On the second day of my trek, I separated myself from the group. I found a nice place just outside the mountain village to watch the sunset. And how beautiful it was: the fiery red burning through the clouds, the surrounding pink and purple sky, and the vast valleys below. It’s moments like these that call for another person; a close friend, a love, someone you care about to share such a moment with. Traveling solo has many challenges: loneliness one of them. Even with interaction and friendships with other travelers or locals, at some point everyone misses “home.” Maybe not a physical place, but a concept. A circle of comfort and security including family, friends, and the familiar. As much as I’ve loved the adventure of solo-travel, loneliness has its moments.
After many times of feeling bad for myself, of feeling weak and incapable of making friends, I’ve grown to accept loneliness not as a negative feeling but as an opportunity to reflect. And watching the sun set is a great time to do just that. If you think about it, the sun gives a ton of perspective. It’s a universal link to everyone and everything on this planet, and perhaps other planets. This sunset, this sun, is the same one that is waking up my dad and brother in New York, the same sun that once shined on my mom day after day, the same sun that gives life and light to every living thing on Earth. Maybe I’m not as far from home as I thought. Maybe distance is merely an irrelevant label. Maybe, just maybe, we’re never actually “alone,” that loneliness is just an illusion we, ourselves, create.