I’m counting down the days to start traveling again after spending almost two years not going anywhere and just staying at home. This time, I will try living a semi-digital nomad life as I’m going back to Izmir for a month, and then head off to Belgrade for another month to travel around Serbia before going back to Turkey and choosing Istanbul as my next base for the next.
As I almost always travel alone, I don’t know how many times I encounter friends or strangers who would be like, “Wow… How could you travel and do other things alone? How do you manage to have no one but yourself as a company?”
And the key to spending your time alone is this: you need to be your own best friend. But then again, spending my time alone isn’t exactly a challenge for my introverted self. I find mingling with strangers more challenging than having to order a table for one at the restaurant.
So, how do I usually manage to enjoy my solitude? Here are some ways I do to spend my quality ‘me time’!
1. Find a new hobby that you can enjoy doing alone.
Reading had become my salvation since when I was a kid. And that’s always something that I do when I’m in isolation mode. Now that I’m going back to Turkey, I’m currently re-reading Orhan Pamuk’s book, Museum of Innocence, as I plan to visit the museum when I’m in Istanbul in January.
I think it would be more fun to visit the museum alone because I’m emotionally attached to the book as I’ve read it. It would probably be different if I had to go there with someone who hasn’t even read the book.
If there’s anything that I’ve learned so far, it is that to have fun, you shouldn’t rely on others for that. Because just like happiness in general, it’s something you should find yourself.
Once you reach that stage when you can find something to do alone that makes you happy, it’s pretty liberating. And when you can find someone with whom you enjoy it together, you know you won’t take things for granted.
But then again, what do I know? I haven’t found anyone to do so, so anyway…
2. Set a small goal for yourself, then proactively achieve it.
As much as I love the sense of community, I think there is one thing that is pretty common to face when you interact too much with others. And that is the impostor syndrome.
It’s not that I’m against people growing to their better version of themselves. But seeing them succeed, sometimes it gets the best out of me. It often makes me question my worth, even though I know I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am today.
Yes, it’s easy to say that we shouldn’t compete as we have our own time because timing is never wrong. But good lord, talk is cheap. When you see people showing their win about something you’re trying to achieve, emotionally you start wondering what’s wrong with you. And that, my friends, is toxic.
Solitude will help you refocus on your individual goal without having to worry too much about others getting better things despite feeling like you work your ass off. Mind your own business, just achieve that goal… No matter how small it is compared to the others’!
3. Pay attention to how you feel.
Lately, I was mentally challenged with loads of works and pressures about almost everything in my life. At some point, I’m feeling depressed and I know it because there were days when I just wanted to sleep the whole day, doing nothing.
Another day, out of nowhere, I just cried in the corner of my workspace with my cat. I’m not sure whether I cried because I felt overwhelmed because of work or it was just the loneliness kicking in that no one would seem to understand me.
That’s the point when I understand the classic phrase “it’s okay not to be okay.”
Because no one feels good all the time. That’s what life is all about. It comes with all the challenges, sometimes it’s just a back pain because of your PMS when you have to struggle physically. Other times, it’s more like something to do with your mental health.
Spending your time alone helps you understand yourself more. It helps you be more sensitive about your pain, and know when is the best time to get some extra assistance to get through that.
However, your alone time doesn’t have to mean being on your own doing nothing. Instead, you can spend it reconnecting with the Supreme Being. As I said, it’s okay not to be okay, and one of the best ways to relieve your pain is by surrendering to a higher power. Thus, you may want to tune in to your favorite worship songs on YouTube or Spotify.
Besides listening and singing along to worship songs, you may also want to read the Bible. You can find many inspiring passages that might help you overcome your problems. You can also participate in Bible sharing. Hearing inspiring real-life stories may be just what you need to feel better.
4. Try to live in the moment.
This is something that I’ve been struggling with lately because of my responsibilities. I can’t live in the moment, because my head is spinning to catch the deadlines.
But I’m getting better. I take some time to socialize more and spend quality time with my family. Given the idea I’ll be traveling soon, I took some time to teach my dad to do Facetime so that it will be easier for him to reach out to me when I’m away.
Mentally, I think I know that I need now to snooze off and relax for a few days not to think about work and other things. I think I understand that there’s no use to bite more than I can chew, so I hold back from getting more projects, and just focus on living in the moment.
I’m preparing myself for the trip, trying to outline some draft itineraries and contacting some friends that I’ll meet along the way. It helps me stay away from stress caused by work. So hopefully I can manage to live in the moment when I’m there to travel.
5. Treat yourself.
If you watch Parks and Recreations, you may know it a little too well about Tom and Donna’s phrase “treat yo self”. And that’s exactly what you can do when you have no one but yourself as a company!
It’s one thing to have a hobby that can make you feel productive at the same time as it is being enjoyable to do for you. But there’s another thing to spoil yourself sometimes so you can enjoy the good things in life.
It can be anything, really. From checking out that new skincare line you have on your wishlist for a few months, to even just take some time to go out and have a new haircut.
Self-care is important, and that’s why you need to be your own best friend to understand what you need most when things go down.
So, what do you like to do to spend your time alone? Share in the comment below, and cheerio! 😉
Marya The BeauTraveler
I am the founder and main editor at The BeauTraveler. I spent 4 years working in the aviation industry, but ironically got to travel more right after quitting the industry in 2015. Born and raised in Indonesia, I started working remotely in 2017 and while I stay at home most of the time, I also regularly spend 2-3 months living a semi-digital nomad life elsewhere every year.