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While Trav’s been away in France for a science conference, I’ve alternately fended off loneliness; struggled with frustration – feels like we’re being flooded with bills, all in French, for things we’re not accustomed to having to pay; and exhilarated in my freedom to explore the surrounding countryside with only whim to dictate where I go. It’s impossible to walk anywhere in Switzerland without feeling continually startled at the absolute beauty of where we live. The upside of his absence is that I’ve been learning how to deal with expat loneliness.

Spending time outdoors to fend out expat loneliness in Switzerland

A row of houses in the nearby village of Lovens looks out over Lake Neuchatel and the distant Jura Mountains to the north, as well as the spectacular jagged outline of the Alps to the south.

With each of my daily forays into the woods, I feel less inclined to seek out human contact.

I’ve become more content with the quiet company of our dog, the resident foxes hunting for mice in the fields, and the lumbering Guernsey cows that are easily satisfied as long as they have a patch of nice, green grass.

Watching a beautiful sunset in Switzerland helps with expat loneliness

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While passing my favorite bunch of beasts this evening, I stopped to utter some nonsensical sounds I thought cows might appreciate. Never good conversationalists, they ignored my efforts, so I continued on past the farmhouse, appreciating the immaculately landscaped yard and traditional Swiss architecture.

My glance unintentionally slid to an un-shuttered over-sized window where an entire family was clustered, frozen in the act of washing and drying dinner dishes, all eyes locked on my passage.

Farm in Lovens, Switzerland

Sun sets over a nearby farm as calves frolic in their pens, kicking up their tiny hooves, stopping briefly to gaze at me with curiosity.

Hiking near Lake Neuchatel to cope with expat loneliness

Lake Neuchatel is just barely visible along the road that passes our house in town where it tops out along a small ridge.

Clearly they had witnessed my friendly exchange with their cows and appeared quite concerned.

I gave a small smile, hoping to alleviate their unease.

Right then I decided that perhaps it would be best to spend some time with people tomorrow and spend less time talking to cows.

A couple of great attractions to help with expat loneliness in Switzerland are watching Basel’s Penguin Parade and Alps Hiking at Jaun Pass.

We love to hear stories from others who’ve experienced expat loneliness. Have tips for settling in? Share them in the comments below!

Love a good hermit story?
  • Read all about the North Pond Hermit who survived in the woods of Maine for 27 years.
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