Solo Travel: Finding Confidence in Great Basin National Park

…and we’re back! Last week I went on my very first solo camping trip in the US! Great Basin National Park is less than a four hour drive from home (Salt Lake City), and I needed a little getaway in Nature to clear my head so I can start this next chapter off right. I’ve camped alone in Europe, but it’s always been near the edge of a town or city, and the campgrounds are more developed than you typically find in our national parks. This camping was rougher than I’ve EVER done alone… 

Fear Factor

I spent plenty of time looking at the map beforehand so I was well aware that this particular park is pretty far removed. There’s the tiny town of Baker, Nevada at the entrance, but the next place with any services is at least an hour away. I’ve camped more times than I can count with other people, but my nervousness was next level going by myself.

great basin national park view

Gorgeous view from my campsite

I arrived fully equipped with our single-burner stove for cooking, a ridiculous amount of food (you know, just in case I get stranded for a month…), a full bottle of wine, and a handful of beers. I mean, priorities, right? At least I wouldn’t starve!  

camp cooking

Wine in a coffee mug and homemade chili on a tiny stove. It seemed like I’d just conquered the world… 

Fun fact: when you look at the weather for the park, it gives you temperatures for the highest elevation campground so I was fully prepared with extra layers and blankets for nearly freezing nights. Turns out the evenings were mild and, since it’s a dark sky park, I saw an unfathomable tapestry of stars and the Milky Way stripe across the sky on the first night, before the clouds rolled in. It’s nice to feel so small! It takes a bit of the pressure off. 🙂

great basin national park lake image

Nature always makes me feel so small and I love it!

As is tradition, my brain ran through the thousand and one things that could go wrong. A murderous madman kidnapping me in the night or burning down the entire forest because I’ve never built a campfire on my own before were just two of the many disastrous possibilities that could be in my future… Shockingly (only not at all), none of these actually happened and I had a great time exploring and relaxing!

Finding Your Badassery

One of my favorite things about all solo travel, whether camping or staying in a nice hotel, is that you always discover a little bit more about what you’re truly made of. There’s always going to be some problem to solve and finding a solution makes you feel like superwoman! For me, it was how to chop the damn kindling for the fire without taking my leg off at the same time. I figured it out and totally had this Tom Hanks moment from Castaway… 

Maybe for you it’s navigating yourself around a new city or finding the courage to eat dinner alone. Whatever your personal reservations are, solo travel will push you to overcome them. And guess what? It feels fucking amazing when you do!

While making my coffee on the last morning on the little single-burner camp stove and packing up to head home, I felt a sense of real accomplishment. I survived two nights in the woods without needing rescue! It gave me the confidence I needed to come home knowing I can kick ass when the going gets tough and find my way through the challenges I know are waiting.

Bringing the Lessons Home

There’s been a lot of uncertainty as I transition to being fully self-employed. Because I’m creating and sharing something so close to my heart, it’s extra scary! Having these couple days with the dirt and trees reminded me that everything, from hiking the Bristlecone Pine Trail to building that first fire, is done a single step at a time. One foot in front of the other will get you where you want to go, as long as you’re compass is pointed in the right direction. Once you get started, you typically find it’s not nearly as hard as you thought. 

Take that trip you’ve been dreaming about but have been scared to do alone. Go for that dream job you feel totally unqualified for. You’re so much stronger than you think you are! Don’t take my word for it though, find out for yourself. <3 

Now get out there, the world is waiting for you!

Your Turn

What activities or accomplishments leave you feeling ready to take on the world? If you’ve never traveled alone, do you feel ready to give it a try? Where would you go?