Scene from the movie Wild
“I’m going to a movie tonight.”
“Alone, but why?”
“Because I want to see this movie, and I like seeing movies alone. I don’t have to listen to someone else stuffing their face with popcorn.”
I’m always mystified when my friends don’t understand my need to do things alone. I like to wander the city alone. I like to watch movies alone. I like to do things alone, and it really doesn’t mean I’m lonely.
I saw Wild yesterday. It’s story about a young woman, Cheryl Strayed, who treks 1,100 miles up the Pacific Coast Trail, alone. I read the book last year and couldn’t put it down. In many ways, she was like me. Pretty, but kind of gritty. Careless and kind of wanton. Intelligent, but smarting from life’s lessons.
Cheryl is a real woman, and it’s her memoir of the tormenting grief she endured after abruptly losing her mother to cancer, cheating on her husband by having sex with any man that asked for it (and then divorcing him), bingeing on heroine, and then one day picking up a hiker’s guide to the Pacific Coast Trail.
This young woman went out there alone to face herself. It’s the age-old theme of self-discovery. Of overcoming adversity. Of accepting that life hands you a real fucking raw deal sometimes, and you have to find the strength to move past it. Not everyone does.
Anyway…..like Cheryl Strayed, sometimes I go out on my own to camp in the wild. It’s so freeing to be in nature, all alone. I highly, highly recommend it. Here are some pictures from some of my past trips.
While wild camping is totally legal in Scotland, I stayed at this a low-impact campground near Inverkeithing. No showers, and only composting toilets. The owners were absolutely lovely people – Jehova’s witnesses who talked to me about God when I went down the hill to fill my water. They didn’t push me with their beliefs, and I welcomed their warm words of love and spirit. Sometimes it’s great to just open up and listen.
Inverkeithing, Scotland, the local town nearby that I would walk to for a pint. I ended up meeting the guy with the hat on, who showed me around the town. That old guy had a glass eye, I recall. I think he’d taken it out at that point.
A snail I spotted in Devon, England.
The Ledges, Iowa. I biked four hours with my camping gear and camped alone for four days. Four beautiful days I’ll never forget.
The Ledges, Iowa. Mud birds. I watched them for a couple hours for a few days in a row. Occasionally one of them will forget where he lives and will attempt to enter another person’s home. Eventually, he finds his own.
I woke up early one morning for a walk and found a baby dear bleating for his mother. Then, out of the woods to the South, his mother came bounding toward me. She stood there and looked at me, and then the baby began following her back into the woods.
A fire I built somewhere…not sure where, but I know I poked at it for hours. Because that’s what you do with fires.
A view I took in for days straight, just being. Doing absolutely nothing but watching the bees do their work in the flowers.