My 2 cents on traveling and adventuring solo as a female

Grit (Amy's Blog)Amy Hatch
South Fork Bench Trail Snake River Adventure Travel Solo Female

At right around 9 am on Sunday, I bumped along a dirt road in middle-of-nowhere Idaho. Potato fields spread out all around me and blue skies promised a warm spring day.

Deep road ruts made me question my Subaru’s clearance and my driving prowess, especially because I was alone, and barely in cell reception. I shifted down to first gear, punched the gas pedal and powered through a mud puddle and up a hill, my tires clinging precariously to dirt not yet washed away.

I’m no newbie when it comes to adventuring solo as a female.

I’ve made my way through South and Central America by myself, making new friends as I went. More than one local asked me incredulously over and over again “sola?”

I drove 3,000 miles from Alaska to Wyoming, just me and my dog, in the middle of November. I’ll never forget the night I slept in my car on a random side road in the Yukon when temps dropped to 30 below.

Adventuring Solo Female Amy Hatch

Adventuring Solo Female Amy Hatch

And, like last Sunday, when I spent four hours on the South Fork Bench trail that parallels the Snake River, I’ve run countless trail miles alone.

Yes, I love the camaraderie of shared experiences in the mountains with others, and no, I’m not on a mission to cause my parents fitful sleep.

But I do believe that the experience of “being out there” alone is unique and worthwhile. Here’s why:

It empowers me to make decisions and trust my judgment. Knowing that I have only myself to lean on, I’m more intentional about everything I do, whether the way I place my foot on the trail or the gear I pack. I plan for contingencies and take what I need to spend the night, if it were to come to that – headlamp, lighter, space blanket, extra food, extra clothes, etc. Also, I usually take my cell phone and make sure that someone knows my itinerary.

Adventuring Solo Female Amy Hatch

I notice details and the landscape around me in a heightened way. Chris Jensen, who’s on the team here at Garage Grown Gear, just stopped into the office. Chris has been a fly fishing guide for decades and knows every intimate detail of the Snake River. We got to talking about certain bends and rock formations in the river, and I knew exactly what he was talking about, because of the way I took in what was around me on Sunday.

South Fork Bench Trail Snake River

I open my heart to new people and new experiences. A handful of years back, when I was in Argentina by myself, I decided I wanted to climb a glaciated volcano named Lanin. So I got on a bus headed toward the region. On the bus I met a group of local climbers planning to summit the mountain. After a few hours of talking with them, they invited me to join their group. We had a great experience, the summit was breathtaking, and I continue to stay in touch with a few of them to this day. The chances of that happening would have been a lot less likely if I was traveling with someone else.

Adventuring Solo Female Amy Hatch

I won’t pretend going out alone is always the safest choice. I’ve definitely seen in a very personal way the dark side of it. There are certain activities, like packrafting, I simply do not feel comfortable attempting alone. And, no doubt, I’ve become more tempered in my solo endeavors now that I’m a mom.

But I also believe that spending time listening to our own breath and observing our own thoughts can renew and transform. Each of us has a different risk threshold and comfort level, and the beauty of it is that we each get to decide that for ourselves.

Adventuring Solo Female Amy Hatch

What are your thoughts on this? Please share with a (respectful) comment below.

After writing this article, I spent some time cruising around online to find out how others have weighed in on this conversation. Here are a few articles I recommend.

Grit (amy's blog)

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