Seven Crucial Questions for All Who Dream of Hiking Solo!

Do you toy with the thought of going hiking just by yourself, all alone?

I hike solo. When I started, there wasn't much thought process put into it, to me it was obvious it's the style for me. I'm a loner, an introvert struggling with social anxiety, and I find being alone very rewarding. It helps with my anxiety, brings relaxation and simple happiness. Hiking solo gives me also a great boost to my confidence and pride of own accomplishments.

A lot of people find trekking solo as equally rewarding – although it’s different for each person. But even extroverts find the experience worth the effort. In our times, when we are surrounded by people almost all the time, it is good to be one-on-one with Nature and listen only to the sounds of wind, birds, and waterfalls every once in a while, am I right?

Read More
Hiking Solo in Ireland: Sli Gaeltacht Mhuscrai - Ballyvourney - Gougane Barra - Kealkill

From Ballyvourney to Kealkill - stunningly beautiful hiking trail in Cork, Ireland. This is the second part of hiking the Sli Gaeltacht Mhuscrai. You can find the first part - from Millstreet to Ballyvourney right here. By the time I arrived in Ballyvourney, I’ve already hiked the Avondhu (Blackwater) Way, so I had already eight days of hiking under my belt. My body needed a rest day, but there wasn’t really a good place for me to stop. I couldn’t afford to stay two nights in a hotel just to rest, and I also couldn’t stay two nights in one spot wild camping. I found this part of Cork lacking in campsites, so I just had to keep walking till the one in Eagle’s Point. A long walk but the stay in that beautiful area was well worth it!

Read More
Hiking & Camping Gear Beyond the Bare Necessities.

I find that in my hiking life I stay in the awkward space between the need and want to strip down my gear, go ultralight, fly lightweight through the mountains, and the inability to get rid of stuff. 

It's been easier to exchange the bulkier and heavier items for ultralight (and ultraexpensive) equivalents. But to get entirely rid of some things seems impossible. Not only that, I am not even sure I want to. 

I want to share with you what are the things I can't stop myself from packing, that are not necessities. I divided them into groups: practical non-necessities, comfort-enhancers, and pure luxuries. I would love to hear from you how you stand in the battle between going lightweight and wanting your comforts. Let me know below!

Read More
Hiking Solo in Ireland: Sli Gaeltacht Mhuscrai Trail from Millstreet to Ballyvourney

Sli Gaeltacht Mhuscrai trail can be walked over 3-4 days by experienced hikers, I did it in five days. The official description says it's 50 km long, but according to my ViewRanger, it's more than 70 km. I will get into details of my take on this trail in a moment, but let me preamble it right here by saying it is a beautiful trail that I can highly recommend. It's filled with fantastic views, challenging walking, and is steeped in culture. There is really only one small downside to it - right at the very end, which I hope will be remedied soon, to make the trail genuinely excellent. 

Read More
Gear Updates: All the Must-Haves, Upgrades, and Dreamy Wishes for the Next Season.

The dust is settling on the summer of 2019 adventures, and it's time to review my gear. Some of it, thank goodness, is still great and will serve me well for another season or two. Some are at its last breath, and some needs replacing or upgrading. It's also time when I build my dream list of gear for the 2020 seasons of hiking and camping. A few pieces are must-buys, while some are in the category of "would be awesome to have." So, let me share with you what's on my list.

Read More
Read Before You Buy: KEEN Targhee III Hiking Boots for Women Review

Finding well-fitting boots is crucial for the success of one's hike. No one wants to cut short an adventure because of blisters and discomfort.

In January I bought KEEN Targhee III boots for my Portugal hiking trip in February. I'd read multiple positive reviews and was happy with the budget-friendly price tag. Over the past fifteen years or so, I've had at least a dozen different KEEN shoes and sandals. I like the toe protection and wide toe boxes, and I think they look cute. At the moment I have three different pairs of shoes from KEEN - two pairs of sandals and one hiking shoe. There is rarely anything negative I have to say about KEEN products, so this might the first.

Read More
Hiking Solo in Ireland: Blackwater | Avondhu Way from Clogheen to Mallow

The Avondhu/Blackwater Way. The whole trail takes one from Clogheen to Bweeng (awesome name, kept saying "bling" in my head) in 94 km. From Bweeng one can naturally continue on the Duhallow Way (Avondhu together with Duhallow make the Blackwater Way) through Millstreet to Shrone. The combined trails are 168 km and are also part of the European E8 long-distance trail.

Ireland was such an excellent choice for my big summer trip. I was happy to escape the heat waves plaguing continental Europe. The rugged landscapes of far west coastal walks filled my heart with bliss and the memory card with hundreds of photos (OK, fine, five thousand to be exact). I enjoyed hiking solo on mostly deserted trails, wild camping in a few places, and talking to the very positive locals. As I mostly walk during my trips, I can't see much at once. From the big Irish island, I only saw West Cork and some bits of southern Kerry. I hope to see more another time.

Read More
Baby Steps to Hiking My Own Hike. What's so Hard?

I’m sure we all have teachings we fully agree with in theory but have troubles with implementing them in real life, right?

The Hike Your Own Hike saying is pretty standard in the hiking world. We kind of all agree with it, but it seems I have a problem to internalize it and walk the talk.

Struggling to hike my own hike

When we add to it the tendency of some people (like myself) to harshly judge oneself in comparison to others, the infamous impostor syndrome many people (women especially) suffer from, we see why it’s so hard to really, truly, hike our own hike and let others hike their own hike.

I talk and write a lot about self-acceptance not because I’m such a brilliant champion of that but precisely because I struggle with it and need a constant reminder that I should accept my self (my body) just the way it is.

Read More
Early Spring Hiking & Camping Solo in Southern Europe: Your Complete Packing List

Is hiking in one of the countries of southern Europe on your mind? Early Spring is a fantastic time to do it! Escape the colds and snow of northern Europe and hit the Portuguese, Spanish or Cretan trails in February or March! The weather can be tricky though - with this packing list you will be prepared and safe :)

Whenever it gets uncomfortably cold around, I try to make my escape into the warmer regions of Europe. Over the past years, I’ve solo hiked (and camped) in southern Spain (Catalonia), on the Greek island of Crete, and in southern Portugal (Algarve). Instead of complaining about dreadful freezing air or melting snowpocalypse, I could enjoy an early spring not that far away from home.

Read More
Solo in Portugal on the Via Algarviana Trail: Marmelete - Bensafrim - Cabo de São Vicente

In February I embarked on a three-week-long hike across Portugal. 300 km on the Via Algarviana trail took me through some remarkable landscapes and tested my body's abilities and mind's strength.

In this article, I invite you to read about the section from Marmelete, through the narrow streets of Barão de São João, all the way to the farthest point in Europe: the Lighthouse of Cabo de São Vicente.

The last days of my Via Algarviana adventure took me through some mighty rains, but also beautiful views. I left the big mountains behind me and could experience changing landscapes as I neared the Ocean.

Read More