Maybe it was the panic attack that I experienced during the dive at the pier, but the sadness and loneliness I had been feeling for a few weeks were too intense for me to ignore. The day was beautiful – bright blue sky, warm with a cool breeze. I kept my curtains closed and hid inside. I only went outside to use the restroom.
I had been feeling lonely for a few weeks, but I was often able to distract myself by sightseeing. I was also able to meet people along my journey. The problem is the people I met were always a temporary high. They were people who I immensely enjoyed meeting and talking with, but I’d continue on my travels and be alone once again.
The constant meeting and leaving people were wearing on me. I spent day 379 sleeping in, watching Stranger Things, and sleeping some more. Finally, at 5:00 pm, I drove 20 minutes to a lighthouse to watch the sunset. When I got back to my room, I wrote about how the dive the day prior made me feel. Then I wrote this post. It helps me to write things down.
The night before, I messaged my cousin, Misty. I explained to her how I was feeling: alone. Maybe it was because the day prior was the 4th of July, and I saw all of the posts from friends and family celebrating Independence Day. Or perhaps it was the Jay Shetty video I watched explaining if you’re the one who is always making an effort and the person you’re interested in is always “too busy,” it’s because they’re too busy for you.
It made me realize how alone I was. There have been several men I’ve been interested in since my divorce, but I haven’t dated anybody. The men I’ve liked have either friend-zoned me or given me the “hot and cold.” One day they’re responsive and friendly. In the next few days, their answers are short. The video made me realize that I invest a lot in people and relationships, and I deserve to be with someone who will also invest. I need someone who isn’t too busy because people always make time for people and things that are important to them.
At that point, I had been single for two and a half years, and sometimes I just miss having someone in a romantic context. Someone to be excited about. Someone to help me. When I had an issue days before with my car and plastic rubbed into the tire from above, I looked around for help. There were a lot of people around in caravans, but nobody offered to help. It’s times like that when I feel the most alone. I don’t have anybody to help me.
Sometimes it feels like I’m looking for something that will never come. People don’t like to commit much these days. It feels impossible to find a man that I’m interested in who will accept all of me, including my flaws. I can’t compete with skinny, beautiful, young girls. I am losing confidence that I’ll find a partner that is a good match for me. I don’t feel like there’s anybody who longs for me as I long for them.
Putting the partner aside, I was also missing my family and friends. I hadn’t talked to them in a while because my cell service was spotty. The time change also made it very difficult. My heart was aching for closeness. I had been overseas for five months, and it was wearing on me.
I loved Australia, but seeing the outback is more fun with someone. I wanted to sleep in my car under the stars, but the one night I did that alone, it wasn’t much fun. It was lonely, and I was scared. I felt like everyone has moved on, and they’ve forgotten about me.
I have never really felt homesick before. I moved to California by myself when I was 23-years-old. I would go back and visit my family twice a year. That first year was the hardest because I didn’t know anyone. I felt very lonely at times. And my then-boyfriend was long-distance.
But what I was feeling in Australia was homesickness. This was a new feeling for me. I missed the U.S., and I missed having a job where I knew what I was doing. I missed the routine. Now, I had decisions to make every single day: Where should I go today? What tours should I do? What places should I visit?
I still had three months of travel in Australia, and it felt overwhelming to continue. Even if I wanted to fly home, I couldn’t fly from one of the tiny airports in the outback. Australians told me that it was so expensive to fly from those airports (sometimes $2,000 within Australia), that most of them drive if they go to the outback. I knew I needed to continue my trip around the country, but it was getting difficult and lonely.
I realized how much FaceTiming people or hearing their voice helps me. Texting and emailing are okay. But hearing someone’s voice or seeing their face makes me feel less distant. There was a part of me that wanted to go back to my simpler, routine life. At least there, I knew what to expect most days.
Part of why I love traveling is meeting people. But I just didn’t think I had it in me for the moment to meet new people. It’s difficult to have in-depth conversations with strangers. It takes effort. Often, I end up getting to know people fairly well. But the constant leaving took a toll. I isolated myself because I couldn’t bear to meet anyone new.
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Posted Edited By: Mandy Strider