It’s human to have an off day, it’s human to feel down, it’s human to err; we’re not robots after all (this is an anti-robot post). But to face this kind of situation immediately into starting a trip can be incredibly off-putting; it can really set precedence for the rest of the trip.
For me, I was immensely lonely when I first set out; maybe it was my choice in hostel, maybe it was my choice in destination. I started in Amsterdam and the hostel I was staying at didn’t really encourage socialising, it seemed to be large groups of people enjoying the legal substances offered and nobody really wished to interact with the solo traveller. This didn’t exactly reassure me that my decision to start this journey was the right one. My next destination was Apeldoorn, which (as any Dutch person will agree) isn’t really known as a tourist location. It didn’t help that the only hostel was located about 3 km outside the city centre and primarily catered to families and school groups. I spend a good few hours in tears in the dorm room contemplating my life choices. I had given up my job, my car, my life back home for this… this daunting feeling of isolation. My next few stops were a little more positive, but it took just over a week for me to properly interact with people and really start to enjoy this new avenue.
As I had intended to spend as much time on the road as I could, this was a minor setback in the long term, but for those that only have two weeks to spare, or can be easily dismissed by something, this can be a major obstruction.
Now, I was lucky. I had connections with people who had travelled before and they offered their experiences, their encouragement, and helped me over this hurdle. I met people in the next couple of hostels who were willing to chat with me and as I continued, I came out of my shell a little more with each new face I spoke to. It’s now at the point where I feel pretty comfortable meeting new people and I’ve even volunteered/worked in hostels where I was constantly interacting with people.
The point that I’m trying to make is that travel doesn’t have to be everything you see online and in magazines. There are hundreds, thousands, a hundred thousand other travel blogs, travel websites, travel this-travel that, out there, and almost all of them solely focus on the positive. They only show the blue seas, the clear skies and the happy couples. But like me, you may suffer some setbacks, especially early on in your trip, but the more you explore the places and the more you explore yourself; the more likely you are to find happiness.
This article is one of a series highlighting some other aspects that can be found while travelling. I’m not trying to dissuade anyone from travelling but more trying to explain that it may not be everything it’s portrayed as.