Several times people asked how can you solo hike or travel ?
The ideas and assumptions around “seeing yourself alone” or "seeing someone alone" are interesting. Solo activities, with a partner or with a group composed with known or unknown people shape different experiences. Depending on many factors such as your personality type or your background, the situation can be a challenging, and even more for some extroverted. As far as I remember, I experimented every kind of way to hike and travel : solo, with a partner, with a group composed of strangers and/or friends, in a duo with a stranger I just randomly met.
As hyper-active and curious human being, I always feel the need to be on the move, explore and experience. I used to complain for always having to motivate someone in joining me or wait… Wait for what ??? Some people have no other ways to experience that situation but by being thrown into it, so I wondered ; why always waiting for others to do what you really want to do ? Why always blame others to do not want to join and not just go by myself ? It took me a while, however investigating on the question, I just threw myself into it. We only have one life isn’t it ?
I noticed that doing day activities is one thing however multi-day solo journeys is another one. It can be more challenging as the risk can increase. The process has been the following : I first made a list of the things I always wanted to do but never found anyone to do with. The list was as simple as going to a gig, sitting at a restaurant, going to the cinema, 3 days hiking trip, travel or live in another country, etc. In my head, they were usual experiences to share with someone.
Slowly I finally started to tick the boxes. For instance, one of the biggest challenge has been traveling to Thailand in 2017. It was my first time far from Europe including airport transfers, no plannings in an unknown country where I could not read or understand the langage. The first solo overnight trek was the Surf Coast walk in Australia and then Wilson Promontory. It was scary but exciting in the same time... and it still is every single time but all those experiences became the first ones in a long list.
With a step back, I realised that ‘fear’ was the emotion that held my back. I was scared… Scared of judgement, insecurity. The fear to do not be good enough to handle the unexpected. I was scared to be bored, to feel selfish or lonely. For some people it can even go as far as “Monophobia”.
However, little challenges by little challenges, I expended my comfort zone. Now I even do need alone times. In the end, feeling lonely and being alone is totally different. Your mind-set is as important as the perspective you bring to the experience. To be honest I do feel lonely sometimes, as I wish sharing what I see or feel with someone. However, I tell myself they are the one missing out. The self-talk or self-dialogue is the key to going forward. See ! You are not even alone in your own head! ;-)
Being solo is giving yourself the opportunity to be brave enough to creating unique personal memories. The situations allow to know yourself better by pushing your limits. It is a way to learn being comfortable with yourself, develop self-confidence, becoming your best friend. As in some situations you can only count on your personal abilities, you might even be surprised to discover how resilient and capable you are.
If you push your social skills further, you will notice that you rarely end up alone. The magic is to meet like-minded people on your way. Some of them can even become your best friends.
A little tip : If like me you are scared to approach strangers and be rejected, try different approaches. The best one I found is to ask a question that I know the answer of, so in the same time you can see how honest is the person. Keep in mind that you might never see that person ever again and she is a human being just like you.
Today, I could share many incredible stories that I am excited to share to people who stayed back home. For me solo times became synonym of self-reflection, regeneration and freedom. Freedom to do what I want, at any time, without having any commitments with others except myself. In those times, I can be free to be who ever I want to be. You can give yourself any challenges and try new things. Explore places, going with the flow based on your personal limits. You have to own your responsibility such as your own safety. Letting know at least one person of your location is the basics and for such activities as hiking be prepared enough gathering informations.
If you wish further informations, have a read at this link : https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-introverts-corner/201504/why-you-shouldnt-fear-going-solo
Remember, you are never really alone even if you might feel like it. It is all questions of perspectives and mindset.