Thanks for starting this thread @SurvivalGal! I really needed this.
You know you're a backpacker if you find yourself reading an REI Conversation thread titled You know you're a backpacker if... and find yourself feeling very alone because nobody else around you understands.
Backpacking, especially soloing, is not for everyone. Chances are, the people who 'get you' most will be in the backcountry, and (if you're lucky) will have enough in common with you to start a friendship. Even if you only see them when you coordinate schedules.
Such are MY backpacking friendships. We stay in touch via email and when an outing sounds interesting, we make plans to rendezvous at a particular camp or trailhead. Sometimes we'll even bring a "+1".
But here's the thing, while I look forward to meeting new people in the backcountry, meeting people is NOT why I go on adventures. Land or sea, forests or desert, I go to those places for ME!
But, as a soloist, I have long ago come to terms with solitude. For some, it's their personal "demons" that keep them home, or keep them from soloing for extended periods. Those demons include (one of three) include the basic human need for CONNECTION! We are social animals, after all.
If you feel "lonely", that is your mind's response to that acute type of isolation, and it's telling you that you need to connect with someone, much like thirst is your body's response to dehydration.
DON'T underestimate the feeling of loneliness, chronic loneliness is as toxic to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day!! No doubt most of the contestants on 'Alone' (the survival-reality television show/contest) will tell you loneliness, and the need to reconnect with friends and family is a very REAL and POWERFUL experience!!!