Don't get me wrong. Travel is great - which is why I do it. But having been on the road for five years now, I realize that it is also lonely. Even if you're traveling with a partner. Until I started traveling, I never knew what loneliness felt like. And that isn't a humble brag (or whatevs), it is what it is. I had a bunch of close friends, and social life, work, family, all of the above back home.
First thing travel - or rather, being in a new country - does is strip you of all you thought of yourself. Everything you used to measure yourself against is now gone. Oh did you never have to wait in line at the club cuz you knew so-and-so? Gone! Stand in line like everyone else now thankyouverymuch. You are a brand new being and suddenly you're contemplating who you are. It's a scary and brilliant time!
Then you see all your friends gettin' on without you, posting Facebook pics of all the parties and gatherings you now can't attend because, travel. Yeah, yeah, I'm having a great time in Machu Pichu and all that but look at all of them having a BBQ in the park. It's weird what the mind focuses on.
It's not that you don't make new friends, it's just that you don't share the same close bonds you did with your friends back home. And even though you're surrounded by new friends and new situations and you're having a blast, there is a layer of loneliness that sits on you.
The funny thing is that since you've now been gone so long, when you do return, your friends have kinda moved on, that closeness is kinda lost, so now you don't fit in back home either. You now have a loneliness sized hole in your heart which you think you can fill by traveling more and off you go. Silly cycle really.
It isn't bad
This sounds bad, but it really isn't. It is bad only if you think being lonely sometimes is bad. I wouldn't trade my life. I love it. Sure at times I feel like I'm grasping for something. But I wouldn't categorize that as either good or bad. It just is. Occasionally you meet a soul or two that fill that space for you and it makes it all worth while. Other times you're just going to have to fill that space yourself. It can be done.
So if you're just starting out, and you're feeling a sense of emptiness, hang in there. I'm not saying that it'll go away if you do, but the pay off is worth it. The best cure? Love yourself because you're all you've got.