What do you do when you are feeling ‘isolated’ or ‘lonely’?
Those words have been surfacing in my conversations over the past couple of months. Many people I have encountered recently in my daily life and throughout my travels have said they seem ‘lonely’ or ‘isolated’ - they feel disconnected from others.
On vacation in Hawaii – a spectacular natural ‘paradise’ – fellow tourists brought up the term. They said they felt ‘isolated’ because they were SO FAR AWAY from family and friends.
It’s true that Hawaii is a long distance from any other land mass – the Islands are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Leaving Canada from Vancouver, for example, you travel over water for most of the 6-hour journey to Maui. Yes, the Islands are isolated from the mainland; but you don’t feel lonely because the Aloha community – visitors and Hawaiians alike - make the experience.
Travelling home over the ocean, I realized that today despite living in a hugely connected world, people are feeling far away and disconnected from others not only when they are in the middle of the Pacific. Those who live in the same area as their friends and loved ones are feeling lonely just as often!
I have been meeting lots of people with similar circumstances - not just on vacation but in daily life - that I came up with the term “lonely travellers.” Lonely being defined as “sad from being apart from other people; causing sad feelings that come from being apart from other people; not visited by many people.” (source).
Perhaps, you know of such a Lonely Traveller. You may have just moved to a new city, or are in the same one and your friends have moved away. Or, you are lonely in a relationship because of the emotional distance between you and the other(s). You may feel isolated because you lack deep personal connections, even though you live in a major city where people are everywhere. Or, you may feel disconnected because you don’t have anyone who you can be vulnerable with or who truly supports you and accepts you just the way you are.
“Loneliness, it turns out, is as bad for your health as smoking, or being obese.” (source)
Being on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean certainly taught me the value of connecting to yourself and to others: it’s as essential as breathing! If you are feeling like a ‘lonely traveller’ in life, feeling so far away and disconnected from friends and family, you are not stranded. Things will feel better.
Instead of waiting for others to come to you, take action! Reach out to someone who you feel safe talking to, take down your mask, and start connecting.
Thank you for reading and for your presence at this beach retreat! You Rock!
Since a blog to me is not a monologue, it’s a dialogue, I thought I would start talking about this important topic as conversations change lives and bring people close together. We are all looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the Comments section below.
See you at the beach!