To anyone who cares - please help, should I stop or carry on?
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Dec 5, 2012 6:29 AM Last Post By: LizzieC
Nov 13, 2012 5:46 AM
To anyone who cares - please help, should I stop or carry on?To anyone who cares:
Please don't see this as just another “I'm lonely/paniking and want to go home thread” - this is really personal to me and, if anyone here has been in a similar situation or had similar feelings, I would love to hear from you.
I'm 23, male, English. I've been thinking about doing a big adventure for over a year – this is because I wanted to do something different and didn't think there was much left for me at home in England; I was heading nowhere. But to some extent, I didn't really know why I wanted to travel; I guess, to me, it was just something to do. I decided on the Trans-Siberian/Mongolian railway, and then built on the idea of going from London to St Petersburg overland as well. I decided on going solo – partly because there was nobody to go with me but mainly because I thought it would be more of an adventure and I wanted to challenge myself/make myself stronger. In October I left my job in England (after about 4.5 years). I have savings for my trip. I got Russian, Mongolian and Chinese visas through Real Russia. I didn't want any kind of itinerary; I wanted it to be flexible and I wanted to go with the flow (but I knew I had to sort my visas for this trip at home – that is the only thing I've committed to; and travel insurane of course). On 6th November I said goodbye to my brothers and parents and took the Eurostar to Brussels, and then subsequently a train to Cologne and a sleeper train to Warsaw. I stayed in Warsaw for two nights. I took another train from Warsaw to Vilnius. I really liked the hostel in Vilnius and met a few people and went for a drink with them; I think I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure, I'm never sure. I stayed for three nights. I'm in Riga now. I feel totally isolated and alone, whether I'm around people or by myself. I have absolutely no interest in doing anything or seeing any sights, and there's nothing I'm particularly looking forward to for the remainder of my journey en route to China. I want to be in a relationship (I'm gay by the way). I want to have one or two close, good friends – I have maybe one of those at home (apart from my brothers). But more than that, I want to be in a relationship; I want someone to understand me, and I want to understand them; no bullshit, just to really know each other. I want to enjoy this travelling, and I want to have a good time, but I don't think I can do that feeling like this.
I know this seems like rambling, and self-centered, and attention-seeking, but this is me being open; this is how I feel and I'm not usually this direct.
My parents have retired in the last couple of weeks and moved to the south of Spain (where they have a house). At the moment I'm leaning towards flying to Spain to stay with my parents and dogs at least for a little while, but I don't want to do something I'll regret; I mean, what if this travelling really would turn out to be fantastic and I meet someone special? But is travelling really the best way to do that? I feel like I don't have the right personality for this (especially solo), as I don't really have any interest in cultures – I just want to find something/someone that makes me happy. Most people I've met are either travelling with others and enjoying their time with them, or are solo but do actually have things they want to see and do and know where they're going next etc. I feel so different from that. In any case, I'm glad I've travelled for a week so far as if I hadn't I never would've known what it's like in reality. I've typed this from my hostel room in Riga – it's a very popular hostel but, from hanging around in the common room so far, I haven't met anyone I can really connect with.
I know it's my decision. And I have to do what's right for ME, regardless of any stigma about going home early or my “itinerary” or the money I've spent on visas, but I would really appreciate any advice at all, as I feel like a complete mess. My only other idea rather than flying to Spain, is to try and build a life in Japan, because that is the only other country (that I know of) apart from England where I feel good and comfortable (but again, I don't feel like I'm in the right frame of mind to do that). My family just wants me to have a good time and do what I feel is right. I'm just going to read one of my favourite books now for a little while because I don't want to go outside. The general plan was to go to Tallinn and then St Petersburg and Moscow and Trans-Sib and Ulaanbaatar and Beijing, and then maybe teach English in China if I was still enjoying myself. but I feel like I should just scrap the plan.
If you've taken the time to read all this, you're wonderful and I thank you so much.
Nov 13, 2012 7:23 AM
1It's hard to tell you not to continue with your plans. It's not at all uncommon for people to reach a city and find themselves immobilised temporarily. Just a few days ago you were in Vilnius at a hostel and seemingly enjoying yourself.
Sometimes it makes sense to spend a little longer in a place and not be moving every 3-4 days. I find that when I travel alone and move every few days I get tired and feel lonely and out of sorts sometimes after a few days, sometimes after a few weeks. For me the solution is often to spend more time in a place or to visit someone I know or to arrange a homestay rather than a hostel or to go on a quest. I do needlework, so sometimes I go in search of a needlework shop. Not necessarily to buy anything, but just the search to see what is available locally. Another thing that I do when I get someplace new is to visit the local tourism office and either take an introductory tour or get a map for a walking tour.
Have you tried to find the gay community in Riga? Have you looked at resources for gays in Riga and elsewhere on your route?
Lots of people are out there seeking for a partner so in that you are no different. However, even if you went to visit your parents, you still would be searching for a partner. Eventually you will find someone. I can't say that it will be while traveling (although I did meet my spouse while traveling). OTOH if one of your reasons for traveling was to find someone like minded, the best way to do this is to feel good about yourself and to put yourself out there. But you need to understand that traveling may also mean spending time with folks that you wouldn't normally choose as friends or people that you don't feel an instant connection to simply so as not to be alone.
