Why go solo?

I’m a huge advocate of traveling/backpacking solo.  I am continually surprised how many people say, “Wow, I don’t think I could do that.”  Here’s a few thoughts on why it’s worth a try:

Intensity. The highs are higher and the lows are lower.  You are alone with your mind, removed from the comforts and distractions of  companions. It’s like an overdue increase in your glasses prescription, but for each one of senses and emotions.  Mundane details become alive.

Independence. You are reliant on your self.  You can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  It’s up to you to poner la onda. If it’s a matter of survival, you’ll find strength and energy normally buried.

Freedom. You can do what you want, when you want. New experiences are limited only by your own creativity.

Challenge. Whether mental or physical, it is up to you to overcome each challenge and expand your comfort zone. As cliché as it sounds, bigger risks often mean bigger rewards.

Suffering. By reducing creature comforts and pushing your limits you realize your potential — and what is really essential to your happiness.

Isolation. Removing yourself from the routine of distractions facilitates a re-focus who you are, what is important to you, who is important to you and to whom you are important.  It allows a general evaluation of your priorities.  You might realize you need to call an old friend, buy less beer, buy more beer (for friends), turn off you cell phone, or stop busying yourself with distractions in the first place.

Appreciation. Comes with isolation.  Once you are away from “things” you realize their value (or lack thereof).

Time. Being alone gives you the time to think and the serenity to enjoy it.

Stillness. If you’re alone in the backcountry, there’s nothing to do, and nothing to distract you from doing nothing.

In the words of Doug Peacock, “If you’re comfortable with yourself, go solo.  Solitude is the deepest well I know, and it’s your right to drink from it.”

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