There is something about being out in the middle of nowhere by yourself that is invigorating for me. Something about the sense of being alone. The dangers if something were to happen. Many people think it has to do with becoming one with nature. I however, think that it has more to do with being away from other people.
When was the last time you were alone? By choice that is… It is a funny realization that those who say they want to be alone are labeled as the “weird ones.” The internet, smartphones, social media, and craving for conformist socialization have made us so interconnected now that we are never alone anymore. To ask to be alone from anyone is the klaxon of some form of alien thought.
We never unplug because we feel the obligation to our friends, family, and whatever trends we are involved in. We keep waiting for the perfect time because there will never be a perfect time. Its easy to make a promise that we have no intention to fill. We never unplug because we never force ourselves to. When we do try, our attempts are half-assed and easily thwarted by the smallest amount of ridicule.
The last time I was alone was last July when I took a motorcycle trip from San Diego, CA up to Red Lodge, MT and back. Sea level to just shy of 11,000ft. A little over 2,600 miles round trip. Granted I stopped through my hometown for the fireworks show and visited some family along the way, but the majority of the days and nights were spent on my own.
I was alone in the sense that no one out on the roads knew me. The roads that I was riding on were fairly remote, only having the occasional driver pass through every couple of hours or so. I was never very far from some form of populated area, but I chose to avoid them. It was just me keeping myself company inside of my helmet.
Whenever I stopped, I never sought out interaction with other people. The occasional fast food employee, a couple of cashiers here, but I limited that as much as possible. It was nerve-racking at first, almost akin to going cold turkey being alone like that. The sensation is so different from what we are used to now that we do not know how to deal with it. I will confess that I was on the verge of a panic attack that first night. Eventually the sound of the rain pattering on my tent coaxed me to sleep. Every night and day after that remained as some of the most peaceful days that I have ever experienced.
The funny thing is that while I never sought out interaction with other people, it did not stop others from trying to do so with me. I am unsure if I exuded some form of nonverbal communication or just seemed that interesting of a person to come up and talk to. I was quite the eyesore going through the middle of Harley Davidson territory on my F800GSA, so maybe that was it. Even though others attempted to make small talk with me along my trip, it was never for very long. I was polite and courteous, but I showed my interest in being alone and wishing to continue on my ride. This aura that I exuded was strange to them and something that they did not fully comprehend.
While I am not condoning becoming a hermit, I personally believe that it is healthy for each and every one of us to get out and be alone for awhile by ourselves. Even from our family, kids, and spouses. Unless you are going out and doing something really daring (extreme sports anyone?) then the only danger to be had is that you will possess a better sense of who you are as an individual. Go be yourself.