Sian Richardson

Now Or Never: Thoughts on Solo Travel + A Rockies Adventure 

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When it comes to solo travel, I guess I’m still relatively new to the game with only a few years and a couple of big adventures under my belt. But from the adventures I’ve had, I know that it’s something more of us need to experience.

Being solo throws you off-balance a bit…

You don’t have anyone to watch your bags or your stuff while you quickly run to the washroom… There’s no one to wait in line while you grab a good seat at a cafe/restaurant… There’s no one with you guaranteed to have your back if you drive down a back road and get stuck/lost… And yeah, there are times where you do feel lonely.

But then there’s the other side — where you get to do whatever you want, whenever you want. You’re on your own time. You’re running your own game… and you meet people along the way.

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

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I embarked on my first lone wolf adventure when I was 20, moving out of my parents home in New Zealand and jumping the ditch to Sydney, Australia. Then, In September last year, I made the move up to Canada, only knowing one or two people there before I moved.

To me it’s always been a simple decision to go out and do stuff, regardless of whether I have people to do it with or not.

It has little to do with choosing to being brave (something a lot of people associate with solo travellers), and everything to do with wanting something more than you are afraid of it.

I had a few months left on my Canadian adventure before heading back down to my homeland of New Zealand, so I was scheming a few different trips I wanted to do before I left, and before the Autumn/Winter storms started rolling in. The Canadian Rockies had always been high on my list, and although I’d been to Banff once before, and Revelstoke a few times, I’d never done the proper Rockies Roadie, including driving the legendary Icefields Parkway — the road connecting Jasper and Banff.

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In the beginning I was keen to make this adventure a shared one — so I asked around a few of my friends to see if anyone was keen, but it turned out they were all busy/away/doing other stuff… I figured I should probably take my own advice and do it anyway — as a lone wolf.

So that I did.

I drove, and drove, and drove (over 2,300km in 6 days)…
I star-gazed…
I mountain-gazed…
I walked on a Glacier that’s receding at a rate of 5-8metres per year, knowing that it might not see another generation (this experience blew my mind, and forever changed me)…
I got stuck in stand-still traffic + road-works, for hours (leaving me more time to just sit, and gaze at the sheer insanity of the mountains)…
I drank ceasers…
I explored deserted ski fields…
I met people from around the globe…

I saw and experienced things that are now a part of me, and I’m forever grateful for that.

So friends, I’m encouraging you — go do stuff, regardless of whether you have people to go with or not. And hey, it doesn’t have to be a big, grand adventure… It could be as simple as rocking a solo movie session (one of my fave things to do).

So go, book the ticket. Book the flight. Lock in the road trip.

Get out there.

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1 Comment

Comments

  1. Jane Leibowitz on September 18, 2015 at 1:37 am

    Bravo, Sian, for doing what you do and inspiring (me, for one) along the way. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’.

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