Hiking/camping alone was a bit intimidating the first time I attempted it. But, I quickly found out that it can be very rewarding. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life and find/listen to their inner voice. I have learned a lot about myself, when I have taken time to be with myself.
Hiking and camping alone, often helps me see my outer world clearer. It also gives me the time I need to create a more peaceful inner world. I become braver, happier, I trust myself more, and I feel more in control of my life path. Taking intentional time to balance my outer and inner worlds has helped me begin to create a healthier happier life.
Quote: "Then all that is needed is a little daring, and his two lives become one."
I recently went on another backpacking trip alone (well with my dog) and noticed that every time I go alone, I experience many of the same feelings. Especially at night…
Happiness Oh, the joy of being on your own! I liken this feeling to when my parents first dropped me off at college or when I first moved out on my own. It's an exhilarating feeling. Nobody to tell you what to do, where to go, or argue with you on where the map say to go. It’s freedom, freedom to make my own calls. Do I need this? Should I go there? How far to my campsite? All of these questions and more are completely up to ME. Now don’t get me wrong, camping and hiking with friends is, of course, enjoyable. BUT there is something unique and primal when you head out into the wilderness on your own.
Skepticism Scared? If I am honest, the unknown can be a little scary. I always feel a little skeptical of myself when I initially reach my campsite. My head conversation goes something like this: “Should I turn back? I bet I can reach my car and sleep in it or drive home before it gets dark. Wouldn’t I be more comfortable that way? What am I even doing out here ALONE? How do I ever think this will be fun?” It is important to remember that THESE THOUGHTS AND FEELING WILL PASS!! I have found I need to lean into them and just listen - I then tell myself that everything may not go as planned. I might forget something or my campsite may not be what I imagined it would look like. (Most of the time the crisp clean campground you have in your mind is not the case.) I remind myself that this is what I signed up for: a campground with a place to set my tent, sometimes a table, and sometimes a fire pit. I remind myself that I can TRUST MYSELF that I have everything that I require to succeed. Then it helps me to keep busy as I acclimate to my evening surroundings. I like to get my camp set up. I work to make it feel more like MY living place.
Loneliness Is feeling lonely a bad thing? I found that when I acknowledge my loneliness and meet it head on I actually learn new things about myself. The biggest thing I have learned is that when I am all alone feeling loneliness I need to make sure I can catch it, see it, name it and not let it turn into anguish and sorrow. I find that this loneliness is a good time to reflect; why am I feeling this way? What do I need to solve in my outer world? What do I need to solve in my inner world? The best way, I have found, to combat feelings of loneliness is starting a fire and meditate. Just the simple act of starting a warm fire helps ease my tensions and fears. The fire also makes a great meditation and reflection tool as I gaze into the fire and into my thoughts. A nice solid meditation session while camping alone allows me to calm my mind letting me clear the way to learn new things about myself.
I cannot recommend meditating enough. After a solide meditation session I get determined. I start to loosen up and enjoy myself and I begin to trust in myself. The feeling of freedom returns and I begin to see new possibilities and solutions to questions I have been wrestling with. Camping alone then begins to become fun and I realize that I am not alone, because I am with myself. I am capable, resilient, strong, and I am ok with spending time with myself. Time to cook some dinner turn on some music or maybe I will read book.
Fulfillment The feeling I get the next morning is empowered! It’s time to hike back out or continue on the trail. I feel peaceful and fulfilled. My mind, body, and soul seem more aligned and I am ready to head back to my everyday life. I have accomplished spending time with myself in nature alone and I am a better person for it. I know I can do it and I laugh at how unsure I was when I began. Everyone is on a personal journey, we are all searching for what is already within us. Happy Trails, My Friends!