Why I love hiking solo: on the benefits and liberating values of hiking alone as a 40+ yo woman
Do you daydream about leaving behind your dusty cubicle, noisy office or smelly rush hour street? Do you crave to feel rough path under your feet, sweat on your lip and wind in your hair? Do you want to hear birds sing and tree branches whisper in the breeze? Do you fantasize about hours of solitude with no humans to break your stream of thoughts? Are you worried that it’s too late, that you are too old, too weak or too… for that?
Are you afraid hiking solo as a woman is too dangerous, weird or socially unacceptable?
I understand you, as that’s me, too. But I’ve decided I’m tired of just dreaming and fantasizing, of worrying and giving up on dreams. I decided it was time to hit the trail. It’s been all a wonderful learning process – about the trails, gear, health and food, photography and geography… but most of all – about myself: my weaknesses and strengths.
Blogging about hiking solo
I’ve created this blog for like-minded folks: who love mountains and beautiful vistas, who crave being one-on-one with nature and own weaknesses and strengths, who try to discover for themselves long-known trails and find completely new ones. It is written to inspire women out there who dream of escaping their cubicles, offices and classrooms – to put a backpack on their shoulders and boots on their feet. It is made to motivate women 35+ to go and discover solo hiking – because it is not just for the kids!
Find the tomboy in you and make her happy again.
I invite you to go along with me – I will share what I encounter, what I learn and how I change along the trails. I will help you prepare and pack for you next hike, share with you what gear I use and if it works. I will show you photography I take and share experience I have with variety of techniques or gear. And because I’m also on a gluten-free diet with multiple allergies – I will be happy to give tips and ideas about fulfilling special diet needs while hiking.
Why hiking in the first place?
My Mom was a scoutmaster, so I basically grew up at scout camps… all summer breaks we spent out there – in tents, running wild in woods, learning to read maps and nature. I was a born tomboy – climbing trees, running covered in mud, playing with sticks and stones, bringing tadpoles and lizards home. It was the best possible childhood for me.
Growing up in foothills of the Beskids mountain range, we had just one hour by local bus to the green tops. My first solo trek was when I was around 19… and it was one of the last hikes for many years.
I went off to university, studying, working… sometimes I had a chance to go off for a hike, especially when I studied in Israel, but not often enough and never solo. In a way I decided that being out there in the nature was a thing from childhood, not something that a grown up, responsible woman should think about or have time for. I internalized the society’s fears and warnings for women to never go alone – be it on the streets after sunset or in nature.
This is my life and I plan on hiking trough it!
I’m a teacher in a big city – I’m surrounded by noise almost all the time. There is always something going on, someone to talk to, and someone to listen to. But I’m an introvert, I crave solitude and serenity.
For far too long I pushed my need to be alone with the nature off and away. Then, last summer, I decided to go solo hiking in Scotland. And this changed everything. For a few weeks I was truly happy. Tired and a bit sore – but happy, relaxed and at peace. I have decided that I need to do it more often – to save my sanity and simply feel great about myself and my achievements.
In February I reached a milestone: I’m forty years old now. For my birthday I got myself tickets to Barcelona, to hike the GR 5 trail. I already plan my summer (Sweden? Ireland? Canada? Scotland again?) and collect ideas for hikes to come.
I’m passionate about photography, hiking and all that’s connected with it. I also love sci-fi and fantasy books, tech gadgets and general geeky stuff. I care deeply about issues of social justice and feminism. Sociology, history, anthropology fascinate me.
I’m a woman, a teacher, a photographer, an introverted nerd and a hiker. A quadragenarian who loves nature and finding own strength.
I invite you to join me – in the sisterhood of solo hiking ladies: of Women Afoot.
Why do YOU hike alone? Or maybe you are not sure, yet? Let me know!