In Defense of Solitude

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Whenever I tell someone about my recent solo camping trip I usually get a response back in regards to how gutsy or courageous I am and how they could never do something like that on their own.

But they could. Traveling alone can be scary for a lot of people but it’s also a healthy and important part of getting to know yourself. Two years ago if you’d told me that I’d be living in another state and going camping by myself on the reg, I never would have believed you. Luckily, somewhere along the way I realized I needed to experience new things.

And so,

I’d like to empower you to do the same. 

It doesn't necessarily have to be a solo camping expedition or anything like that. Tailor it to your experiences. The idea is to step outside of your comfort zone, and I’ll give you a few reasons why:

//Widen your horizons

When you spend so much time in any one given location, you start falling into a routine and a certain sense of comfort. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, eventually you stop growing. Going somewhere new can and oftentimes is a life-altering event. You see new places and inadvertently learn new things.

// Take your time

As much as I love traveling with friends and family, sometimes you just gotta go it alone. As a photographer and avid nature enthusiast, I like to take my time to enjoy the sights, read the signs, learn something new. Sometimes people tend to have a schedule of their own or are in a rush to reach a certain destination. That’s just fine, but I like to stop and smell the roses, as they say, and the best method is sometimes to go it alone.

//  Be independent

I know for me personally one of the greatest comforts of home was that no matter the situation or what problem I had, someone had a solution. That's just fine and dandy, but eventually you have to figure out how to solve problems on your own. When there's no one else around and you're facing a difficult situation, you can surprise yourself in the best way to find you're more than capable than you previously imagined.

// Meet new people

When you don't have anyone else beside you, you're much more inclined to strike up a conversation with a kind stranger. You'd be surprised the sorts of conversations and connections that can arise from a simple "Hello!" and a friendly smile. 

// Find yourself

If there's no one else to listen to or distract you, you eventually have to listen to yourself. Traveling alone is a great way to become better acquainted with yourself.

Nearly a year ago I drove up along the California coast and the Pacific Coast Highway by myself, and that was the most rejuvenating experience of my life. If the wilderness and long road trips aren’t exactly your cup of tea, you can always try visiting a new part of a city or a new coffee shop.  

Whatever the experience, you never know what you'll encounter. That's the exciting part! 

So tell me, where will you go?

Thunderstorm Campouts and Summer Colds

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I always try to look on the bright side and keep a positive outlook in every aspect of my life. Yeah, it's nice to be jolly but sometimes if things are rough you need to indulge and wallow, just for a little bit. Everyone can't be happy all of the time, right?

Last week was tough for me for some reason. I don't know if I've just been holding my composure for long enough that finally it just cracked or if last week was really just that much more difficult. For whatever reason I needed to just say enough.

So on my day off, I packed up my camping gear in my car without any real destination and ended up at Trillium Lake and Mt. Hood National Forest. It was a fairly hot day in Portland and it was incredibly nice to run away into the mountains to escape the heat. It was overcast and chilly, just how I like it. I walked the perimeter of Trillium Lake, breathing in the brisk air and instantly feeling at peace.

Afterwards I drove around until I found a campsite and set up my tent. It rained all night and thunder reverberated through my bones for a few hours until it finally settled into the constant downpour. I read beneath the light of my headlamp until sleep finally took over. 

Maybe camping out in a thunderstorm wasn't my best idea as now I have a summer cold and everyone's going around calling me 'Sniffles,' but I knew I needed to get away and do what helps me get centered best: be out in nature. A little cold seems a small price to pay for the experience.


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