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Adventures with friends are fun , you have people to talk to and laugh with, people to grumble at when things go wrong. But how about flying solo for a change?
This month’s challenge is to complete an adventure on your own. Walk, cycle or run – whatever activity you choose, the point is to do it sans company. Spending a full day and night by yourself is a rare occurrence for most of us, and brings a new perspective to adventure.
(image-John Ansell winner of our adventure selfie competition)
Well, being alone outdoors can really change the goal posts. There is no-one else to rely on, and you only have your own wits and skills to fall back on. Choosing a route? It’s up to you. Navigating? You must find your own way. Wondering when to stop? The ball is in your court. No-one tells you what you do and there are no compromises to be made. You can travel at your own speed and in your own style.
As well as giving you greater independence, having a solo adventure can make an experience so much more intense – particularly if it involves a night outside. Lying in your tent at night, every sound is magnified and there is no-one around to take your mind off what might be making the noise. You might sleep less – but you will remember the night.
Going solo also offers a more meditative experience. A beautiful view is yours alone and you are left to sit in silence to soak up the scenery. With only your own thoughts for company, you have time to contemplate whatever you wish without distraction – a rare treat in today’s world.
My first ever cycle tour was four days across Cornwall and Devon on my own. It was difficult, lonely and wet – but one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Similarly, I treasure the experience of climbing mountains alone – striding along isolated ridges in the Lake District with only the wind for company, my lungs expand and my mind is freed.
Completing solitary adventures enable you to learn a lot about who you are, what you enjoy and where the limits of your skills are. The sense of achievement on completing your goal is all the sweeter for having done it all by yourself. There might be no-one to share the success with at the top of the mountain – but there is no one else to steal your glory.
Taking on the challenge!