I’m a wanderer, an adventurer, and a lone wolf. As an introvert, I find peace and solace in the silence of nature, in the aloneness of the wilderness. It fills up my internal well and brings me contentment. I do a lot of solo travel, and it’s thrilling, comfortable, and fulfilling for me, but for others it can be very scary to consider traveling without company. This article should inspire you to take to the road, to the trail, or to nature and experience adventure by yourself, with confidence.
I called this blog post, “Almost Solo Travel” because I rarely travel alone. I’ve always got my dogs! I had Mica for almost 3 years before I got River, so he and I have many memories traveling together. We’ve gone to Maine by ourselves for a full week, vacationed at an amazing canine retreat in upstate New York, hiked all over Vermont, moved cross-country from Vermont to Minnesota, and camped for the first time ever together.
In the wilderness, I’ve been very thankful to have him by my side. He alerts me to others coming up the trail and to possible wildlife encounters. He provides security and comfort when we’re hiking the trail alone. And I take care of him, too. I help him experience new things, reassure him, and help him overcome challenges. We are a team.
You don’t have to have a super strong bond with your dog to go adventuring together, but you’ll certainly form one along the journey. Having Mica along lent me confidence to try these adventures. I was never an avid outdoorswoman before I got him. Getting a Border Collie prompted me to explore more, and it sparked a love for the outdoors that I’m so grateful to have. You can start at any time of your life; pick an activity that interests you, do some research, and give it a try.
Now, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns traveling by yourself. You will experience fear, trepidation, uncertainty, hesitancy, and maybe even danger. Here are some of my tips for almost solo travel:
Have a Plan. Preparation is the mightiest tool you have at your disposal. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be, and the easier it will be to adapt if the situation demands it. Research your activity, your destination, the steps of the journey from A to B, and what gear you’ll need. Plan ahead for your dog, too. What kinds of activities does he enjoy? What things will bring him comfort and stability on your trip that you could bring? What does he like and what causes him stress?
Trust and Fear. You will have a much better time mentally if you trust in humanity and make positive assumptions. If you spend your entire trip fearful and suspicious, those are the types of people you will see. If you approach your trip with positive energy and enthusiasm and excitement, others will feel it and respond in kind. It’s incredible how energy goes such a long ways and really makes or breaks your trip. I’ve met some incredible, warm people on my journeys. At the same time, keep a healthy level of caution about you during your trip and use common sense. It’s like defensive driving; be prepared for what could happen and stay smart.
Take care of yourself and your dog. Take along provisions for both of you and stay comfortable. Make pit stops, take breaks on the trail, stop and take pictures, rest, relax. It’s all about decompressing, right? Balance that with exciting, fun things, too! Since you’re traveling solo, do what YOU want to do when YOU want to do it. There’s no one else to consult! Well, you might want to consult your dog and see what he wants to do, but I’d advise against a tennis ball stop every 5 minutes. ;)
What other questions do you have? What’s holding you back? Let me know in the comments below. Share you trips and successes with solo travel, too! Maybe I’ll see you on the trail someday.
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