I’ve recently returned home after 25 days of traveling through Hong Kong and China. Although I left Australia behind on a plane by myself, throughout the travels I never was alone. These are the reasons why:
1. Loosing Social Media
China has strong internet policies against social media such as Facebook, Twitter, even WordPress my Blogs hosting site. I felt this lead me to chatting only via e-mail or SMS, and that was only ‘if’ and ‘when’ we were able to gain WiFi internet access. Even then, I took advantage of the time away from Facebook and friends and continued to limited myself to a Skype talk with mum, some emails to friends letting them know where I am, and that I’m ok. Then I would leave the hotel, and go for a walk in reality. Go ‘like’ someone/something in the real world.
2. Recruit New Friends
I have friends all over the world now, but each of these sparkling individuals started as a stranger. One of us had to cross that awkward territory that exists between two souls, who have only just met. If you have the courage to extend your hand, you will be surprised how many people will happily reach back and accept your friendship.
3. You Will Meet 2 Types Of People:
A. Your People: Those rare souls who you instantly click with. These people will feel like your best friend, who you have only just met. Relish these times, because they are miracles.
B. Other People: You can’t fall in love at first sight all the time, which is why that is so special. Most of the people you meet traveling wouldn’t be your friends in your hometown. You share different values and get jazzed about different experiences. Some people love hot-rods and others are minimalist.
4. Yes, Shi, Oui, Ja, Si…
Say yes often, no matter what language you have to say it in. When you say yes to invitations from others, you are agreeing to share some life with them. The more you do this, the more life will come your way.
Of course, tell the guy wearing a ski mask and holding a butcher knife, “No,” but everyone else gets a yes.
I’ve practiced this philosophy and I’ll never go back to saying No.
Some nights you will feel loneliness, but don’t worry it will pass with time. Don’t get wasted out of your mind to forget about it. Don’t call home sobbing or sprint to the airport to go zooming back to mummy.
Just go to bed. You will be surprised how you feel differently in the morning without doing anything.
6. Do What You Want
Many people never learn how to do what they want. They are always making decisions based on what they should do or what they think others want. They won’t make any plans, until they can persuade others to come along. Doing what you want to do… alone, is selfish and WEIRD… right?
Wrong. If you are going to see the world, Go out and do what you want. Be proud! Strut down the streets of the city, smile at the locals, join the dancing in the streets, sing karaoke, show off your best self to the world. In the free time given to me during the tour I wondered the streets of the cities, explored the train lines, shops, danced with the locals, had drinks with random travellers, found coffee shops and ice cream stalls.
7. Be Yourself
Screw polite bullshit… I spend a lot of time in my head, throwing around a million thoughts a moment about everything (absolutely everything), those are only my thoughts. Then their’s my verbal diarrhoea that I say allowed to an audience of people who now have to deal with it while traveling with me. Many people live up in their own head and not in the real world. They don’t speak what is on their mind, they only say what they SHOULD say or what is polite to say.
They are nice and they think this is a positive trait, because this is what their Mum told them. “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all… right?”
I’m not a nice person. Nice is boring as hell to me. Nice is fake and makes me slightly nauseous. I love meeting new people, because I’ve learned to be real with people. If I’m genuinely excited about what you have to say, then you will know it. If I think you are a jerk, then you will know it too… on some level. I won’t kick you in the balls, but I will challenge you OR I might just avoid you, because I don’t like you.
8. Expressing Yourself and Emotional Contact.
China made me feel I had an inability to express myself efficiently, which was a big part of my loneliness. I was in a foreign country and didn’t speak the language (at all) which was really frustrating cause I had so much to say and ask locals. The locals didn’t speak any English either, instead I relied on my Tour Leader to answer my questions about China, I drew pictures in my notebook, and wrote down a lot of my experiences in my Travel Journal to express myself in some form.
Even being with a group of people, on a sleeper-train at 2am in the morning, I felt alone wanting to give a hug to someone, anyone. I love to give hugs, and I love to be hugged, 10 days had passed, and I really wanted a hug, finally I got one after asking permission to hug someone. It’s true, thank god they said yes!