Practical Tips On How To Deal With Loneliness

loneliness, travel, bored

Since we’ve started living the full time RV life I’ve connected through social media with lots of women who also live on the road full-time. First of all, I was shocked at how many other families are living the same lifestyle as us and how many other women like me there are out there!

For the most part from what I can tell hearing from other women on the road they chose this lifestyle and they love it! But just because you chose and love your life doesn’t mean it is void of hardships and hurdles along the way! I would have to say that hands down the struggle I hear voiced most often has nothing to do with women leaving their houses behind, lack of space or life on the road itself. What I hear most is this..

“I’m lonely.” 

Whether your decision to full-time RV life was by your own choice or not, I get it. Either way, you gave up the safety of everything you knew, the comfort of most everything familiar for a life filled with adventure and a brand new unconventional way of life. One in which can feel extremely exhilarating at times….and extremely lonely at others.

On some days you adore and fully embrace your unconventional way of life and feel like a pioneer of sorts, carving out a new path to a new way to live. Other days you feel like a kidnapped alien from another world!

When we moved away from the hometown my husband and I had grown up in and lived in all of our lives just five months ago, I was on cloud nine for about the first month or so, oblivious of the dark cloud that was about to consume my sunshine. Suddenly, I found myself vacillating between days of intense joy and contentment at our new life on the road, and days of extreme sadness, tears, loneliness and thinking, “What in the world did we do??”

I tried blaming it on hormones.

And then one day it just hit me.

I am a wife and mother! A grown 30 year old woman! And I…..am homesick.

Homesick.

That feeling of deep sadness and emptiness at the realization that you aren’t “home” anymore, on roads that are familiar and known. That you aren’t a ten minute drive from all of the people you’ve always found so much comfort and security in. The despair you feel when the reality sets in that you that you can’t just stop in your favorite coffee shop for a chat with a good friend, go to your favorite stores or hop in your car and drive over to your families’ place for a bit.

Here’s a few ideas I use that make all the difference in helping me get through the rough patches of the emotional side of life on the road, away from everything familiar and known.

  • Be honest about how you’re feeling  – It’s OK to feel sad or homesick.
  • Don’t be ashamed or apologize for your feelings  – Times of feeling lonely is a universal human struggle and homesickness isn’t just for little kids away at summer camp. It happens to the best and strongest of us!
  • Talk honestly with your spouse about what you’re feeling and how you’re struggling  – They may not be able to “fix” any of it, but sometimes just getting it out is a huge relief. It helps you to not feel so alone and makes them feel good that you would trust them enough to open up and let them in.
  • Take frequent trips back home if/whenever possible – Especially in the beginning. This helps tremendously in helping  to give your emotional being time to adjust to life away on the road.
  • Phone / video chat with friends and family weekly – Staying connected via text or social media is great, but it cannot replace hearing someone’s voice. Sometimes you just need to hear their voices and see their face.
  • Find a social outlet – Understand that although your husband and children are amazing and you truly love being with them, it’s okay to need and healthy to have other forms of human life in your circle as a healthy social outlet and to help maintain your very own identity as a person. Every situation on the road is different, but make the effort to make a few friends or good RV neighbors on if possible.
  • Connect with other women locally and on social media  – I completely understand that life on the road makes this increasingly more difficult even than normal life. And depending on your location and situation I realize that it can felt like a monumental challenge to connect with many other women, but if there is any way possible, do it! Social media friends are great but they cannot replace real face to face human relationships.
  • Take time out for yourself  – For me it can just be as simple as a few blissful hours alone at a coffee shop with my headphones on my laptop, writing. (Like right now!) Believe it or not, your kids and husband CAN continue breathing without you there for a while. So weekly or monthly leave the kids behind for a fun day with dad and go take some time out alone for yourself. Get your nails done, paint, read a book, go for a long run, go to a bookstore a coffee shop or shopping! Whatever it is that makes you feel like YOU, do it. It’s important for your (and your families’ ) emotional well-being, not to neglect your own emotional needs.
  • Utilize social media to document and share your life on the road with your friends and family back home – This is an easy way to share what you’re doing with friends and family but also a fun little outlet for you to feel a bit more connected and less alone. Part of what makes a life feel purposeful and meaningful is simply in knowing that there is someone there standing witness to your days. That your life be noticed, even if by just a few. Some of my easy to use, favorite ways to share my own life on social media are:
  • Blogging
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Hobbies & Activities  – The one thing I can think of that would make life on the road feel almost unbearable is to be away from your hometown, lonely and totally bored out of your mind. Fortunately so far I have yet to experience boredom as I am pretty good at keep myself busy between normal day to day life responsibilities, homeschooling the kids, exercising, I’ve recently picked up quilting, am dabbling in photography, and of course writing is my constant companion. Learn to be productive. But whatever you do, DO NOT just sit in your RV. Discover your interests! Get out in nature, explore, journal. In my humble opinion, boredom is a choice.
  • Don’t be tempted to focus so much of your attention on what you left behind so that you miss all that is right in front of you  – This is a huge one. What you focus on grows. So if you are spending your days sitting around dwelling on and moping about what you left behind, you will never love your life on the road. Period. No matter how uniquely amazing your unconventional way life on the road is, you’ll never see it. Choose to see this time of full-time life on the road as an opportunity, rather than something to be endured.
  • Never forget how many people are spending the best years of their life waiting to retire and live the very life that is already yours –  So choose joy! And enjoy it!

