This month, I’ve mostly walked on my own and these days I spend a lot of time in the natural world alone. I prefer my own company but it’s also down to conflicting schedules. I appreciate not everyone has the freedom of freelancing life. I do love company but not all of the time. I don’t go out of my way to put myself in social situations. Unlike my good friend who’s got an insanely active social life and honestly, I admire how he remembers everyone’s name!
Back then, when…
My desire for being alone has always been strong and my mum likes to remind me of those independent times whilst growing up. When I was 5, I escaped out of my cot in the early hours of the morning, unlocked a childproof window lock, clambered out of the ground floor window and tottered about (in my nappy) up and down the street, until I got cold and knocked on the front door. Dad answered it, with his eye line a lot higher than I stood. I babbled something and he looked down at me in surprise. I can remember his face being a mixture of amazement, panic and annoyance at my early hour call.
Then those times when I holidayed in Greece and Malta at 7 and 8. I insisted I could go back to the hotel room on my own. Of course mum wouldn’t let me out of her sight (it was around the time Ben went missing). I waited until she wasn’t looking and embarked on this great adventure (back to the hotel room – which involved climbing through a window – there’s a theme?) To my surprise mum was already there, watching, waiting, she knew my every move!
And age 12, my first adult free holiday with my school friend to Blackpool. We stayed at her Dad’s B&B but had no adult supervision for the whole weekend. I was so excited! Then my school friend met a boy. I got miffed because she wanted to spend her holiday smooching and I wanted to gorge on doughnuts, ride the Pepsi Max and paddle in the murky waters. We still did that but with her new tag along – it was my first taste of real freedom!
I guess you could say that independent streak has become a big part of my DNA and I get super frustrated when someone thinks I can’t or shouldn’t do something. Whilst I’ve met some fantastic liberated free – thinkers and doers, I’ve also met lots of restrictive and domineering type personalities. Rather than it beating me down, it’s made me twice as determined.
The Present is a Gift…
I’ve had my mind on a solo wild camp (well with the pup) for some time and have chosen to do it when the lighter evenings and warmer weather turns up to ease myself in to it gently (I’ve wild camped with Rik a few times). Mention it to those who spend most of their life in front of the news and they’ll give you every reason not to. Mention it those who spend a lot of time outdoors and they’ll give you a sensible, well thought out take on it, suggesting tips such as:
- Always tell someone where you’re going
- Don’t announce it on social media
- Pick somewhere local to start with
I’ve picked a spot (3 miles up in the hills from where I live) and I plan to walk to the location with my equipment to help me practice for longer camps and hikes. Rik was encouraging about it and gave me a few tips to help me get over the midnight twig snapping sounds, I think he understands my need to develop the skills I’ve been taught over the last few years or so. It’s nice to have that support you know?
Of course, there’s being independent and then there’s being pig headed. I’ve been guilty of that. I owe a lot to both men and women who I’ve met whilst out adventuring, who’ve took the time to pass on their knowledge and it certainly is an ongoing journey. It’s true what they say about strength being in numbers…
Still the desire to adventure solo is becoming more of a need. I love the quietness of it all. It’s my time for mind and body to switch off. I also adore the feeling of having to rely on my own intuition and skills. It’s surprising how many of us don’t do that often or even at all! The connection you develop and/ or strengthen with yourself is priceless. You become more in-tune with what feels right. It’s amazing how many of us surround ourselves with people and things just to feel needed. We ignore more pressing matters in our life that need some attention. I find nature is certainly a fantastic outlet for finding out more about yourself, others and what you want out of life.
Early this month, I paid my membership fee to the Mountaineering Council. I’ve mentioned a few times of how I plan to train as a hill and moorland leader. It’s a while off yet but it’s the first step. It’s a solo journey in parts but I know I’ll meet some wonderful people along the way just like I have so far!
I’d love to know your thoughts and ideas on solo adventures?
Psst, I enjoyed reading about this person.