Thoughts on Traveling Alone

*Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission at no extra cost for you. This post may also contain external links without affiliate associations.  Visit my Disclaimer Page for more information.*

Woodland Magic near San Antonio, TX

I'm writing this little missive from a tiny flat in Lubbock, Texas. I'm wearing the same washed navy blue wool dress from Wool& that I've been wearing for 62 days, Ivar is exploring while Lou is resting near me in his soft carrier, and Steve is reading or playing a game on his phone in the other room. We've just returned from a delightful little hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant called Choochai This Cuisine, and I am happily full and a little sleepy. This is my life, and I love it. It is nothing I ever dreamed of and everything I want.

But this part isn't what I want to write about today.  

I love traveling with Steve and the cat-os. It fills me up, and it's always an adventure.  And...

Traveling alone is something that my blood, soul, and spirit require, and I honestly think this is a trueism for all Women - even those that have never flown the coop.

The first time I went out on my own was in 2007. I was in crisis. My Mom had been in the hospital in a chemically induced coma for several weeks, I was frazzled, and my marriage was on the rocks. I knew I was either going to run or break. I'm not being dramatic. I was on the edge.

The truth is, I'm not the bravest person in the world. Let's get that out at the jump. So, trekking through the mountains on my own wasn't an option that entered my mind, and at the time, I couldn't afford to race away to Europe or anything fancy like that. I found a middle ground. I discovered a place called Anima deep in the Gila Mountains of New Mexico. The family that owned the land had a couple very small, primitive cabins, and they opened the doors to women who wanted to retreat alone in the wilderness. The family lived on the land, but the tiny cabin I would stay in was a mile from their home. It was perfect.  I could get out into nature, be on my own, and still know that somebody knew where I was.

I left my wedding ring in the car because I felt this journey required my nakedness - I needed to feel the aloneness. The trek into the cabin was like a walk into the land of the Fae. I had to cross 7 river crossings, and at each crossing, I felt myself shedding skin like Innana stepping out of her robes as she descended into the underworld. I spent a week on my own in that tiny cabin. I had nightmares, saw and heard things, endured the worst period cramps of my entire life, got sick, and got snowed in. It was life-changing.

After the journey, I ended up divorced, allowed myself to truly fall in love with a woman (who I am no longer with but still adore), and discovered the dirty, green-smelling truth of my wild nature.

After that, I went on a couple short jaunts on my own, but I didn't take another long trip until my 50th birthday when I traveled alone to Iceland in 2020. I'd gone once before with an old friend, and as my birthday approached, I knew that the land of fire and ice would be my next lone sojourn. I was looking for initiation into the next part of my life.

I went for two weeks. I didn't DO anything dramatic. I stayed in a hostel in Akureyri, a town up north. I walked, swam, soaked, and made art. Alone. I rarely talked to anyone, and one night I actually thought I was having a heart attack and would die in that tiny room on the top floor of a hostel near the Arctic Circle. I didn't die, but once was life-changing.

I came home and told Steve that I was going to work toward giving up my professional license and find a way to make money as an artist. 

Lone travel.

It is always a step into a liminal space for me. It is not really this and not really that. And there is always magic.

About a month ago, I knew it was time to go again. Just me. As a shamanic practitioner, I had things to deal with that required sun, trees, air, bugs, and dirt rather than the safe little nest of a house. These things also required my aloneness - my inner and outer silence. 

The Monday before I was supposed to go, I had a panic attack and ended up sitting with Steve at the ER for a few hours. My nerves spent the entire week feeling exposed and semi-charged. I almost decided not to go.

But.  I NEEDED it. So...

I jumped on HipCamp and found a spot not too far from town called Woodland Magic, threw our 2 self-inflating sleeping pads into the back of our Escape with some blankets, snagged our little single burner propane stove, a little food, my medicine bag, runes, soul stick, and art supplies, and off I went.

Our built-out Ford Escape with bed-platform and storage spaces

My nerves were still frayed the morning I went out, and they didn't actually unfray while I was away.  In fact, when I wasn't tossing and turning (while sleeping in that same wool dress!), I was having nightmares. Still...the trip was healing. I spent a lot of time just resting in the sun and the breeze, wandering short distances and whispering to rocks, and meditating.  Listening.  I did lots of listening,

It wasn't life-changing.

It was necessary. It was healing. It was restful. It was...good.

Tools, a vessel, and a slightly disheveled Fálki

Lone travel is something that I am convinced is important for the rewilding of women. It doesn't matter where we go (though I do believe that the dirt, sun, and air in the wilderness is a vitamin infusion for our animal selves) or even what we do. It is the aloneness that is important. The time between leaving our usual nests and the beings that we inhabit those places with and the time that we return to those places and beings is a liminal, magical, and transformative space. Our human minds slow down and meet our animal bodies. Our blood dances differently when we are alone, I think.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts