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02/15/2015 08:35AM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
This video came across my facebook and it's alicia Keys talking about the importance of spending time by yourself, for yourself. It's pretty cool.
Alicia Keys

I also have free time these days and was going over some videos I made of a 2011 solo where I shot some campsites. The first day I was on Shade Lake in the Q and I give a rushed tour of the site and I can tell I'm still in "Suburban, city" mode. Then I flashed forward 8 days to a video of a morning on Robinson Lake. The difference to me of how I sound is pretty profound. I didn't realize it when it was happening but over the 8 day period I changed. And that change is what has me wanting to do more and more solos.

I think most people who never go or wouldn't even consider going solo don't understand why we do it. I assume most people think it's an anti social thing or wanting to "get away from it all" trip. What most people don't realize is that it's an inside job. I'm going solo to discover who I am. It's the truest way to find out what you really are. Alicia Keys nails it in her video.


 
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Alan Gage
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02/15/2015 09:06AM  
Going solo is no big deal for me, it's how I do pretty much everything. Although I do like being around people I'm not always good at interacting with them. So I tend to do things solo, it's easier that way. I'd be just as much, if not more, apprehensive about an upcoming group trip as some people are about a solo.

Alan
 
02/15/2015 09:38AM  
quote Alan Gage: " I'd be just as much, if not more, apprehensive about an upcoming group trip as some people are about a solo.
Alan"


I agree. I have a trip planned with 3 others in august but they have cancelled on me in the past. I was thinking almost that I'd be just as happy if they cancelled again because then I'd get to do another solo. It's a win win for me this year.
 
gkimball
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02/15/2015 09:41AM  
I have become a solo canoeist through a combination of preference and necessity. I need to be in the Boundary Waters to see, feel and sense what it is. It connects me to the present moment and what I see as the divine better than anything else.

Over the years canoeing companions have come and gone for various reasons, so to get my 'fix' I must now do some solo trips. I still do trips with companions, but I have become more selective about who to go with. I am always happy to be there with my kids (now grown) as there is a closeness that allows us to genuinely share the moment, even though they bring different levels of enthusiasm than I. I have found some other companions to be a real hindrance to achieving a state of mind I desire, so when the chance comes I let our trips cease and focus on the pleasant memories, without it becoming an issue between us.

I like being with companions who are truly happy to be there, because that is how I want to be when I am there. I find those trips actually more rewarding than going solo, but I would rather be solo than be with someone who isn't happy to be there or who doesn't leave their negativity at home.
 
02/16/2015 02:40AM  
I love to canoe with my kids and I love to canoe with friends too. But as a nurse, mother, and wife, I spend most of my time away from the BWCA taking care of other people's needs.

That is why I have turned towards solo trips. I don't have to think about anyone else's needs. I do what I like when I like. I love not having to compromise or second guess anything. I get up when I feel like it, I paddle as long and as hard as I like, I eat what I like, and I read as much as I can!

I would go every weekend if I could.
 
Longpaddler
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02/16/2015 08:54AM  
When I trip w/ others, I always am concerned if they are having a good time, warm enough, dry enough, hydrating, etc etc. Tripping alone takes all that responsibility off my back and lets me do what makes ME happy....fish when I want, eat what I want, sleep as long or as little as I want, stay up late around a campfire w/ my best friend Jack Daniels, well, you get the idea.
 
02/16/2015 10:22AM  
The only time I miss company is when the sun is going down. It's still ok but having someone there in camp at that time of day would be better. There's just something about that time of day.



This pic wasn't enhanced in any way. Just one of those rare red sunsets. I remember how still it was and a long line of canadian geese flew over the lake into the sun. It was hardly a "V" pattern so I decided to count them as they went past. It was somewhere around 136 geese. Lots of loud honking too. These are moments when I wish I had someone with to share the experience.

This was Finger Lake in the BW late Sept. 2012. What is weird is that Nctry from this board was on a solo then (40 day) and was camped on the other side of the island I was on and we didn't know it. We could have hung out that night if only we had known.
 
02/16/2015 10:30AM  
Kind of mix feelings. But solo's are pretty neat. I don't enjoy big groups, but one or two others is fun to me. But solo I'd go if that's all there was. I hate planning a trip you could easily do solo and have other participants change it up on you... and that after explaining and them agreeing what you have planned is what they want to do.
 
02/16/2015 10:36AM  
Ben, I just edited my post above yours.
 
02/16/2015 04:18PM  
To get away from routine, Plus it's a lot harder to find friends and family who want to ruff it when there in there 40's, 50's and older.

For me I kind a live for it, the planning, the advancer with traveling further, the working out before the trip, map and satellite studying, just everything that goes with it, and for moments like this.
 
02/16/2015 04:26PM  
I enjoy the quiet and being able to go wherever my desire takes me. I like to go as fast or slow as I want, are as far as I want.
A group bigger than 2 is plenty for me...four is my limit
 
02/16/2015 04:55PM  
Going solo is not just a canoe trip into the wilderness, it is an attitude. Alicia does hit it on the head, Egypt was a beginning of an awareness of what true alone time and introspection have to offer. For some of us it was that first solo into BWCA and we are blessed for such an introduction. The need for solitude and introspection is especially true for folks who have driven lives and must not be relegated to the week I get away up north, but to be a part of every day in some way.
 
MacCamper
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02/18/2015 02:21PM  
In my youth, the BWCA played a very important role in the very essence of my life as my parents had a place on the north shore; a jump zone to and from the land of lakes. It was used extensively by my friends and me.

In my previous career I worked on average 65 hours a week from April 1st through early November. It was choice as I drove myself hard to be the very best in my profession within the service industry. I succeeded at many levels, but in the process I missed out on a lot of experiences including time for myself, opportunities with my family and friendships as well. There wasn't even time for a hobby. My moments "up north" were very, very limited.

Employment for me has flipped seasons and now I apply myself hard from November 1st until early May, so much for semi-retirement. Summers are again my own and in rediscovering the BWCA, I am brought back to my youth and the pure joy of adventure and incredible rewards of camping. Besides soul searching intimate moments, I take great pride in the accomplishments of canoe trekking alone. It is as much an ego trip as anything else. I am completely responsible for my actions and reactions to whatever I may encounter from spying on a pair of dancing loons to a long portage in the rain, under my canoe, with water occasionally running down to my armpits.

For too long I was responsible for too many people with too little help and expectations sky high. That seems to be how group camping still is for me. It is all about everyone else and being sure they are having a great experience, often at my own expense. It isn't that I don't like people, nor do I dislike the accomplishments surrounding troop treks. I just prefer to go alone and treasure the chance to be with the most important person in my life...me. I suppose that sounds selfish..oh well.

I return home refreshed and a much better husband, father and administrator. My wife loves that I have a hobby and my anticipation for new adventures is somewhat addicting.

Thats why I go, to come back a better person.

 
02/19/2015 11:18AM  
I have read this thread with interest and everyone has touched on some aspect of why I go solo - necessity, preference, ease, freedom, quiet, introspection, and connection with the present moment and myself.

Although I had always done many things alone while growing up, I did my first BW solo as much from necessity as preference. After that first solo trip I found the complications of trying to arrange a trip with others - getting agreement, getting commitment, having discussions, making compromises, making arrangements, etc. - to be frustrating and time-consuming. Sometimes it felt like it was no longer my trip they were coming on, but their trip I was going on (right on, nctry!). And I was doing all the planning! I eventually decided to just plan my trip, tell them what I was doing and when I was doing it, and to let me know by X date if they'd like to join me on that trip. It's hard to find people who want to do the kind of trip I want to do, and even harder to arrange it.

On that first solo, I also discovered some of the other joys of solo travel - the freedom from responsibility for others, the lack of distractions, the ability to connect with the environment and the present moment, the quiet and time for introspection, the freedom to do "whatever, whenever, wherever" without discussion, compromise, or second guessing. I also discovered some of the difficulties of solo tripping, but quickly determined to deal with them.

All of these things are just threads that are woven together to make it possible for me to "discover (or re-discover) who I am". In many ways I return to a me from long ago before jobs, career, family, responsibilities, and distractions.

 
02/19/2015 01:15PM  
quote boonie: " In many ways I return to a me from long ago before jobs, career, family, responsibilities, and distractions.

"


It's awesome you say this Boonie. Ive never really thought about it like that but just think back to say ...age 17. We had no career, no family responsibilities, nothing to worry about except ourselves. (I know there can be some exceptions)

When I'm on a solo I tend to never think about my "job". As soon as I leave my driveway for Ely any thought of "job" never enters my consciousness. I was like that at 17. It's a feeling of true freedom that's impossible to have unless you are solo. It's a shame most people can't get over their fears and take a solo trip.



 
02/19/2015 07:37PM  
I used to joke that as soon as my 3 daughters-born over a 32 month span (insert joke here)-all hit puberty that I was going to buy a solo canoe. Well, that actually happened, but it really had nothing to do with my girls. I am blessed with three wonderful daughters, but I digress.

I found a good deal on a solo, bought it and went on my first solo. The first night was somewhat stressful, but I awoke loving the idea that I could literally do whatever I wanted to without concerning myself with the concerns of others.

I really like the freedom of being able to decide, at any given moment, what direction the trip will take without having to wonder if all in my group are onboard. The freedom of a solo trip is indelible and intoxicating, and I must say that I look forward to my solo trips each year much more so than I do my group trips!
 
02/19/2015 08:56PM  
It didn't really strike me that way Tom until I read through to MacCamper's post, then it struck me how when I was younger growing up in a rural small town setting, I would often be off by myself in the woods or on the water doing something that no one else was interested in at the time.

Remember this thread too? This made me think of that one.
 
hobbydog
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02/19/2015 09:25PM  
quote boonie: "

All of these things are just threads that are woven together to make it possible for me to "discover (or re-discover) who I am". In many ways I return to a me from long ago before jobs, career, family, responsibilities, and distractions.

"


Very well said. I can't add much to what has been said other than I think all people would benefit from some type of solo trip. Like in this video, it doesn't have to be to the wilderness. A cross country road trip with no specific itinerary would be good for those that can't do it in a canoe.

 
kanoes
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02/19/2015 09:35PM  
 
02/19/2015 09:45PM  
Thankfully it's not that rough!

butthead
 
02/19/2015 09:50PM  
Kanoes you made me laugh.

And how we sometimes feel when we go with a group

 
builditbetter22
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02/20/2015 11:15AM  
I go solo for my sanity. At least once a year, I have to get away from everybody for a few days to recharge myself. I enjoy going in small groups as well, but at least once a year I need to go it alone.
 
lars54
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02/20/2015 04:00PM  
I live for the nights that I have
the whole lake to myself.
 
lindylair
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02/20/2015 07:21PM  
Been kicking the solo idea around in my head for awhile now an haven't pulled the trigger yet. Despite hundreds of nights in the woods/wilderness I know myself and that I would have the common first day/night or two of apprehension and then slide into a comfort zone as many of you have. Injury/illness of some kind is probably my number one concern despite being an extremely cautious and sensible camper and never having such an issue over 35-40 trips.

Over the last several years all my trips have included my best buddy who I have known and hung out with for 42 years. Some of them have been just the two of us and some have included a couple others (his kids). We generally have no trouble agreeing on an entry point and a vague sense of a route but pretty much play it by ear when we get there. On occasion we have different ideas of what we want to do but have always agreed amicably. If he wants to try something(and vice versa) I hadn't planned on that's alright and making him happy makes me happy too. Usually something cool happens and my trip is enriched as well. We have been through everything imaginable over the years and it is never a problem with the trip becoming something I don't want it to be.

