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Don't Wait for Others to Make Your Adventures Happen

In defense of the solo adventure

By: Kimberly Moy + Save to a List

For some people, doing things alone, especially new things, can seem daunting. But each of us has that list of trips we want to take, and new hobbies we want to try. If we hold back, waiting for our work vacation to align with our roommate’s work vacation, or for our friend to have a spiked interest in trying kite surfing at the same time we are seriously considering getting into the sport, we may never actually get there. In the past year I have gone on backpacking trips to Moab, the Badlands, and Southern Utah, traveled to the International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, taken up mountain biking, downhill skiing and conquering Colorado’s 14ers, and gone on a two week road trip through Banff, Kootenay, Yoho, Glacier, Yellowstone and the Tetons, all solo. It is not as hard as it seems.

You might feel awkward at first, but then you will feel empowered

From standing alone in a crowd watching hot air balloons rise into the sunset, to your first night sleeping alone in the backcountry there will be moments when you doubt your decision to go it alone. Remember these things. First of all, no one is regarding you as a weirdo for being solo, and if they are, it is because they are not the type of person who would ever be able to do something that brave. Second, you are capable. Solo adventures are ultimate for teaching you that you have all of the skills, reasoning, and ability you need to accomplish cool things. Third, the feeling you get looking back on pictures, recognizing that your riding has improved, reaching the top of the mountain, and telling people about your experiences is empowering. It is the recognition that you had a dream and you chased it. You did not let fear get in the way, and people will notice.

People will be inspired by you

I lied before. My road trip from the Canadian Rockies through the Tetons was not solo. A friend from college accompanied me on the journey, but he didn’t jump on board until after the plans for the trip were already set. My plans for the trip were laid out—dates, places, endeavors—and I was telling my friend about them when he expressed interest in a similar trip, and so I invited him along. Last spring I had reached the summit of Mt. Elbert when I ran into a group of people who invited me to hike back down with them. On the way down one man in particular couldn’t believe how comfortable I was just doing things by myself, and by the time we reached the trailhead, he was talking about plans to do some solo hiking of his own. A friend called me as I drove back from Albuquerque and when I told her what I had been up to, she asked if I could let her know when the event is scheduled next year, so she can try to fly in from Fargo to go. Not only will you be inspiring people to do cool things by doing cool things yourself, you will also be opening their eyes to the cool things around them that they did not know existed.

You have an insane amount of resources at your fingertips

I learned how to mountain bike by watching YouTube videos and reading blogs that are online as resources for people looking to get into the sport. I downloaded a list of local trails ranked by difficulty, and a guy I was messaging on a dating app who had several pictures of himself mountain biking on his profile gave me tips on what to look for in a bike. I found an article with the ten easiest 14ers and then read carefully through each of the trail descriptions and comments on the 14ers website before setting off to summit my first one. I searched Pinterest for links to blogs about people’s trips to the places I wanted to go, considering their recommended hikes and experiences for each of those locations. I have found insanely cool campsites on free camping websites, by asking locals, and by connecting with a different guy through a dating app who was heading out of the area I was heading into but offered recommendations based on what he had just experienced. “I don’t know how” is no longer a valid excuse with the internet and the resources it offers. Consider yourself technologically stunted? Explore local classes that are offered, or find a local group that is into what you want to get into. People are often all too happy to help.

There is no doubt that shared experiences are valuable; humans are social creatures after all, but don’t let yourself put your dreams on a back burner just because there is no one who can currently commit to tagging along for the ride. Put those aspirations into motion. Plan your next adventure, and who knows what will ensue.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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