Two weekends ago I did something that just a few years ago I never would have even considered.
I went camping!
Wait, no, that’s not right, I’ve been camping before.
What I meant to say is that for the first time ever, I went camping alone.
More broadly, it’s the first night I’ve ever spent completely alone outside of a place I’ve called home or while on work travel (since I don’t count those).
Essentially, I’ve never traveled anywhere on my own. There’s always been either someone with me, or someone I was going towards.
It took quite a bit of time and some serious internal convincing that I was even capable of doing such a thing, but in the end my search for adventure won over my fears and doubts.
It’s been a long time coming and I’m very glad I pulled the trigger. Here’s the story and why I would absolutely recommend others to do this at least once.
Searching for Adventures
I’ve always been a pretty adventurous person, despite growing up in a household where my parents weren’t fans of camping, hiking or things of that nature.
We did, however, go on lots of vacations and saw some pretty incredible sights. This is probably where my love of seeing beautiful and surreal views began.
I really began the hobby of exploring and adventuring post-college once I moved away from the northeast and my college friends. Perhaps it was something about the Southern California lifestyle and moving away from longtime friends?
This also continued when I moved to the DC area, but to a lesser extent.
Throughout these travel and adventures, most of the time there’s been someone there with me. Whether that’s been family, friends or sometimes coworkers, I’ve had someone else to share those memories with.
And I like that. Having shared experiences with someone gives you something to look back on, something to laugh and reminisce about. It’s something that can never be taken away.
In the past year, around the time I discovered FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early), I began to realize something.
Perhaps it was due to following along the FIRE lifestyle that some people live. Maybe it was following some Instagram accounts of travel/adventure bloggers and seeing the amazing photos they post.
Nevertheless, I began to see how truly big of a world it is out there. There are so many places I want to see! Heck, there so many places I want to see within a 6 hour radius of where I live!
This is where the hobby turned into a lifestyle and the passion of seeking out adventures truly began.
Something else I began to realize? Many of my friends didn’t share this same passion for adventuring.
So what to do about that?
I’ve always prided myself on being a pretty independent person when it came to getting things done. Maybe I just wanted to prove to everyone I could be an adult and do things on my own?
Because of this I had no problem going and doing things on my own.
Friends don’t want to or can’t go on a hike, and I have nothing else to do? I’ll just go myself!
And that’s exactly what I did. Local trips around DC, or partial day trips out to go hike somewhere around the area, I had no problem doing those.
When it came to venturing further out though, I was always a little hesitant.
Driving 3+ hours one way makes for a very long day trip if you are planning on driving back.
The thought of staying the night on my own brought a mental block that, quite frankly, I’m not really sure came from.
For whatever reason my mind implies that when you choose to stay at a place outside your home means you’re on a trip or vacation. And when you’re on a trip or vacation, you’re with other people.
It’s weird to write now, but that’s just how I thought of things.
I’d see or hear of people taking solo trips and think, wow, I could never do that.
This mental block was seriously limiting where I could go and what I could see in this big world of ours.
Ever since starting a blog late last year, I’ve dove head first into the FIRE community and all the resources that are out there.
I’ve learned so much, and a lot of it hasn’t had anything to do with my financial life.
Take, for instance, when I was listening to the FIRE Drill Podcast (one of my favorites) and their episode with Holly Johnson (you should definitely subscribe and listen if you don’t already!)
Holly is a social media influencer and gets paid to take photos of the amazing sights and views she sees.
I was super inspired by her story of how she got into hiking and outdoor adventuring. Essentially what it came down to was that she one day realized that there was no one preventing her from going out and doing these things that she wanted to do.
She wasn’t going to wait around for other people to go see the things she wanted to see.
It’s here where I was finally convinced a solo overnight adventure was something I could and wanted to do.
The Solo Trip
Despite hearing this episode earlier in the year, I waited several months before embarking on my solo trip.
I wanted it to be a camping adventure (instead of a hotel since my travel budget is mostly taken up for the year), and I needed to have good weather for that.
I ended up choosing Shenandoah National Park as my camping spot. Shenandoah has amazing views and plenty of campgrounds to make this happen. Plus it was only a little over 2 hours away, so if something went badly, I could always drive back easily enough.
I was a little nervous driving out, it was a weird feeling. What would people say or think? Is what I’m doing weird? What if there are bears? 😉
All jokes aside, caring less about what people think is something I’ve been working on for years, and likely will always need to work on.
I’m happy to announce that all my fears were quelled, and it was a completely normal day and night.
Setting up and taking down camp was easy enough, the hiking and star gazing was fantastic and not one person said anything bad or looked at me weirdly.
How and why did I wait so long to do this!?
The best part? This whole weekend was had for a $15 campsite and maybe $15 dollars in gas money. $30 for an amazing weekend! Way cheaper and way more fun than spending twice that at the bars.
This trip has given me the confidence needed that I can do any trip like this. I’m going to work my way up to places further and further away.
Maybe I’ll even try solo-backpacking some day! The possibilities are endless.
Have Your Own Solo Adventure!
Solo-trips definitely aren’t for everyone, but I do think a lot of people are limiting themselves if they think it’s not for them. Experience it yourself and give it a shot first!
You don’t need to start off with a grand adventure at some far flung place.
Start by just exploring your local town or city by yourself. If you’re outdoorsy maybe try a short solo hike or one that’s nearby your home.
You can always go further away and graduate to overnight trips after getting more comfortable and gaining confidence with day trips (that’s what I did).
The best part is you’re completely on your own schedule. Free to do what you want, when you want and not have to worry about waiting on others.
In addition, while I love going on trips with others for the shared experiences and memories, it’s quite a different experience going on your own.
I’ve found I’m much more aware of things and my surroundings when adventuring on my own, possibly since it’s a lot quieter and I’m not talking as much!
For those who have a significant other and/or have a family, a solo trip may be tougher to do. That doesn’t mean you can’t try and get a short local solo adventure every now and then!
While I someday hope to find a significant other who shares my outdoor passions (among other things), I’m not going to wait around for them or even my friends to go explore the places I want to see.
Life is too short and the world is too big to wait around!
So what are you waiting for? Go have your own solo adventure!
Have you went on a solo adventure before, or would you like to? What were your thoughts and would you recommend it?