thin, and it’s reassuring. Your paths may separate but your bond will remain strong. Continents may be between you, but your experiences transcend that. Every facebook status liked, every new backpacking plan and you’re right back together again, even if it’s just in thought. And sometimes that’s all you need.
Loneliness only exists when we forget to appreciate the friendships that we’ve already formed, the escapades that you’ve shared with people you’re close to, so next time that sad pang hits your heart, recollect the good times, reminisce. How can you be lonely when you’ve shared all those experiences with someone, and they’re only a thought away. Happy travels.