I am not opposed to people, in fact, I quite like them. I love my friends and my family and I will admit that oftentimes I fantasize about what it may be like to run away with another human by my side. It would be lovely to find a partner to be my copilot, to set off on foot into the wild with, but I must admit that there is something very freeing about doing it alone.
Loneliness is hard for many people to grapple with. I am always amazed when people tell me, “I can’t believe you were brave enough to do that by yourself”. The thought of waiting around for a man to begin actually living seems ludicrous to me. This doesn’t mean that I don’t experience sadness (believe me I do) but rather that I have begun to understand that this is a unique season of life to cherish. This time of selfishness and spontaneity is fleeting. Being alone is scary, it forces you to think deeply in a way you can’t around others and while some of these thoughts are heavy, alone is when the best ideas happen. People are wonderful distractions. I love travelling with others, but those trips are much different then ventures taken by myself. The experience is different, alone I am fully enveloped by my surroundings and able to see in a way that around others I simply cannot. I make better photographs and have much more insightful things to say. Being alone in a crowd of people is just as empowering as being alone in the middle of a desolate wood; it becomes about you and the world around you. There is no pressure to be happy, have fun or do it all, you just have to be.
On my way back from Maine (somewhere in New Hampshire perhaps), I pulled over at a giant truck stop, walked into the food court and wrote poetry on a bench for a couple of hours. Noise that started out as sensory overload slowly drifted into the background. It was the first time of my first multi-state solo trip that I wasn’t scared, that I was comfortable enough with myself to relax, think and write. It wasn’t scenic and it smelled like french fries, yet it somehow managed to be just as peaceful as the trail through the woods to the ocean I found myself lost on just three days prior. It is the mindset of you and the world, becoming one with your surroundings. I love when I am presented with the opportunity for this kind of thinking. This is what brought me back to poetry, forced me to begin shooting again and realigned my goals. I am happiest when I am encompassed by my world, when I am wandering aimlessly down a trail through the woods singing songs and thinking thoughts. My feet in my boots on the dirt, backpack slung over my shoulders, no one else exists. I have no problems and it is so incredibly liberating.
I think it is important to learn how to be alone, to like yourself enough that you crave your own company. Loneliness doesn’t equate to sadness. Oftentimes the two go hand in hand, but there is so much more to being alone than just that. While alone you are free to feel, free to cry, to laugh, think the things you wouldn’t otherwise dare. There is nothing wrong with finding happiness in others, but at the end of the day, when you close your eyes at night, you have got to be happy with you, who you are and what you’ve done. Proudly I can state that at this point in my life (twenty-two, broke and single) I am.
Photographs taken just me and the Earth:
Find the rest of my travels and adventures at The Hive.