We have talked pretty seriously about doing a parallel solo, entering from different spots and meeting up for a night or two and continuing on our separate ways. That seems to be an ideal situation and may end up how I start my soloing experience.

The thing about it is when I go with him I feel like I am sacrificing nothing in terms of my experience and can still drift off into my own world anytime I feel the need. The only impact of it not being a solo is a positive one when I have someone to share the incredible northern nights, a sighting of three timber wolves in the bay off the campsite, the discovery off a huge raspberry patch in its prime, or a nice big walleye in the canoe.

I consider myself lucky. I know soloing would still be different as the challenge of total self dependence is part of it. Giving it some more thought.
 
WhiteWolf
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02/20/2015 09:05PM  
quote bhouse46: "Going solo is not just a canoe trip into the wilderness, it is an attitude. Alicia does hit it on the head, Egypt was a beginning of an awareness of what true alone time and introspection have to offer. For some of us it was that first solo into BWCA and we are blessed for such an introduction. The need for solitude and introspection is especially true for folks who have driven lives and must not be relegated to the week I get away up north, but to be a part of every day in some way. "

+1

It's about trusting yourself. As weird as it sounds-- sometimes we need to test the trust we have in ourselves.
 
02/20/2015 09:09PM  
Well LL, you are lucky. And your idea of putting in two different places and meeting in the middle is a great idea. I've enjoyed both solo and sharing a trip with one or two people. There is good points either way. Solo tripping is very rewarding... Unless you can't cook. :)
 
02/20/2015 09:58PM  
hobbydog-

I've a bit of a road trip to get there and back and sometimes expand the road trip back to see another thing or two. I find it's good too. I've often thought I'd enjoy a week at the beach by myself.

It's amazing the number of people who really won't go anywhere or do anything alone.
 
02/20/2015 10:02PM  
quote lars54: "I live for the nights that I have
the whole lake to myself."


Me too, I love that! Sometimes I'll stay at a mediocre or even crappy site on a small lake just because it's the only site on the lake.

And I love it when I go days without seeing anyone else.
 
02/22/2015 06:35AM  
quote boonie: It's amazing the number of people who really won't go anywhere or do anything alone." I have a lot of friends like this, they will cancel what they are doing if they have to go solo.
 
02/22/2015 06:39AM  
quote boonie: "quote lars54: "I live for the nights that I have
the whole lake to myself."



Me too, I love that! Sometimes I'll stay at a mediocre or even crappy site on a small lake just because it's the only site on the lake.


And I love it when I go days without seeing anyone else. "
The less people I see the better the trip, I have meet a few board members on my trips, that was cool.
 
02/22/2015 12:30PM  

quote Alan Gage: "Going solo is no big deal for me, it's how I do pretty much everything. Although I do like being around people I'm not always good at interacting with them. So I tend to do things solo, it's easier that way. I'd be just as much, if not more, apprehensive about an upcoming group trip as some people are about a solo.

Alan"


You nailed it Alan! Your reply is something I could have written word for word.

That said, I do enjoy tripping with family and friends too. But as Alicia Keys mentions in her video, being concerned about the well being of others in your company distracts from your surroundings, as it should. I know that comes off as sounding selfish, although it wasn't intended to be, it's just the fact of the matter.

Although I've mentioned this before in other similar posts, it bears repeating. On a solo trip, I can appreciate the wilderness and solitude much more than in a group.

That is, although I've been a part of group trips where we've seen no one else during the duration of the trip, conversations with other group members, or just the man-made sounds around camp distract from the solitude. Whereas when I'm solo, I can experience solitude in its purest form.

I think doing both group trips and solo trips allows you to appreciate the differences and the benefits of each.

Hans Solo
 
02/22/2015 07:12PM  
Without the requirement to communicate and be cordial with another paddler I think it frees up mental capacity to think deeply and observe fully.

