It's Thursday night and your phone beeps. A text comes in, and all of a sudden your epic weekend plan is in jeopardy because the friend who was supposed to go with you has bailed. You never really plan anything, and you always let your partner do that task. The questions that keep popping up in your mind are, "Now what? Should I keep going? Should I cancel?"
This scenario has probably happened once before, or maybe a few times depending on how reliable your friends are. It is easier to cancel the trip and wait for someone else to take charge, but it is also very rewarding to take the initiative to organize something or even go alone (gulp!).
Most of the fear about going alone into the wilderness comes from the unknown. When we don't know what we are getting into, our mind can start to make up awful and scary scenarios of what might go wrong. Good planning can help; by carefully thinking about and preparing for your trip, you can reduce your nervousness. But what if you are a beginner without much experience in the outdoors? There are couple things you can do to start out.
Planning a trip or going out alone can be a really fun thing to do. I remember my first solo trip a few years ago. I was nervous and second-guessing everything. Leaving the comfort of the trailhead and heading further into the wilderness was giving me this foreign feeling of excitement and concern. I looked back toward the car multiple times. Then slowly I started looking ahead and embracing what was around me while I kept checking my route. The little arrow on my watch confirmed that I was doing okay. I walked as fast or as slow as I wanted to do. I didn't feel like I was a burden or slowing anyone down. It was very liberating. When I got back to the car later that day, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. And the next solo trip was easier.
So the next time that text comes to your screen, maybe ask yourself, "Is it the time for me to venture out on my own?" You might find that you are more ready than you think.