In the question and answer session after my talk at the RGS someone asked if I ever got lonely on my trip. Not having a good answer prepared, and not thinking very fast on my feet with the pressure of having 100 people staring at me, I rambled a bit saying yes but that it was a good type of loneliness that I didn’t mind.
What I meant to say is that there is a difference between loneliness and solitude, where both are the physical state of being alone, but loneliness is a negative mental state of wanting to be in the company of other people, while solitude is a positive mental state of being content and comfortable despite (or perhaps because of) being alone.
On my trip I was very rarely lonely – I tend to be much more of a solitude person.
This article sums up very eloquently my thoughts and experiences.