A few weeks ago I my took my first (probably of many) Solo Overnight Adventure. And I want to tell you why I think it is important and we should all be doing them, at least once a year.
First let me tell you about what I got up to. (if you wanna just watch the video instead I linked it below)
One of my favourite waves in the world, High Tension on the Gatineau river was at a great flow. So I loaded up and headed over there with a bunch of my friends. From where I now live, close to the Ottawa River, the Gatineau is about 2 hrs away. Just far enough to make it a long day trip. Some of my friends were planning to come back at the end of the day, others preparing to sleep in their vans at the put in, but I decided that a solo camping adventure could be a lot of fun. A chance to unplug, be alone with my thoughts without the constant distractions of my phone, social media and other peoples thoughts. After a sweet day of paddling everyone else headed out and I started fixing up my hammock in the trees overlooking the wave, lit a small, manageable fire and cooked up a delicious dinner (Peanut Tempeh Noodles with Blanched kale, sounds fancy but super easy and delicious). The paddle in wasn’t all that long so I was able to take a comfortable amount of food and even some beers which made the whole experience very relaxing. The next day I paddled with those who camped in their van, mostly notably fellow brits Nick Beavis and Mandy Chan who love this wave about as much as I do, or at least close to it. And then headed home, happier and more fulfilled than when I arrived.
And now some thoughts on why I think that it is important.
From my vantage point beside wave I watched a stunning sunset, read my book, and was able to reflect quietly on 2019 so far as well as 2019 future. I was able to walk around bare foot and feel the earth under my feet, not just the soft comfort of my shoes or the hard grey pavement but the grass and dirt between my toes. It feels great to do this once in a while and I really do think people are becoming to insulated from the world around them, too comfortable, too connected and every now and again you need to stop and take stock. Some people say there is energy in the earth that we are loosing connection with my not having your feet on the ground. I don’t know about all that, sounds a bit wishy washy to me but I know that I do not feel the ground under me enough. By feeling the ground under you, breathing fresh air, not reply to a million emails or a thousand comments or a hundred DM’s or seeing who is saying what on twitter. Just being outside. Focusing on the essentials. It feels like the world slows down. For me at least it helps remind me of where I am, where I have been and where I am going. Even writing that on the page seems flimsy and fake but once you are out there, alone, things really start to clear up. Ideas become stronger and more formed. Bad ideas suddenly seem bad more clearly. I honestly didn’t expect that this alone time, where I was completely undistracted, would have such an impact but I feel fortunate I can have these opportunities.
A few words of caution before you head out there.
-Plan ahead exactly where you will be going
-Let someone know where you are going and when you are coming back and have a plan for what to do if you don’t meet that check in time.
-Have some kind of communication device and a back up (I often carry an InReach device which some would say is total overkill, but F@%K those people)
-Have emergency contact info if you need help
-Be prepared for sudden weather changes and don’t get caught out just because you were an idiot and didn’t bring the right equipment. Just because the forecast says blue skies and good times doesn’t mean it will be!
Tell us about your adventures, tag us #dewerstone and let us know if some time alone is for you.
All the best,
See you on the River