I come from a family with mental illness. My grandad had depression, another family member has bipolar and I’ve had depression and anxiety during my 26 years of being on this earth.
When I went travelling, I thought it would be partying and meeting new people and having a full calendar.
The reality is sitting in your dorm room alone because your roommate works in a bar, and the rest of the people in your hostel sit on their phones in the common rooms. It’s so hard to make friends, especially when people are only there for a few days at a time then they’re off again.
A week after I arrived, I found myself walking through the streets in the rain, trying hard not to cry. Yeah, it’s a sorry picture, but it’s a real one. I got back to my dorm room, put on Ed Sheeran and sang my heart out while I let myself cry.
You know what. That’s exactly what I needed. There’s no point in pushing your feelings down because when they come back, they will come back stronger than ever.
The thing that really helped me was finding friends.
I was lucky to be part of a Sydney bloggers chat before I arrived and we chatted a little and when I really needed them, Emily stepped in for a quick coffee.
So here’s what you need to do.
- Find a Facebook group for something you enjoy (blogging, football, photography etc)
- Suggest making a smaller group with people in the area you’re going to. You can arrange to meet up to do your favourite thing; for us bloggers, we’re going to get together and do photoshoots
- Talk to them!! Tell them if you’re worried/excited/at the airport, everything!
This is the basis of your new friendship groups. When you need them, send them a message. Someone will be able to meet you for a quick drink. You never know, you may become inseparable!
Other things to do to meet new people:
- Take part in the activities at your hostel
- Join MeetUp. There are so many different groups that if you don’t find one you like, you’re just not trying hard enough
- Join a sports team or gym. Those who sweat together can moan together
- Buy a bottle of alcohol and start a drinking game (obviously be careful and know your limits)
- Do a tour. A lot of cities have Hop On Hop Off buses, and other solo travellers might be doing the same thing.
I know it’s scary, but it’s better than sitting on your own!