When was the last time you were alone? I’m talking really, truly alone. No Netflix, Twitter or phone calls – just you and your wandering mind spending some quality time together.
I asked myself this question and realized that I really didn’t have an answer. I have a brother and was involved with countless teams and clubs growing up. I’ve always lived with roommates and have a wonderful group of friends and coworkers that I love spending time with. My alone time consisted of a couple hours here and there sitting on the beach with a book or taking a long walk to clear my head.
During my time at Mixte, I’ve seen coworkers plan road trips up the coast of California, bike tours, excursions to foreign countries and more. The common denominators? They’re all women – and they all went alone.
Upon their return, each of my colleagues had tales of challenges, triumphs, immersions in beautiful places and new friendships with beautiful people. I was hooked, empowered and determined to find my own slice of solitude.
Deciding where to go on my first solo adventure was a no-brainer. I’m constantly in awe of the take-your-breath-away views I see living and working near the beach. That got me thinking about how much beauty we take for granted in our own backyards.
I planned a route, booked campsites and set out on a 13-day, 2,500-mile journey through five National Parks.When I first told friends and family about my plan, the general reaction was downright confusion, and I get that. I’m a five-foot-three-inch woman who had only been camping once when I was 10-years-old – an experience my mom says I didn’t enjoy because it was “dirty.” I didn’t know what a bear box was. I had never started a campfire.
I went regardless.From the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to gigantic trees in the Sequoias, I roamed my way through more stunningly beautiful landscapes than I could have imagined. I rediscovered the irrefutable loveliness of really good music and really good books. Thirty-six mosquitos bit me in the matter of 12 hours, but I still managed to uncover the joy that hiking brings me. I ate fire-roasted food and chatted with glowing campers.Halfway through my trip, I met a mother and her 13 year-old-daughter on their own adventure. The duo was taking two weeks to explore National Parks and volunteer at animal shelters along the way. The three of us hiked through The Narrows in Zion National Park, pulling each other up waterfalls and cannonballing into deep pools along the way. I fell in love with them. It warmed my heart to see a strong woman raising her daughter to be unafraid of the unknowns that come with traveling – and even to embrace them.Even when I got lost amid winding roads and dropped GPS signals, I didn’t feel misplaced. There’s a certain calm confidence that comes with having nowhere to be, nobody to meet up with and no timeline to adhere to. I knew that I had no business going on this trip, but I did it anyway.
You should too.