This post has been on my heart because I think it’s applicable to anyone going through a change, wanting to make a change or wanting a new experience but finding that something is holding them back. I’ve found that my mind is my biggest barrier to allowing me to jump into the unknown, do the things I want to do and become the person I want to be. My mind craves the familiar, routine, and the known and when it doesn’t have that, my thoughts and doubts can send me into a tail spin. While my mind craves the familiar, my heart craves new experiences, growth, knowledge and finding beauty in places I didn’t previously know existed. I’ve spent the last year and a half trying to balance my mind and my heart and I’ve found it isn’t as easy as I anticipated. I’ve come to realize, comfort is the antithesis to change. The only way to change, grow, truly follow your dreams and ambitions is to change your thoughts, embrace the unknown and get uncomfortable. Part of embracing the unknown and uncomfortable for me was following my heart cravings for adventure and jumping in to traveling and hiking alone.
I spent a little over a year traveling to new cities and towns alone to hike, work remotely, explore new areas, make beautiful memories, and have incredible adventures. Each time I arrived in a new city, I had the same feeling that was a mix of fear, sadness, and regret. Each time I left Colorado to spend a month in a new city away from my friends and comfort zone, I would question why I was doing it. The plans in my head were so exciting and fun but when I would start each new adventure I would feel scared and lonely. Today, I’m going to talk about some things that have helped me to overcome my fears of the unknown and embrace the change and adventure in front of me. By no means am I perfect at this, but I’m better than I once was!
I’ve found, the hardest part about change is not making the same decisions as you did the day before. The hardest part about change is not having the same thoughts, feelings and fears as you did the day before. The hardest part about change is reconditioning your mind to new possibilities and releasing your previous ways of thinking. Once you do that, change can lead to beautiful outcomes.
Tips for Traveling Alone
When I travel alone, I find I have a lot of time to spend with myself which means I have a lot of time to really get to know who I am. While you’re discovering who you are, take notice of your thoughts and feelings. When fear creeps into my mind, I think of the worse case scenarios I could encounter during my travels which leads to negative feelings and emotions which leads to more fear. It turns into a vicious cycle. When I change my mind to focus on the possibility and the opportunities that lie ahead, I can start to break the cycle of self doubt and fear. This has been the number one thing that’s helped me go into new experiences with excitement about the opportunities ahead. A great way to break the habit of living in thoughts and emotions of the past is through meditation. Take note of the thoughts and feelings that unconsciously drive you and change them to thoughts that will serve you and your new experience. Doing this, I’ve been able to better enjoy the experiences my new ways of thinking can help me create. This is a constant practice but it is one that has done the most good when I’m doing something unknown and uncomfortable in my life. Stay present, take note of your thoughts and embrace the change!
Plan! When traveling to new places, I love having things to look forward to. I try to fill my time with things that bring me joy and I make sure to try new things that I wouldn’t do in Colorado as well. I like to try new things that are specific to the areas I am traveling to (e.g. fishing in Alaska, four wheeling and hiking slot canyons in Utah, and embracing local cultures and activities wherever I am). When I have things to look forward to, I feel more excited and enjoy my time traveling much more. I’m also able to take full advantage of the new experience by not missing out on anything I wanted to do through planning.
Meet new people! One of my favorite things to do when I travel is meet new people. The stories you hear and things you learn through meeting new people opens your heart to new ideas and ways of living. I figure you can learn something from everyone as no one has had the same journey and experiences. Some ways I meet people can be through joining fitness studios, talking to people on hiking trails, joining a meet up group, or connecting with friends of friends. Local folks have the best suggestions for things to do and doing as the locals do will make your experience that much greater! I still keep in touch with friends I’ve met in the places I’ve traveled and I cherish the relationships I’ve been lucky to build.
Bring something from home that brings you comfort. With all the unknown of the new experience, sometimes it’s nice to bring with you something that is familiar. Everywhere I travel I bring my pillow. I’ve had the same pillow for as long as I can remember and it is the one constant I like to have when I am going to a new place for an extended period of time. Every night when I lay my head down, my pillow brings me a sense of comfort in new places and helps me have gratitude for where I’ve came from and where I’m headed.
Tips for Hiking Alone
Ditch the headphones. When hiking alone I make sure I’m aware of my surroundings for safety and to embrace the full experience. Nature turns out to be my favorite sound! I love allowing the experience of a hike to fill all my senses and my heightened awareness when hiking alone forces me to be extra present.
Alert friends and family of your hiking plans. I send my friends and family a link to the AllTrails of the hike I am doing and let them know when I am hitting the trail and when they should hear from me upon my return. I also will share my location with my friends and family and my Garmin watch allows for real time location tracking on hikes as well. Safety is my top priority when I’m hiking alone and telling people where I’ll be helps to ensure this.
Pack the essentials. I wrote a blog post about what I bring in my backpack for a day hike which includes, snacks, water, a first aid kit, etc. Make sure you have everything you need to take care of yourself on the trail and modify as necessary depending on the length of the hike you are doing. I always think it’s better to be over prepared than under when out on the trail!
Be smart and be brave. Listen to your gut and don’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back from having beautiful, new experiences in this life and on the trails. Look ahead, not behind and feel yourself growing more confident which each new experience you have by yourself!
Through this I’ve learned that most of the time change is a good thing. It’s truly the only way we can grow! So, take the trip, do the hike, make the change, embrace what scares you and enjoy spending time getting to know YOU through these new, solo experiences. I know you’ll learn a lot of new things along the way.
Until the next tale… Happy trails.
One thought on “8 TIPS FOR TRAVELING & HIKING ALONE”
Wonderful read! Does my heart good to see that my beautiful daughter is living life on your terms and seeking your happiness as you travel on your journey. It also appears that you have embarked down the path of self actualization, not just existing day to day. Good for you! Love you, Dad!