Then there is the whole changing clothes out in the open without worrying about giggles from the Peanut Gallery.
 
wvevans
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02/22/2015 11:27PM  
My reason isn't near as philosophical as some here but rather embarrassingly simple as to taking my first solo this year. The bwca is my favorite place to visit and fishing is my favorite activity to do and I never can find anyone that wants to go with so I'm just going to go by myself.
 
02/23/2015 07:08AM  
quote wvevans: "My reason isn't near as philosophical as some here but rather embarrassingly simple as to taking my first solo this year. The bwca is my favorite place to visit and fishing is my favorite activity to do and I never can find anyone that wants to go with so I'm just going to go by myself."

Yeah, I took my first BW solo out of necessity after years of being unable to arrange a trip with someone else. You may discover other reasons to do your second one ;). Have a good one.
 
02/23/2015 07:47AM  
quote boonie: "quote wvevans: "My reason isn't near as philosophical as some here but rather embarrassingly simple as to taking my first solo this year. The bwca is my favorite place to visit and fishing is my favorite activity to do and I never can find anyone that wants to go with so I'm just going to go by myself."


Yeah, I took my first BW solo out of necessity after years of being unable to arrange a trip with someone else. You may discover other reasons to do your second one ;). Have a good one. "


That's exactly how I got into soloing back in 1984. I asked a lot of my friends and couldn't get any commitments so I just said "Eff it, I'll go by myself". People close to me at the time were very afraid for me. "What about bears? What if you hurt yourself?" I'm glad I didn't listen to them and back down from it.

One of my better moments as a youngin' of 24 was deciding that I could do something like that. People seriously thought I was nuts and couldn't figure out WHY I would want to take a "vacation" by myself.





 
02/23/2015 09:19AM  
"People seriously thought I was nuts and couldn't figure out WHY I would want to take a "vacation" by myself."

Apparently I find myself more entertaining than others find me :)
 
IceColdGold
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02/23/2015 12:26PM  
I laugh at myself all the time :-)
 
02/23/2015 02:08PM  
quote TomT: "quote boonie: "quote wvevans: "My reason isn't near as philosophical as some here but rather embarrassingly simple as to taking my first solo this year. The bwca is my favorite place to visit and fishing is my favorite activity to do and I never can find anyone that wants to go with so I'm just going to go by myself."



Yeah, I took my first BW solo out of necessity after years of being unable to arrange a trip with someone else. You may discover other reasons to do your second one ;). Have a good one. "



That's exactly how I got into soloing back in 1984. I asked a lot of my friends and couldn't get any commitments so I just said "Eff it, I'll go by myself". People close to me at the time were very afraid for me. "What about bears? What if you hurt yourself?" I'm glad I didn't listen to them and back down from it.


One of my better moments as a youngin' of 24 was deciding that I could do something like that. People seriously thought I was nuts and couldn't figure out WHY I would want to take a "vacation" by myself.






"


My motivation for solo-ing is the same. I started in my 20s backpacking into the Appalachians when noone else could be enticed to join my trips. Canoeing by myself has just been a natural extension of that practice -- but I much prefer when I can join a group or when I'm out with my family on our trips!
 
builditbetter22
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02/23/2015 07:38PM  
quote IceColdGold: "I laugh at myself all the time :-)"

I as well find myself very amusing on my solos
 
02/24/2015 11:58AM  
quote builditbetter22: "quote IceColdGold: "I laugh at myself all the time :-)"


I as well find myself very amusing on my solos"


I will talk to myself out loud a bit. Just things I'm thinking like "Oh, todays gonna be a nice day!" Or "I'll think I'll fish that east bay after breakfast..."

