06 Oct 2022

Connecting with Self on Solo Adventures

Solo adventures are a wonderful way of reconnecting with self, reflecting on what is meaningful, and resetting your future direction. 

They do not have to be remote adventures in exotic locations, or hiking along trails for weeks at a time. They can also be more accessible micro adventures closer to home. 

Recently I set off on a solo return adventure between Nelson and Wellington. The fastest and easiest way to get there is a half hour direct flight. Instead, I drove from Nelson to Picton then boarded the Cook Strait ferry to Wellington, taking advantage of a credit after an event cancellation due to Covid. 

The drive from Nelson to Picton normally takes two hours. Frequent stoppages for road repair work, after recent flooding and slips, extended the journey to two and a half hours. Then the ferry sailing from Picton was delayed by two hours, due to a late departure from Wellington. 

Other ferry passengers took the delays in their stride, whether travelling solo, with family or friends, or long-haul drivers accustomed to dealing with stoppages, delays and changing timetables. 

On the ferry crossing, there was plenty of time for reading and reflection.  

This was the first time for Steve to be on his own after a stroke eighteen months ago, and with a bad cold making him feel miserable. I was confident he could manage on his own, and this proved to be the case.

Sometimes we have to give ourselves permission to prioritise our self-care. I needed a break away, and Steve understood that.

Being a fulltime care partner brings rewards, yet it can be tedious and self-limiting, if we let it. Every situation is different, so you have to figure out what works for you, without worrying too much about what others think.

I enjoy road trips and ferry crossings. They create space in our busy lives, to connect with different people and places, and to be grateful for the people and things we sometimes take for granted.

We need time to reconnect with our authentic self, doing what makes our lives enjoyable, enriching and rewarding. The time away was an opportunity to reflect on what is meaningful, what has changed, and to reset my approach to the world around me.

How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. 

It is liberating to let go of stuff that no longer serves a purpose, to focus on what is important. This is still a work in progress!

Being active outdoors in all kinds of weather brings me joy - beach walks, cycle rides and snorkelling or kayaking in the sea, when it warms up. Watching early morning swimmers diving into the ocean on a chilly day does not entice me to do the same!

Staying active boosts my energy levels to keep writing, and working on other projects, on a daily basis.  

Watching the WOW (World of WearableArt) Awards Show in Wellington reignited my interest in creativity and overcoming my inner critic. I want to have fun as a beginner trying new things: experimenting with different designs, discovering new recipes, listening to different kinds of music and dabbling in poetry. 

The short break away was beneficial, putting things in perspective, with precious time to reflect and reset my course direction.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. – Oscar Wilde.

Questions for reflection: 

- What activity do you enjoy doing alone, or with others?

- Who in your life are you most grateful for?

- How have you changed in the past year?

- What form of self-expression are you too self-conscious to explore?

Adapted from my book – Going AWOL – Inspiration and Insights from Adventurous Women on the Loose.


Mary Somervell

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