“What a beautiful bridge”
I Loveeeee Solo Travelling!!
It’s the sense of freedom you just don’t get with ‘Normal’ life. After all, we are all curious mammals.
These are some points often missed on travel blogs. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a complete life overhaul!
Despite the harsh reality of van-life, I wouldn't have it any other way. Living in a house had its troubles, Life on the road (for me) has more positives.
You may already have camping experience, but what can prepare you for being lost in the wilderness with no phone, searching for your tent. The atmosphere is creepy. The only light is from a dull shimmer reflecting down off the moon and you are all alone!!… It can be daunting.
Despite what the Internet is saying, solo camping or adventuring is far from easy. It brings out every survival instinct you have buried deep inside, It demonstrates a level of fear you may never of felt before, but it can be worth it.
Camping in a group is relatively safe, Not often are you bothered by people or animals alike, being in a group is also better for companionship. It may not seem so bad now but two days in and you will be craving some human contact.
It gets lonely!
Writing 80% of these blogs on the road, I can tell you how lonely it gets. Ever seen that Tom Hanks movie ‘Cast Away’ this is the most perfect example of what it feels like… I don’t talk to a makeshift ball with my blooded hand print on it but you get the idea. Typing these words is my only social connection at the best of times.
Mobile connections are good for moments when you feel lost within yourself.
Making your own decisions!
Brilliant right?? Yes of course, Hence the decision to pack up and solo tour but!! Let’s look a bit deeper into this… You are set up in a tent, zipped tight in the middle of nowhere. The night sky casts down pure blackness making it virtually impossible to see. You hear a group of people talking not far from your tent. You are all alone… What do you do??
Oh so decision making is not so fun anymore. I could give a thousand examples of times I have found myself making a quick decision to get myself out of a scary situation.
This doesn’t always just include danger or fear, this could also be the decision to travel without knowing an area, if you get stranded you have to make the decision to trek or stay seated. Living in a van makes this a lot less scary.
The whole idea of a good adventure is to explore, site see and generally be at one with your mind. If you adventure regularly the chances are you have been in a similar situations where you find yourself completely lost. I know I have!
Being in a group with one or more vehicles has its benefits, from jump starting your vehicle to generally helping to change a flat! But… putting this into perspective when all alone, what do you do? You must have a plan in mind for if this happens. Think about the following.
- If I leave my vehicle to get help, could I find my way back?
- Is it safe to ask random people for help?
- My World is in my vehicle and I can’t carry it with me
- I don’t know where I am, I should of planned ahead
- Why didn’t I tell my friends and family where I was!
- My phone battery is about to die and the car charge doesn’t work
- I wish I packed more food and water
- Get on your knees and change that flat (Because you packed a spare)
We have all heard ‘safety in numbers’ passed about over the years. It’s true! Especially with solo camping. People see vulnerability within people on their own, although this may not be the case, it’s impossible to shake the stigma. So safety can be more of an issue when alone, factor in measures to keep away from harms way.
When mentioning danger or harmful situations why do we always jump straight into think about humans being the problem. Safety when outdoors in the wild will also include the following.!
- Wildlife / Wild animals
- Potentially poisonous fruits / plant life
- Bacteria / infection
- Water / lakes / generally all bodies of water
- Human beings
- Hunger / dehydration
- Falling rocks / tree branches / fruit
- Steep cliffs / Hill edges or sink holes
Wildlife / Wild Animals
This does depend greatly on where you decide to travel. Nevertheless you must always keep in mind that you are entering a habitat that is not yours. Many dangers can occur around wild animals from venomous / poisonous, aggressive or startled beings. Keep your head in the game, do your research on wildlife species in the area you wish to stay. Don’t approach any animal you don’t truly understand, snakes being a big one here!! And never cause harm to the homes of the wildlife, no fires, littering, chemicals or unsealed foods.
Poisonous plant life
Generally speaking on a hot day most of us wear shorts. When walking through woodland I’d highly recommend long lengths to protect your legs from stings, bites, potentially harmful reactions. Believe it or not, many plant forms contain harmful chemicals that can effect humans. Some mild, some not so mild. Get educated on the potential danger and what to do if the worst happens. Even thought the UK is pretty safe from wildlife or dangerous plant life it is always good practice to check before hand.
Bacteria / infection
Our human bodies are surprisingly delicate, susceptible to many infections. Avoid the obvious, eating unknown berries, leaves and even bugs. If you take a dip in a stunning looking lake, don’t submerge your face to avoid the water entering your mouth or eyes. And when eating food make sure to thoroughly clean your hands. All food should be kept in a secure air tight bag or box.
Bodies of water
Depending on the type of water in question you must be aware of the following. Undercurrent, wild animals, bacteria, drowning, length and depth. This may sound over the top but how do you know if this water is safe? Checking the general online information on the area can answer many of these questions. Are crocodiles or alligator present in the area you are staying? If so… Don’t dip!! The Internet is wonderful for finding information on the length and depth of the water, this is important to find out about ‘struggle zones’ and with bacteria you can purchase cheap bacteria strips that instantly show you how clean the water is. Don’t take drowning too lightly, We all want to avoid it but it does happen so be careful, Check the edges of the water and make sure the ground isn’t gooey and swampy.
This one is really down to you, Approach with caution if you need to and be sociable if you want but keep your wits about you. Not everyone is as nice as you and me.
It can be impossible to judge someone’s intentions. By all means socialise but avoid the obvious signs of a nutcase. Some signs could be.
- Shifty behaviour
- Edgy, Nervous
- Strange invitation into camper or tent
- Asking personal questions
- Touching without consent
- offering strange things in return for time with them
Human kind is the most unpredictable species on the planet (One of the reasons I moved away) The sudden jump from lovely to creepy can be shocking. Keep yourself safe!
