I just landed in Portland Maine where I was supposed to spend the next 5 days with a dear friend before my boyfriend flies in for another few days. Unfortunately, last week my friend called to tell me about a death in the family and that she would be attending the funeral during the first few days of our trip. This will leave me alone for a few days in Maine.
Outward Bound Sailing Course
It was about 20 years ago that I first visited Maine, and I was also traveling alone for the first time. I was 14 and my parents had signed me up for an Outward Bound sailing course. I remember how nervous I was to travel alone, catch a shuttle from the airport by myself and meet all new people. I had to decision make for myself and the experience really helped my build some much needed confidence.
During an Outward Bound experience there is a pert of the trip call a Solo. Basically, I was alone on my section of island for 36 hours with minimal food, a tarp, sleeping bag, a a few pieces of paper for writing. I had never been alone with my thoughts in that way before. When I really had no distraction from my thoughts and nothing to do but think, it was amazing the new places my mind went. I had time to think about, not just missing the people I loved, but specifically what I loved about them and why they mattered so much to me.
Don't get me wrong, being alone with no distractions for 36 hours was not at all comfortable. I was bored and lonely and ready to be done, and yet... It was one of the best things I have ever done.
Since then I have spent chunks of time alone. Everything from solo day hikes to solo travel, to a week alone in the Alaskan Arctic. While these experiences can be type 1 fun (its easy, great while you do it and you remember it fondly) more often it is type 2 fun (challenging and wondering when it will be over, but being so glad I did it).
As I made my way to my hotel in Maine, I realized that I have not gotten time alone like this in over a year. It's an easy thing to miss when my life is full of wonderful people, adventures, work and goal reaching. I didn't even realize how much I have come to treasure and even how much I need this time alone to just be myself until I am got a taste of it again. I think that adventuring alone is a huge part of my self care and something I will be looking forward to more frequently moving forward.