Traveling is one of the coolest things you can do, especially if you`re young. New people, cool places, delicious plates and wild stories you can bore your friends with for a lifetime. But travel isn`t always the cure for your problems. Though it makes you tune in on who you are as a person, traveling can also be lonely especially if you`re traveling alone and for a long period of time. According to research, traveling can provoke anxiety in some people and in some cases, it can worsen depression.
“People tend to attribute the cause of suffering to something outside of themselves: their job, family, relationship, and so on. They then travel to get away from the supposed causes only to find that the depression is inside.” Says Professor Mary V. Seeman from the University of Toronto. I`ve traveled alone so many times and I know it can get lonely for many people, especially introverts. So, here are six things you can do to feel less lonely while you travel.
Traveling Tip #1: Watch a game with a local fan base
If you ever happen to be a fan of any popular sport; football, soccer, basketball…etc, you can spend time with their local fan base in the city you’re traveling to. Just a quick search on Google or Facebook and you`re all set. If it`s a massive club, you`ll find their fan base in no time. Every time I want to watch an Arsenal game in New York, I check Arsenal NYC, a local fan page with +150,000 fans, and find myself a group of awesome people to have some cool game time with.
P.s., if you`re not a fan of any sport, pretend to be one and watch a game with some cool people.
Traveling Tip #2: Contact your old friends
If you have some cool friends where you`re heading, then it`s time to make some calls —or Facebook messaging— and reunion with them. They will give you great tips, take you around the city and help you find the best deals in town without being scammed.
Before leaving to Morocco, I called one of my friends who`s been working at a bank in Tangier for years, and he was super helpful. He found me a place with a fantastic sea view for almost no money —the kind of deals you can`t see on Airbnb— he picked me up from the airport, and by the time he left the country, I had already become friends with his many of his friends.
Traveling Tip #3: Hit a busy local gym
Gyms aren`t always the best places to make friends. However, if you`re really talkative, or if you`re planning to spend a month or more in town, then you can make yourself a friend or two. If you exercise regularly, you`ll move from just a familiar face to a hangout buddy in a couple of weeks —depending on your social skills.
Traveling Tip #4: Sign up for some events/classes that interest you
There are so many things you can do in groups as you travel; dancing, diving, camping…etc, especially if you`re planning to stay beyond the one-month mark. The first three things I did after my first lonely week in Hurghada were: hit the buzziest gym I could find, and sign up for tango and diving classes. All I did was Google “dancing/diving classes in Hurghada,” and I was all set. Yoga studios are also great places to make new friends, and they`re available everywhere.
Traveling Tip #5: Volunteer somewhere
Some organizations allow you to travel for almost free if you accept to volunteer for some of their projects. The WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) for instance will cover your travel expenses if you choose to work on one of their organic farming projects. Not only these experiences are great for both your C.V. and budget, but they also allow you to contact with lots of friendly, like-minded people on a regular basis.
Does every volunteer work include planting corn and feeding elephants?
Doctors, nurses, and engineers do volunteer work too. This couple, for instance, volunteered as teachers in Turkey for absolutely nothing. Yes, it may not be easy for you to find such a deal, but it`s worth the shot even if you had to pay a little.
Traveling Tip #6: Hostels can be clumsy, but they`re good for meeting new people
Hostels aren`t everybody`s thing. They`re noisy and sometimes dirty, but they`re cheap, and in many cases; super fun. Most hostels can cram up to 16 people in a single dorm. Regardless of watching a kinky couple doing it in front of you —rare, but sometimes happens— these hostels are mines for like-minded friends. Since y`all have the same goal, you can plan lots of activities together like hiking, partying or trying new dishes.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.