Nothing feels better than that first day out on the trail; you’ve left the city behind and all that comes with it – the crowds, the lights, the noises, and the hustle and bustle. You are free to forget about work; the deadlines, the emails and the 9 to 5 routine. There’s no room for any of that in the bush, you are too distracted by the beauty of where you are and the need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It is an amazing feeling to know that for the next few days you don’t need an alarm clock or a schedule – all you need to think about is getting from one campsite to the next. That is the beauty of a self-guided walk – it opens you up to live life completely on your own terms.
Something I love to do when I go bushwalking on my own is take my watch off and leave it behind. Why do I need a clock anyway? I can eat when I’m hungry, sleep when I’m tired and wake up to the sun. I take pleasure in the fact that I don’t need to set an alarm. I always try to position my tent so that I am facing the sunrise because there’s no better way to wake up.
A self-guided hike gives you freedom. Freedom to walk at your own pace, stop when you want or keep walking as long as you want. You can spend 15 minutes getting that perfect photo of a beautiful wild flower, or just sit, look and contemplate. There’ll be no one telling you it’s time to leave, or to hurry up because you are running late. No one telling you to stop and rest when you don’t need to.
Don’t worry though; you won’t be the only one out there doing it on your own. You will meet other people who are also enjoying the perks of a self-guided walk. While you may not walk with them during the day, they will all be waiting for everyone to arrive safely at camp – it becomes a lovely little community of people looking out for each other, sharing some tea, or some chocolate and lending a hand if something breaks. By the end of the week you will have formed friendships with other hikers – who knows, you may have found a new hiking buddy for future adventures!
There may be moments where you second guess yourself on the trail, where you think…. Maybe I can’t do this. You may wish you had bought that other pair of boots, or an extra layer of warmth…. Or that flask of port. By the end of the walk you will have had to motivate yourself and say to yourself… hang on, I can do this! Knowing that you have made it relying on no one other than yourself awards you with such a great sense of achievement you will be planning your next self-guided adventure on the way back home!