It's been a month now since I've started traveling, all on my own. To be honest, I hadn't given it much thought before I set out - I was just too busy with exams and moving out of my flat in Vienna. Even on my flight to Tokyo I didn't really think about it, I was too busy sleeping and reading guidebooks, being all excited about going that far away.
Even for the first days, I didn't really notice - I was too busy meeting people, even got quite a crush on my second day here. But when things didn't work out, we said goodbye and I suddenly found myself all alone on a train to Kyoto. That's when I finally realized that I was all alone in this strange country, that in fact I didn't know anybody here.
I didn't exactly panic - I like exploring unfamiliar cities, don't need to be afraid of walking around on my own, etc. It was more about recognizing that, for some reason or other, I don't really like being alone. This doesn't mean I enjoy the company of just about everybody - to be honest, I quickly get tired of some people and would rather be alone again. And now, sitting on that train alone, I couldn't help feeling a sense of loss, a certain sadness when thinking how I could have more fun by being with someone else.
Now I actually wasn't really alone for any extended period of time during my trip. I met a ton of amazing people at the hostels I stayed at, even fell in love twice. Saying goodbye after a week when I had to move on was hard, it still saddens me to think back, to remember the happy moments we spent together. In fact, I'm tearing up a little bit even now..
I stumbled over a beautiful quote that describes my emotions perfectly: “Life is like a rainbow. You need both the sun and the rain to make its colors appear.” Doesn't make it hurt any less though.
This has continued to hold true: I'm still meeting great people, but I did realize that I'm longing for more stability, for knowing somebody for longer. I will continue to travel for at least one more month though, so that won't happen until I settle down in London in September. Which means there's yet another reason to look forward to that.
In general, I notice that I have changed tremendously over the last few weeks, grown more than in years before. Which leads me to a recommendation for you: If you have the opportunity to, by all means travel a foreign country on your own. You could go to Japan as I did, but from what I've been told backpacking in Thailand should be even more awesome (and cheaper, if you need to watch your budget). In fact, that might very well be my next destination!