Many studies state that human beings need contact with other human beings. We need both the intellectual, social and sexual interactions with other human beings in order to blossom and grow.
As a reclusive, I can say: I’m only human. Occasionally I do need contact with human beings, as only to prove that I love my reclusive lifestyle.
It is also said that people who live as recluses are those who are wounded, emotionally immature or suffer from some kind of social disorder. Maybe for some people living a solo life is not merely by choice but by a (mal)function in the brain. But it is always a choice to give in to it. Especially when it has to do with past experiences.
When on an occasional lonely night I search the internet for fellow hermits and how they balance their human needs for contact, I learn that many modern hermits were once very sociable people, but dropped out of society for a brief moment. To recuperate from a phase, to heal and to get away from ‘it all’ for a while. Only to discover how peaceful a reclusive life is and to never return fully to that social amiable life they used to live.
There are several stages of how reclusive you want to live. Some end up in a log cabin in the woods without electricity, internet or phone. This article gives you 2 examples of the extreme of modern-day hermits.
Ever since civilization exists, people want to get away from it.
Escaping the 9-5 society, escaping family gatherings, escaping it all. Some of us do not function well in a world full of rules, noise, and obligations. Becoming a recluse is not something that comes upon you, it is a choice and it grows on you.
I always had the feeling I was a misfit when it came to society. I did never fit in. And although I was the fun girl at parties once, I now hate it when I have to go to one.
For a while, I made up every excuse I could think of to get out of the invitation without losing face or hurting the other person’s feelings.
In the end, I just ended up saying I was not into parties anymore.
I guess for me the venom lies in the “ not wanting to hurt anybody’s feelings”, That is where it usually goes wrong between me and society (read people): I avoided confrontations to the max, and by doing so I got hurt a lot.
I’m HSP (Highly Sensitive Personality) and I need a certain amount of ‘me-time’ to recuperate from daily life.
As years were added to my age, I started to appreciate the time alone over the time spent with people
My way of thinking is totally different from others. And I always felt that but never knew why. I have a different way of observing the world and capturing thoughts. Maybe because I started traveling at the age of 17 when I rounded the entire South American continent?
Anyway, it took a while to discover what ‘is wrong with me’. But now I know: my thoughts go with the speed of light. And here is how I discovered that:
I once attended a seminar where we had to do a test. The room was filled with academics and they took their time filling out the test form. I kind of worried that I finished mine so fast. It was not that difficult? Was it?
Did I miss the point maybe?
The spokesman saw me and came up to me and said: Don’t worry, finished is finished. Can I have a look?
And when he looked over my form he smiled and said: Just be honest during the evaluation. You will surprise yourself.
It was one of those agonizing hand-raising evaluation things…how many of you answered….and than raise your hand.
My hand went up a lot while others did not raise theirs. I felt awkward. Red face, all sweaty in the armpits I can tell you that.
I was the sole person with an exceptionally high score, and I finished the test in only a few minutes.
My score was 98 out of 100! And I barely finished high school.
Later, during lunch, the trainer stood next to me, we were at a race track overlooking the cars speeding away from the pit stop and he said: that is you….you go from 0-200 miles per hour in a split second. Your brain is different from the multitudes. Do not compare yourself to them or be belittled by them. They will never understand. And because they do not understand they will judge you and scorn you.
That was the wisest, and probably the nicest thing a person ever said to me. He almost made me cry that day. And he probably doesn’t know how much his words meant to me. He repaired my battered soul more than time or solitude could. He explained ME to me.
I became a lover of solitude. Not because I’m different and I wish to set myself apart. But because in solitude I can hear myself think, I can be creative, I can produce.
I am not a team player.
And I have come to accept that.
There are more reasons why I love being a recluse
waking up in my own routine, having a coffee before anything else, write my morning pages without interruption
spending money the way I see fit, without consulting my other half
deciding what to do with my day all by myself, no obligations
training my self-discipline to be productive all by myself
it makes me more resourceful, before asking anybody for help, I try to solve my own problems and I can do so much more than I think I can
it gives me strength for those days I do have to face the world, it rebuilds my energy level
I follow my own course and I can be authentic without constraints
I decide when I let the world in when I want to socialize
As you can see, I do use the internet, so I’m not as reclusive as many hermits that retrieve in a log cabin in the woods. I live in busy places mostly, filled with tourists and noise. But I can get away from it all whenever I want.
And yes, sometimes I do get lonely, as a matter of fact, loneliness was the underlying reason for writing this article. I made a list (I love lists) with the benefits of being single again (I just broke up with my 1-year boyfriend accepting that is did not work (again)) and living my life a little outside society. And that is how this article came about.
There are 2 types of solo travelers:
Those that thrive in hostels rather than hotels, for hostels help them to connect to others and fill the emptiness of solo travel.
And there are those that truly travel alone, with their own thoughts and on their own trips, carrying their own luggage.
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Jeanette, a Dutch female nomad, started to travel the world at the age of 17. Walker of beaches, shell searcher and iPhone photographer. Writer and owner of two websites
Currently, she lives in Mexico.
She is an emigration coach and works online.