I have just arrived back from a couple of days at the beach. Solo camping is something I have been finding myself doing more and more frequently over the past couple of years. I love the whole process; planning a trip and choosing a location, loading up my camper, setting out with a playlist full of podcasts for the journey, arriving, setting up and of course, exploring. It is a completely selfish exercise, laden with self-indulgence. Something purely for me. In my everyday life I cope with my fair share of stress while caring for my daughter. These solo camping windows of solitude are like beacons on my wellbeing radar. I navigate towards them whenever possible and take the time…no rather make the time for myself before it passes me by.
It is tempting to invite others, yet I always hold back.
It is my space alone and it feels sacred to me. This trip I got to pondering how solo holidaying is a little like dating yourself…
Picture all of the fun things you would do on dates with your love and then imagine doing all of those those things just for You.
How would this make you feel?
Spoiled? Indulged? Pampered? Loved? Nurtured? Safe?
Yes, for me it is all of these things. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing these things with my love but when she is on the other side of the world skipping town for a weekend date by the sea is not really an option. Should I not go? Should I put my life on pause until we are together again? Absolutely not. I consider my sojourns ‘research’ for places to enjoy when we are together. In the meantime, it really does feel like I am dating myself.
Which is an extremely good thing!
Why wouldn’t I want to hang out with myself? I am funny, kind, serious, thoughtful and practical. I have good company within myself. I can laugh at my own jokes, which makes me the perfect audience for myself!
Traveling alone, I sometimes get strange looks and a darting glance towards the space around me from passers by, looking for my ‘significant other’. Indeed, as I was beach strolling yesterday I think I saw about one person on their own for every ten or so couples.
There is so much to be said for traveling alone!
There is no one to rely on so you have to get things done, especially when things don’t go to plan. This inevitably makes you strong. Sometimes physically, but mostly mentally. You realise to a greater extent what you like and don’t like. What you will and will not spend time on. What experiences you hope to share with others and those which you prefer to keep primarily for you.
When camping alone I cook for myself. This rarely happens when I am at home alone. When traveling alone I will treat myself to things that I wouldn’t otherwise do in my regular routine – an extra long walk around dinnertime? Yes! Extended pondering whilst staring at the waves? You bet! Lingering over the paper and a chai for so much longer than usual? Absolutely!
‘Dating’ yourself is so much more than treating yourself. It is about feeding your soul with the things that align with who you are and what brings you pleasure. The act of recognising these things and consciously choosing to foster them is so high up on my self love scale that I feel giddy just thinking about it. We so often do things for others and neglect our own needs, yearnings or desires. Feeding your soul with self love is where wellbeing shifts for me from an overused word into something real, something of value and something that will propel us forward to be the very best versions of ourselves, for ourselves. Don’t we all deserve a bit of that?