When you remove other people from your hiking, mountain biking, or camping experience, you take the outdoors to a new level. However, you’re not actually facing the wild alone—you have the earth to be your companion. Still, going into the wilderness “alone” has the capacity to teach you a number of life lessons you wouldn’t otherwise encounter. But safety comes first.
Make sure at least two people know where you’re going when you’ll be back, and (if possible) schedule regular check-ins. Ensure that you research trustworthy car models that can get you to and from your destination safely. If you plan to car camp, considering the usable space inside the car is also critical. Research the location to see if there are any particular dangers to be aware of, such as animal sightings or weather forecasts.
Once you’ve done the necessary pre-checks, start looking forward to these six life lessons you may learn in your adventure:
- Your own company is awesome. Most people don’t spend a lot of time truly with themselves. They might be with friends, co-workers, or spending time in front of a screen. The outdoors encourages you to be reflective and look inward. It’s relatively easy in the outdoors to learn to enjoy time with yourself.
- You’re tougher than you think you are. Do you always rely on someone else to pitch the tent? Cook dinner over a campfire? Figure out the coordinates? When everything is on you, you’ll discover you’re a lot tougher and savvier than you think.
- The outdoors heals. From anxiety to depression, being in the wild is nature’s medicine. It will take care of you and can help you heal from a variety of issues that could be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Your blood pressure can lower, and you can find peace and happiness that doesn’t exist anywhere else.
- Being yourself is everything. Not only do you not have the usual hustle and bustle to contend with, but you also don’t have to act any certain way or put on a show for anyone. Even if you normally camp with a friend you’ve known for decades or your partner who you completely love, nobody is ever totally themselves around other people. When you’re solo in the outdoors, it’s all you and the wilderness. It won’t take long for you to come back to yourself.
- You have more time than you think. Do you often find yourself wondering where the time goes? Does it seem like life is moving too fast, and a night out with friends is all a blur? While it’s true that time seems to go faster with age or when you’re busy, it’s not always a good thing. In the wild, time can go a little slower. This gives you time to slow down. Time is a precious gift because you never know how much of it you have. Having the ability to “slow it down” is one of the most amazing things you can experience.
- The world doesn’t revolve around you. Most people know this in their head, but humans by nature are a bit egotistical and don’t fully understand the concept. When you are in the outdoors alone, you are reminded of how insignificant people are—in all the right ways. It’s a reminder of who you share the earth with, and your responsibility to act ethically.
If you’re planning an outdoor adventure, consider tackling it solo. It’s an opportunity for growth, and you might just fall in love with it.