Long-Term Solo Travel Has Taught Me To Let Go But I Am Not Letting Go This Time

It is no surprise that traveling opens a lot of opportunities to learn more about this world, the people in it, and the human being in us. It is a no-brainer that it can either make or break you. Traveling is my escape whenever I get frustrated with life or even getting confused with myself and life decisions. Solo travel has taught me to accept people moreover, let them go and spread their wings.

I started traveling because I wanted to see beautiful places and take beautiful photos like many others. I did not expect that my very simple desire to travel will open up to a much deeper purpose. From just out-of-town university outings to company team buildings to going out of the country to look for my biological father to going on leave to distress from work to finally quitting my job to jump into the unknowns, all these had led me to a person I am now. The person who now knows who to let go and who to keep.

We all meet a lot of people as we travel but long-term travel introduces us to people who travel in the same pace and more often than not, you’ll spend more time and create more moments together than what is normally expected. Whether we accept it or not, attachment sneaks in before we even notice it then it will hit you! “I want to keep these people forever!”

Not that I am saying that I do not keep other people but by that phrase I mean, these are the kind of people that push me to do better. These are the people I won’t mind getting stuck with. We all want to give our best so we can cross borders and fly miles just to meet again even if that means facing the reality of coming back home.

It is surprising how a simple Bia Hoi session in Hanoi can lead to every night of hanging out to sharing nonsense to evaluating life to precious friendships. It is amazing how a cooking session at a guesthouse in Bangkok can give way to an amazing connection; how quick but frequent visits to Kuala Lumpur can make deep friendships.

I am not letting go of the Lithuanian girl whom at first glance, gave me chills. She’s a real “girl boss” who studied law and left home even no one in the family approved, pursued studying sports in Australia. She can appear uptight if you do not open your door to her but when you do, you’d know she knows what she wants and she’s got a huge heart. Oh, and that English guy who seems to know nothing but getting wasted but his non-verbals tell a lot more and if you look at him more than what he’s trying to show the world, you’d know how an amazing human being he is. The young Dutch guy who appears to be just a party-goer and an asshole to people but actually so matured for his age trying to discover himself and the world outside his comfort zone. The American who always experiences a breakdown whenever he thinks of going home but is so great in blending into different cultures. The Indonesian girl who’s working in Malaysia and not being apologetic for being herself and that means, not meeting the stereotypes of her religion and culture. The German girl who does not only burn bridges but actually walk through them just to show how she cares for her loved ones. I am not letting them go.

I would definitely work my ass off just to go on that Germany-Netherlands trip no matter how short it’ll be. I would not mind staying up until the morning whenever a working holiday visa application is up just to meet my Lithuanian friend somewhere in the Asia Pacific. I will always pass by Kuala Lumpur and go on sleepless nights even if that means feeling so hungover during the flights. I wouldn’t mind checking all my social media apps because some of them have the pride of using just one platform.

Learning to let go is very important but having the constants in life is more precious. I remember my friend telling me how frustrating it is not to be in the same location with your friends and asking why can’t all good people be in the same place. Well then, maybe we should be spread out so the world would know that good people still exist and it’s never a bad decision to stay good in this world full of cyberbullying, racism, political correctness, and other BS. And that good people make bad decisions, too. But who am I to wash my own hands? From time to time, I get frustrated of not having constants in my life. Like why the hell can’t we all just be together? Like why do we have to come and go? Why do we have to make money? A lot of whys but I know all the answers. I am trying to learn not to be hard on myself. I may be different in some ways but at the end of the day, I am also just the same human being as we all are. But fuck! It’s so frustrating how this world operates sometimes!

Long-term travel is exciting but it can also make you tired of people just passing by. I guess I am lucky to have built deeper connections with these few people. I can randomly just message them about my nonsense and rants. I can talk to them about life. I am glad to have met people who I wouldn’t mind introducing to my family, the people who are not afraid of being different and accept you for being one, too. So yes, I am nowhere near to letting them go.

Have you met people during your travels and made a deep connection that you are still in contact with them? Tell me about it!


  1. You’re so right- as much as travelling is about sightseeing for me, when I really look back about experiences that have stuck with me it always comes back to the people I’ve met along the way.

  2. As a man (and also with ingrained British reserve), I don’t know if we make the same deep connections when travelling, basically the same as when we’re not travelling. We are often a gender of few words. However, we can make long-term friendships with the people we are travelling with and can pick up conversations with then after 5 years just like it’s been 5 minutes.

  3. I always try to interact with locals. I feel so good about the warmth in their behavior. I have met hostile ones too but all part and parcel of travel. I can relate to your post very well.

  4. I hope you mean by long-term travel a kind of slow immersion travel. Because that is precisely what we are moving to, having chosen Mexico as a second home starting next year. Maybe then we can create those long-term friendships like you describe…what we could not find from galloping around the world.

  5. Thanks for sharing this perspective. I always figured that constantly travelling would limit your ability to make good connections. But it certainly appears that you have made many strong connections as you have travelled. It is always great to have this community. As an introvert, it takes me a long time to connect. So not sure how successful I would be.

  6. It has to be awesome to be able to meet your best friend or the love of your life on your travels. I have heard of so many stories where people meet on a trip, fall in love and get married. Or meet people that remain their closest friends for life. I believe this is something that is possible only when you’re travelling long term because if you travel like me, short term, it really doesn’t give you enough time to interact and hang out with people. This is a great read, I love how your put it – its important to learn to let go but equally important are the constants in life.

  7. Thankfully technology makes it easier to keep up with the wonderful people I’ve met on my travels. It’s difficult, but when the connection is formed it’s always there. Long term travel does have it’s pros and cons, but in the end, its what you make of it that matters!

  8. This was an awesome read and interesting too. We agree travel teaches you so much especially how to be open-minded, think deeper and let the things go away. But some things and people have to be constant. And agree you meet similar, deeply connected people only during long-term solo travel. I like the answer to the statement that why all good people are not at the same place.

  9. Meeting people. connecting to them and bonding with them is indeed one of the serendipities associated with travel. Traveling alone especially means, forming those bonds which start with camaraderie and get on to a more serious sharing of thoughts and experiences. I think there is no need to let go. Some of the people whom we met while travelling have gone on to become our best friends for life.

  10. Can definitely relate to your post and of course nomadic travel isn’t meant for me at least. I cannot live away from my friends and family for that long but yes can definitely take n trips a year and still experience everything all at once! Lovely post!

  11. I have a list of people I met while long-term traveling and I will never let them go. I love slow travel but I always feel so sad when I have to move on and these people aren’t in my daily life anymore. Thank you x

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