A few weeks ago I finally did something I've been wanting to do for several years.
There will be some who think I'm stupid for doing it. And some who will wonder what the big deal is and why it took me so long.
I went camping alone.
Well, of course Frankie was with me, but that doesn't really count.
For those who fall into the first category and think I'm stupid and want to know why in this crazy world I'd even think about camping alone, it's simple.
Bad shit can happen to you at home, crossing the street, at work. Anywhere. You prepare as best you can and then go about living your life. I don't want this sort of fear to stop me from exploring the great outdoors or traveling in general.
Because so what if you don't have someone to explore with all the time? Or don't want to wait for when it's a good time for someone else to go? Or aren't in a relationship at the moment? Or what if you have people to go with but just want to get away for some alone time? Are you just supposed to sit at home?
For me, the answer is a big, fat hell no.
I'm not gonna sit around and daydream of going places once I have someone to go with. Or settle for staying in hotel rooms instead of under a blanket of stars. I'm just gonna go if I wanna. It's a place I've found myself in before and already have written about once before.
At this point in my life, I'm comfortable doing all sorts of stuff just me, myself, and I, and sometimes Frankie. I hardly even think twice about most of it. I know pretty well what my limits are and how far I can push myself.
Hiking and roadtrips with the doggo? A movie matinee? Eating out? Sure, why not?
Longer trips without said doggo? Parties and networking? Camping? Eh, not so much.
What keeps me from doing certain things by myself naturally depends on the activity. When it comes to camping specifically, my active imagination plays a huge role in keeping me home or in a hotel/motel. Thinking about sinister people, hungry wild animals, breaking my arm, or whatever fantastical scenario that flashes through my head freaks me out safely tucked in bed, so how was I ever going to do it for real out there?
I read some articles specifically by women about women camping alone to try to ease my mind and find some pearls of wisdom. I tried to think about things rationally. I'm doing all sorts of other stuff alone. Why should camping be any different?
I think a big part of it starts in our culture. Being alone is something to be avoided. Something to be ashamed of. Humans are social animals after all and are better off with other people, right?
American society tells us there's something wrong with us when we are alone. Just think of all the stereotypes and tv/movie scenes about the sad-sack eating out by themselves or the crazy old man who lives by himself. Do I even need to mention spinsters and cat ladies?
I find all of this to be especially true for women who travel or go off to explore the great outdoors alone.
The general consensus is that it's not safe to go by yourself. It's risky and stupid. You could fall and break your leg or get your arm pinned under a boulder and have to saw it off with your pocketknife. Not to mention all the sexual predators out there just waiting to pounce on a single lady. All sorts of terrible, horrible things could happen and there would be no one to help.
Or at least that is what society tells us.
But I'm trying hard not to buy into that assumption anymore. And so a few weeks ago, I finally went on a 24-hour solo camping adventure.
And y'all know what? It wasn't scary. Like, at all. No terrible, horrible things happened.
Instead I felt a tremendous sense of pride and confidence in myself. That warm, fuzzy, I-can-do-that feeling when you face new challenges and conquer fears, and learn you are stronger than you thought. It was an excellent exercise in independence and self-discovery.
And I can't wait to go again sometime. Especially back to the beach. I'm sure there will be moments of fear and they all won't be as easy as this one, but just taking that first step was huge for me and what I'm capable of accomplishing.
I thought I'd shoot more while I was there, but I found myself content just sitting in the moment. Listening to the crash of the waves. Watching the birds. Taking deep breaths of humid, salty air.
And no camera between me and any of it.
This is just a little peek at my adventure. I'm also working on putting together a post with some solo camping tips and gear just in case I've inspired one of y'all to camp solo sometime. But seeing how I'm still not very good at this whole blogging thing, I can't make any promises.