When I brought my dog it wasn't really a solo because of all the bantering going on. :)

 
02/24/2015 12:03PM  
quote TomT: " One of my better moments as a youngin' of 24 was deciding that I could do something like that. People seriously thought I was nuts and couldn't figure out WHY I would want to take a "vacation" by myself.
"


I want to clarify that when I grew up we fished out of boats at a resort in Wisconsin. That's how my family and all of my friends families did it. There were no canoes amongst us. The term "Boundary Waters" was unfamiliar to all in my circle. Wilderness canoeing was like walking on the moon as far as my family was concerned. They went to resorts and fished out of boats.

I just happened to have a much higher sense of adventure. So to do a BW trip with my girlfriend in '83 was pretty odd and out of the box. To do it solo the next year - I am pretty sure my family was legitimately concerned for my mental health. This was 1984 a full 10 years before the internet. Doing things solo back then was more "odd" than trendy.

1984 first solo pic.


2000 solo Robinson Lake in the Q.


Do you guys have pics from your early solos?

 
bwcasolo
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03/09/2015 07:29PM  
quote butthead: "Thankfully it's not that rough!


butthead"

lol, that's FUNNY.
 
Jeriatric
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03/09/2015 11:49PM  
When we get older, we usually find that we have to do more things alone. Some of us even find that we like it that way. I am one of those people.
I like being able to stick to a schedule or depart from that schedule on a whim. I found that I liked taking side trips on my way back across the country after a BW trip. With a group, you can bet that someone is going to be in a hurry to get home.
Alone in the BW, I can fish when I want, eat when I want, travel when I want and nap when I want.
Sadly, my wife is beginning to worry too much about those 4,000 mile round-trips driving alone, not to mention the 7 to 8 days canoeing alone.
 
OldGoat
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03/10/2015 07:11AM  
quote Jeriatric: "When we get older, we usually find that we have to do more things alone. Some of us even find that we like it that way. I am one of those people.
I like being able to stick to a schedule or depart from that schedule on a whim. I found that I liked taking side trips on my way back across the country after a BW trip. With a group, you can bet that someone is going to be in a hurry to get home.
Alone in the BW, I can fish when I want, eat when I want, travel when I want and nap when I want.
Sadly, my wife is beginning to worry too much about those 4,000 mile round-trips driving alone, not to mention the 7 to 8 days canoeing alone."


I agree about the flexibility that comes with solo tripping. I had hoped that when I retired I could get more trips in, only to find that now my wife is convinced I am too old to be out there alone. Haven't figured out how to deal with that yet.

Fortunately this year I have 3 trips scheduled with groups of 3 or 4, so I can put the fight off for another year.

Goat
 
OldGoat
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03/10/2015 07:11AM  

-- Mouse problem -- double post --
 
03/10/2015 08:03AM  
quote Jeriatric: "When we get older, we usually find that we have to do more things alone. Some of us even find that we like it that way. I am one of those people.
I like being able to stick to a schedule or depart from that schedule on a whim. I found that I liked taking side trips on my way back across the country after a BW trip. With a group, you can bet that someone is going to be in a hurry to get home.
Alone in the BW, I can fish when I want, eat when I want, travel when I want and nap when I want.
Sadly, my wife is beginning to worry too much about those 4,000 mile round-trips driving alone, not to mention the 7 to 8 days canoeing alone."


You nailed that, Jerry. I like the road trip part of my adventure too and like taking side trips. The last time my brother went with me, we came out the day before planned (actually just a half day) due to weather forecast. Then he was in a hurry to get back so he could work at home. Why spend an extra day on the road, an extra night in a motel? Eventually ended up changing reservations and driving straight on for 14-15 hours. I couldn't make him understand that it was part of my vacation, that I didn't want to cut it short, that I didn't want to hurry home to work, that in fact, I went on vacation to get away from that. It wasn't a very relaxing way to end a vacation.

I hope my wife doesn't start to worry that much about it because I hope to do some longer ones when I retire.
 
03/10/2015 08:35AM  
Because I can, and I enjoy it!
All the reasons needed.


butthead
 
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