No matter what road you’re on, it will get lonely at times. Even the best ones do. And on my loneliest days I think back to all of the years I spent living in a nice big house, in a familiar town with both sides of family and all my friends nearby – and I remember…..I had lonely days then too.

Embrace your path. It is unique, it is beautifully imperfect and perfect all at the same time. The beauty is yours for the seeing.

About Rachel Rowell

A true southern gal at heart, Rachel was raised and lives in the deep south and spends her days raising her own babies, writing, making music, reading out on the front porch, and cooking supper for her family to sit around the table and enjoy together at nights! Her ultimate girlhood dream was to raise a family in a house just like "Anne of Green Gables" and now she is living her dream and inspiring others along the way.

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6 Responses to Practical Tips On How To Deal With Loneliness

  1. anotherkindofdrew January 29, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    I think this is an awesome topic and one that – while you focus on women – also effects men. While men don’t seemingly need as much social interaction or even want as much, I think we do. And while it might be easier for us to go to the “clubhouse” or somewhere at the park to seek out some conversation or a few chuckles, oftentimes it is awkward and can end up being even more isolating than just staying in the camper alone. My wife and I both do a couple of things (most of which you mentioned) to keep from being homesick.

    * FaceTime, FaceTime, FaceTime
    * Escaping into books
    * Find a local church to go to a Bible study at or just to go to a potluck or something
    * Participate in online forums and chat groups
    * Make sure we both get a few hours a week to go alone to a coffee shop and reconnect with ourselves first.

  2. debbiemc14 January 29, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    Well said! We won’t be on the road FT until this summer, but I’ve moved around the country and know how those feelings go. You definitely have to make the most of what you have. Missing the “old” things is going to happen, but like you said, notice what is around you and ENJOY it! Our 4 kids are all almost done with college and on their own. We are looking forward to some “us” time!!

  3. Scott Bachman January 29, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    Very introspective and realistic expectations. I will be retired in one year and although not ready to full-time it, I do want to hit the road for extended periods of time. My two sons are both grown and have their own lives. I so miss our camping adventures and as I am on the road a lot in the single mode, your observations ring true even more so. There comes a time when the RV experience is much more about what might be considered the ‘you’ experience. Be it picking up a hobby, self-education, volunteerism and let’s not forget simply having a good time, all lend to creating to a more rounded RV lifestyle and hopefully one that is satisfying. It is a process for sure.

  4. Connie Perry January 29, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Many of your post are so familiar to me. Even though we have been on the road for almost 2 years and love this life, I do feel lonely once in a while.

  5. Papa January 29, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    My first thought was how can you be lonely?
    Famiy under your nose more than ever before, campers nearby much of the time and what about me????? I’m right here on your computer. ?. Lol

    I must admit I too have gone from needing to be left alone to lonely overnight before and I don’t think this 60 year old grandpa can blame it on hormones.

    Papa
    http://www.papas-travels.blogspot.com

  6. Sue January 30, 2014 at 2:24 am #

    What a great blog. We are one of those couples waiting for retirement so we can travel. Be glad you are doing this now when you can. We have an adult daughter with health problems that may keep us from traveling like we have been planing to after retirement. You are living your life now and teaching your children lessons they could not learn living in one place. So proud of you all.

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