I've had LOTS of time to reflect on this over the course of the summer. I think I'm starting to figure it out. Processing my thoughts via list. This is probably too long to be a list but yolo
  1. You can be lonely when surrounded by lots of people (strangers or friends)
  2. You can be perfectly content being alone for long periods of time. This of course varies based on degree of extroversion, but I consider my self more extroverted and I've come to appreciate my time of solitude when I have it.
  3. It's also good to embrace solitude because being alone can provide even more opportunity to interact with people
  4. I know for myself, if I am traveling with one or even a few friends, we tend to mainly socialize with only each other. Traveling alone then provides an opportunity to not be insular.
  5. Being alone can be a solution for loneliness in itself. Seize the solitude, but when you are ready, interact with people. It's all in your hands.
  6. Being alone removes any buffer against potentially uncomfortable situations & makes you more vulnerable (in my case this summer me being alone allows people to feel more comfortable demanding things from me/treating me unfairly). But now I know how to stand up for/handle myself in these situations and I feel better for it.
  7. Being alone leaves time for self reflection and quiet. A recent study showed that a few hours of silence per day actually made mice smarter! Could work for humans too? If so I'm going to be brilliant by the end of the summer.
  8. So in conclusion, for myself I have always lumped being alone with loneliness. I've always actively looked for social situations in order to avoid being lonely. But now I really have come to value "me time" though I definitely have too much of it currently. Hoping to settle for a middle ground when I get back to the states
  9. I've also learned the importance of self reflection and growth that happens when you are fully independent of anyone else. Not to mention the experiences I would have never had otherwise.
  10. That's all I've got for now but 5 more weeks of being alone will likely lead to more insights :)