Hunger / dehydration
This goes without saying. Pack extra water just in case. You can never carry too many bottles of water, so stock up!
You can purchase cheap water purification tablets online to keep water clean and fresh.
Local shops are an absolute lifesaver when it comes to keeping your body hydrated, Try and stick to basic unflavoured water without sugar for better hydration.
Food can be a tricky one if you are a custom to home cooked meals. Depending greatly on if you have the appliances to cook. Most long term adventures use easy to store (long life) foods. Eating out is also a good option with meal tokens to save a few quid.
Hyperthermia is often overlooked as being believed to only effect people in the North or south Pole… I kid you not! But this is definitely 100% not the case. Night is cold when alone in the middle of nowhere! Freezing in fact! Dipping in that lake was lovely but once again cold!! With no access to a cup of tea to warm your cockles, your body will be chilly for hours.
Avoid this by making sure to limit your swim / dip time and thoroughly dry off once you’ve finished. Take a flask for the first day of your journey and have it refilled at every shop or services. Take under layer clothes to wear on top of your underpants and above your clothes. Wrap in blankets, hats, gloves and snuggle into a sleeping bag. Never keep wet clothes on… It rains! Of course it does its Britain! So remove all wet clothes and keep them somewhere to dry (if possible) being naked but wrapped in blankets is safer than being in wet clothes. Purchase hand warmers, these are brilliant when needed for some extra warmth.
You should already know what you are allergic to but make sure to remember this crucial information when out and about. I have a friend who camps all over the world with her boyfriend and she once forgot her allergy to mushroom when camping, not checking the area properly didn’t go in her favour. So with the same with bacteria, Avoid anything you can’t come into contact with.
This is no joke, I was once walking through some woodland with my backpack on, completely alone when something rock hard conked me on the head!! I went dizzy, my head was spinning… It wasn’t nice. Looking down it was a piece of tree branch. I had a headache for about 2 hours after that.
Even though it may not be impossible to know if something will fall on you, you can pay attention to areas that may be unsafe, like camping at the foot of a rocky cliff is really not a good idea. Or camping under a 6 billion year old tree leaning to one side. Nope! Take in your surroundings and be safe!
Adventures tend to hit the peak and look down… Its kind of the way we are! But be careful. Usually these hills, cliffs or even mountains are bloody high! Sensible footwear with plenty of grip springs to mind! Take that amazing photo but watch your step.
I once saw two guys trying to take an adrenaline selfie half hanging off the edge of a cliff, The one guy had rope around his waist and the other lent back over the edge with his selfie stick. It was funny to watch the chuckle brothers but…. the danger!! 🙈
Carrying all your worldly possessions is challenging when on the road. Purchase travel sized items can reduce the amount of clutter.
Substitute your large bulky items for more ‘easy to store’ products, Use everything as if the store no longer makes it and they’ll last a lot longer.
So in a nutshell, solo camping is cold, dangerous, lonely, boring at times, wet, smelly, anxiety riddled and brilliant for finding that peace you dream of. Despite these let downs the world is never fonder of the hobby, attracting more and more people to the idea of traveling alone. Despite all of this, it is brilliant!!, absolutely enjoyable and it tells one hell of a story!
With everything in life, there are some bad points with every good points. Its no different from finding struggles living in a house… Just different struggles!
Living in a home gives you the option to close off your blinds, Lock the doors and relax. In a van, car or tent doesn’t give you the same opportunity. With the world still moving around you it can be exhausting moving from one place to the next with nothing but your own mind to keep you entertained.
Driving is shattering at the best of times, You can find yourself covering some miles on the road. Always packing up, Moving to the next location without as much as a glance back in your rear view mirror.
With daily life, every used item has to be put away properly before travelling. Each plate, cup, drinking glass needs to be tied in place to avoid breakages during transit. The same goes for cutlery.
It can become an endless chore constantly re-packing. It does get easier… But never fun.
This will depend on how many miles you cover when travelling. Generally speaking you’ll see a whole bunch of different petrol stations on your journey. This task isn’t the most fun but is definitely needed. Without proper maintenance your vehicle will be no good.
The nights are dark… Like really dark!
This is one point I never considered when setting off on my first adventure. Without the natural lights emitted around you from street lamps you are literally in complete blackness!
Every torch or Led light seems brighter, Meaning you’d rather not use them in the dark as you can been seen by anyone who looks. It’s definitely one of the scariest things to overcome.
I’m a wuss, I have a night light with black out curtains 😅
Bugs And Spiders
If you are anything like me spiders are a HUGE no no!!
I personally go to the extreme to keep out any unwanted creepy crawly. Spraying peppermint oil EVERYWHERE!!!
But once again these things are to be expected in the wildness of travel. Fly’s on a summers day are a massive pain! And the ewwy spiders come in to eat them… Its an unwanted feast!
But mixing four drops of peppermint oil and one cup of water to a spray bottle does keep the pesky bugs out. And my van smells like a giant Polo 😍💕
Expect to hear all kinds of noises, From cute owl hoots to creepy wind blowing tree branches. Due to being so far away from civilisation the sounds appear more noticeable. And in the heart of darkness these noises (However innocent and normal) may be a little bit creepy.
I could ramble all day about the good and bad points of solo travel but I wouldn’t change it. The fun is in the adventure, Without the struggle it wouldn’t be as entertaining.
It does make for an easier more relaxing life and it never hurts to have a back up ‘safe house’ just in case you need some normalisation.
Thank you for reading another blog, I try and be as informative as possible to help as many people as I can 😍💕
If you want me to write about anything in particular, please get in touch ♥️