Don’t get me wrong - I am all about dragging my friends out to see the mountains. I love sharing my favourite views with quality humans, and creating memories together that we’ll never forget. But, you don’t need to travel in a pod if your schedules or interests don’t align. Some of my favourite experiences outdoors come from travelling alone. Here are five reasons why going solo is a total blast:
1 - No one gets in the way of your epic landscape photos.
Sure, we all like to go home with some token selfies, or group shots to savour the memories of our shared adventures, and if you don’t own a selfie stick, it’s nice when there’s someone around whom you can ask to take a photo of you. But there are some of us who prefer simply to photograph the immaculate and memorable landscape around us. Getting up and out of bed early affords you that solo opportunity to experience and photograph something that exhibits solitude in its ultimate, untouched form. There’s no need to wave, or shoo off your friends to catch that perfect, sun-kissed panoramic shot. And going it alone means no one to complain if you do hit the trails early…
2 - You get to move at your own pace, whenever and wherever you like.
Free of guilt, you can go early or leave late from your favourite spots. It seems that not everyone likes to squander hours of sleep to stay up late for the stars on a work night, or spend three nights camped around pristine alpine lakes with you, so worry not; you’re on your own schedule! Stop to eat when you want to, climb higher if you want to, or pitch a hammock and stay if you really want to.
3 - You value your safety and sensibility so much more.
You don’t have a team of clever friends to help you figure your way out of the next challenge, or tackle the next obstacle. It’s just you and the wilderness, figuring things out. You may take fewer chances while you’re out alone, but more importantly, you will tackle adversity with a more calculated approach. Travelling in a group provides security, and in the instance of bears, it easily provides noise to deter predators. When you’re travelling alone, you pay attention to signs and clues a little more carefully, and you really have to go out of your way to stay safe. (And you get to shout things like “hey bear!” or sing silly songs to yourself to make enough noise.)
4 - It’s the perfect time to mentally decompress.
“Hello, me, is it really you?” We all need “me” time, and what better way to spend it than on the trails and away from our usual distractions (cough, Netflix). Use your trail time to get all up in your own business. Are you a writer, artist or musician, stumped and lacking inspiration? Are you struggling with a project, or dynamic at work? Is your personal life starting to feel like a hurricane? Process it, one step at a time — literally. The noise of cellphone reception and incessant home-life interruptions is overwhelming. Take yourself to the mountains!
5 - Bragging rights.
Okay, kind of, but not exactly. Humans are clever, sometimes a little too clever. We have invested a lot of time and energy into making things convenient, easy and attainable. It takes time in the wilderness, unaided, to recognize the value of those advantages. Without tools and our usual privileges in the outdoors, we are forced to be much more resourceful than we typically need to be in our day-to-day life. Sustaining yourself (by yourself) in the wilderness is an incredible accomplishment!
6 - Bonus
You are in no way obligated to share your CHRC java with anyone!