Regrets come either way. If you go to your parents, you may regret not continuing with your plans. If you continue with your plans, you may be uncomfortable and regret not going to your parents.
Don't think about going to Japan unless you have some very specific plans. Generally speaking it is not a country to plan to live and work in without some experience. What makes you think that you would be comfortable there? Just what sort of job were you doing these past years? Do you speak Japanese? Are you aware that without a degree or equivalent experience it is difficult to impossible to get a work permit?
And finally, do you think you could be depressed? Some people aren't good with lack of structure and this may be an issue for you but it is also possible that you are depressed. Seemingly you are not experiencing any pleasure and you sound a bit hopeless. Perhaps you are also having problems with concentration, appetite and sleep or thoughts of death or dying. If there is a history of depression in your family, then it may be worth getting some treatment or talking to a counselor before continuing on your journey.
Nov 13, 2012 12:45 PM
2I think you should hang in there just a little bit.
I have never felt exactly the same, but I have felt pretty bleak when travelling by myself.
I see your situation this way: You have not made it very far.
The Baltic countries are pretty boring, to be honest.
It is not PC to say that, and , but for a relatively superficial first time trip like yours, Riga is simply boring!
At least make it to St. Petersburg. Skip Tallin and go straight there. There you will get a taste of travelling!
I am 100% sure you will enjoy it a lot more than where you have been so far. I am sure you this will distract you from your depressed feelings.
After you had a few great days sightseeing the extremely stunningly beautiful city of St. Petersburg, you should re-evaluate your feelings. Maybe there you will find more interesting people also in the hostels. Interesting people tend to choose the interesting places ;) And yes, do check out the gay bars.
I think many solo travellers feel like you sometimes. Get to a more gripping place, and you will feel better.
Hang in there. You have nothing to lose to try a few days more.
Nov 13, 2012 2:42 PM
3Thank you Ruth, sincerely. A while ago you advised me on Russia, and now you have advised me on this. I appreciate it so much.
And thank you Kalpea. For you guys to take the time to read my long post and give such insights I think is a wonderful thing.
I will move on from Riga in a couple of days. My Russian visa doesn't start until 20th Nov so I'll stay in Tallinn for at least 5 nights; staying at a small hostel with famously friendly hosts so hopefully that will help me relax and should also give me time to check out the gay scene - it'll be my first time ever doing something like that but maybe it's what I'm missing.
I think I am prone to depression a bit (of course not serious chronic depression) and also have some OCD but I just want to make the most of being alive and healthy, so I will definitely get to St Petersburg and then see how I feel.
Thanks again :)
Nov 16, 2012 3:49 AM
4Also, change your travel style a bit. What you seem to be doing is capital city hopping. Capital cities are not always the most interesting places. Most people rate Brugges in Belgium way over Bruxelles (and Gent and Anvers, too), and Krakow over Warsaw.
Read your guide-book a lot more indepth, and find some other places to go to. Just head to those with the raving reviews.
Nov 18, 2012 7:58 PM
5It also sounds as if you have gone into "new sensation overload" and really need to sit tight for a while in a place, review the happy experiences, do a bit of sitting doing not a lot and generally recover your sense of adventure. You also may have been skimping on decent food and become what used to be called 'run down' ie nutrient deficient. Buy some good fruit/veggies and cook a few good meals - who knows who you will meet in the kitchen area of the hostel.
Many people have an inner loneliness however any new friendship takes effort. Just as jobs don't come to you, friends don't either unless you work on making yourself pleasant, smiling and open to conversation. A smile and a cheerful countenance attracts people, a scowl and turning away doesn't and while I'm not saying be all over people, quiet confidence (despite how you are feeling) makes a huge difference. Good luck
Nov 19, 2012 11:47 AM
Nov 19, 2012 2:21 PM
Dec 4, 2012 3:48 PM
8Hello I'm 70 gay and well traveled. I had three weeks in Kora and Taiwan recently, yes traveling alone ,you can get depressed ,frustrated and exhausted and I didn't meet anyone. I had frustration in Korea with no language, dining alone etc ,but I wanted to do and see many things.It could be good to visit gay venues, but be careful, for short times in the evenings to let you experience how the other half, as it were, live. You will find people who will suggest things to do.( be aware that in some countries foreign gays are not always welcomed as in Japan) Travel is something you have to work at, a bit like a job( I am not being patronising) It is important to seek out something in the place you are visiting to venture to and experience this is determined by your outlook. I agree with another writer ,Japan is perhaps not a place to settle unless you have the language etc.I feel that you do need to continue just to experience travel with all of it's ups and down,as I reflect there were wonderful experiences and some awful ones also, remember that you can go home anytime ,but wait.
Dec 5, 2012 6:29 AM
9When I've felt lonely travelling I've done much like Ruth and looked out somewhere familiar and comforting within the environment I've found myself. For me this is either looking out a bookshop and browsing (even in another language) or finding a cozy cafe where I can sit with a coffee and a good book.
I've not always felt that I've needed to fill every day of a trip doing the cultural sights... sometimes its nice to get up have a coffee, go to a supermarket, make some lunch back at the hostel and then go for a wander. You don't have to fill every day ticking things off in the guide book.
I wish you luck with your trip and hope you manage to meet interesting people and see things which inspire you.
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