Lately a lot of my posts [here + on IG] have been about telling the story of what’s happening in my life. This isn’t unusual, this is exactly why I still have these platforms live…my life stories. However, lately the stories have felt very ‘informational’ rather than the ’emotional’ stories this all started with. I’ve been shifting from random tangents to more helpful-to-you content. While I have zero regrets there I still really enjoy the more feelings based side of writing. So here goes more feelings, less travel guide writing…enjoy. If you’re more about the nitty gritty details of trips, don’t fret, that’ll be next!
I headed to Canada two weeks ago…simply because I could. I happened to have five full days off work + there were cheap flights [direct from Denver to Calgary for only $145 with WestJet!]. This would be my first solo trip since the winter season started. Sure, that’s only five months or so, but in that time I have gotten comfortably used to having someone else around.
It turns out I enjoy having someone to share things with. It is also really nice to have someone else to consult for ideas or the final veto or…anything along the way! When you’re flying solo [ha, punny!] you get to make all of the decisions on your own. It’s liberating + empowering. It’s also a lot of responsibility. If you end up eating at a crap cafe you have no one else to blame. If you get lost it is all on your personal navigation skills. If you drop your tripod onto a frozen river there is no one to rescue you during your own rescue attempt [RIP tripod, sorry Mother Nature!].
You know what else you get to do when you’re out there adventuring on your own!?
Whatever you damn well please.
There is no one trying to convince you to sleep in or stay up. You get to make impulse decisions on where you let the car take you, what trails you hit up + whether you blow money at a restaurant or just snack your way through the grocery store. It is absolutely glorious. As much as I love traveling with Robb [+ everyone else I’ve drug along on adventures] there is something absolutely wonderful about being out there on your own.
My time in the Canadian Rockies was completely solo — all of my human interaction came from random encounters on the trails + service transactions. This probably made me overly chatty with strangers, but no one pushed me down the mountain side so I at least quieted down long enough for them to run away!
While I was out running around on my own I had a moment of clarity. It wasn’t even anything new — just a re-iteration of what I already knew.
Trails make me happy.
They give me hope, they show me life is possible, they force me to find perspective.
They’re just dirty [or snowy] strips of earth winding around the wilderness, but they’re incredibly powerful to me. I’ve always said if I have to die, I want to do it outside surrounded by the world that makes my heart skip + my toes tingle. I want to die happy + trails make me happy.
Trails also make me want to live.
There are a lot of things in life that make the idea of living completely overwhelming. For me, it is not the earning money or finding a career that stresses me out…that’s just another basic necessity in life. What really gets to me is figuring out how to find a long-term happiness, while being me. In my version of the world, happiness is required. It’s a subjective feeling + sometimes it doesn’t pop up like you’d expect it to.
For me, things that I think should make me happy don’t always make me happy…except the trails. Even when everything else is falling apart around me + even as I’m struggling to define what happy means to me some time roaming the outdoors will give life purpose again.
Every time. Even when I don’t know I need it. Which is exactly why I need to get out on the trails more often…brain time, away from distractions + without the ability to research or document anything. On the trails I’m required to be in the moment. For me, that moment isn’t necessarily the wonders of the wilderness around me. Often times that ‘in the moment’ bliss is off in some daydream about life’s possibilities. Or my moment is eight thousand miles around the world as I plot out adventures with just creativity + no help from Google.
That is what the trails offer me. When I’m home, surrounded by the comforts + responsibilities of life I don’t always get out onto the trails as often as I’d like. It is these solo adventures that remind me how important they are to me. Especially in the winter, when the trails are hidden in excuses to stay wrapped in the warmth of a cozy couch. This is why solo travel is important to me — it forces me to spend time in my own brain, alone.
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