One of my favorite equivalents of a smoke break is the A.V. Club.
Smart, funny, and entertaining writing about pop culture.
Before I became enamored with all things outdoors, I had a deep geek streak.
Star Trek re-runs were consumed on an old B&W television; I enjoyed the early form of anime’ known as Starblazers and inhaled lots of Isaac Asimov books. My day job is in no small part because of the many hours spent using my C= 64.
As such, I love the A.V. Club for their features on topics related to the above. And their writing about movies, television shows, music, literature and other topics is always fascinating.
I also enjoy the oddball websites the A.V. Club discusses.
And a recent website that was featured? The Instagram account @sadtopographies .
But as a solo outdoors person, I had to question the choice of Solitude Island as a sad place name.
Why is having solitude inherently sad?
It seems solitude having a negative connotation is very ingrained into our culture and society.
Going alone is considered irresponsible by many. People seek trip partners and will sacrifice their personal trip goals for the sake of going with a group. And more than one trip has been ruined due to personality conflicts.
A more appropriately named set of sad islands might be “Group Argument Island,” “Control Freak Trip Member Island” or “Person- who-lied-about-their-fitness-and-experience-level-and-is-slowing-down-the-group Island.”
It is amusing when among the synonyms suggested for solitude is “loneliness.”
Solitude is not sad. Nor does it have to be lonely.
Solitude is perhaps the most intense way of experiencing the outdoors.
I’ve had many enjoyable trips with friends and past partners.
But some of the trips that tend to be entrenched most strongly in my memory are the solo trips.
Walking along a ridge line solo, camping at an off-trail lake or exploring some canyons, or at a quiet camp on the High Plains. I seem to enjoy these trips immensely.
I enjoy my solitude. And I like my personal company.
I love a schedule that I set. Switch things up at the last minute. Just pack my gear and go.
Wildlife is spotted, new routes are savored, and more serendipity is experienced in a few short days than seen in so-called “normal” life.
Trips full of solitude aren’t sad. Trips full of solitude are invigorating.
Plan well, leave your planned route with someone you trust and only do trips within your comfort, safety, and skill levels, and a solo trip can be enjoyed by all.
Embrace the solitude. Forget about the sadness of the solitude.