A few months ago, we put out a survey for our Instagram followers asking if they prefer to adventure alone or with others alongside them. It did not surprise me that over 90% had a preference to be joined by at least 1 other person.
I’m a solo wanderer by nature – whether it’s hiking, camping or travelling internationally.
In fact, I do many things alone in general, despite having a fulfilling social life.
Being alone without being lonely is a skill we are not often taught.
Humans are social creatures. We naturally seek identity and confidence within our social groups – whether they are friends, co-workers, families, internet communities, you name it. Being a sister, or a nurse, or a volunteer are the layers that help define ourselves.
But one question I come back to is:
Who are you without all those layers?
If I am not a Horticulturalist, or a hiker, or a young female living in the West, who am I?
Beyond my past and vision for the future, what is going on for the person who stands in my shoes this very second?
When you’re out there, it doesn’t matter what your higher-ups think of you, it doesn’t matter what role you thinking you’re playing in society, it doesn’t matter how many likes or views your Instagram got today.
It’s just you and the wild.
It is empowering to connect to yourself on that deep level, and being immersed in such a vast expanse of nature will allow you to get out of your head or ego to be humbled – and see the big picture stuff.
Whether you are embarking on a week-long trek or just a short day hike, it is important that you feel safe.
Here are some guidelines to help you get there:
Share your plans
Tell someone you trust where you are going and when you should be back. I usually tell my mom or brother where I am going whenever I set out for adventure.
Make sure your phone is charged, perhaps bring along a non-solar portable charger. When in the backcountry, you may consider purchasing a beacon or satellite phone.
Choose a weapon
For most, this is bearspray. KNOW HOW TO USE IT BEFORE GOING. Having a weapon such as a knife without knowing how to use it can put you at even greater risk than having nothing.
Avoid attracting yourself
Tightly secure your food and toiletries. Use lockers or make a cache if you are camping. I would avoid letting strangers know exactly where you are headed, especially if it is secluded. Ladies - avoid going when on your period.
If this makes you nervous, that’s normal.
Solo adventuring can be a test of confidence but I promise it is worthwhile, because it will build true confidence and trust in your own abilities.
You will hone in on the things that align with you begin to make decisions based on that connection. You will see your perceptions and misjudgments come forward to view situations more objectively. You will open up dialogue with yourself that has been pushed aside with distractions and occupations with things that don’t actually matter.
You will also spend time in incredible places that will become very special and important to you for years down the road.
You will also run into many amazing people with ideas and interests outside of your normal social groups.
You will also learn to appreciate those already in your life that much more.
It’s real soul food.
And you will come back feeling nurtured and ready for the next.