An Ode To Solo Dates - Part One

Dear Reader,

When is the last time you sat across from an empty chair in your favorite restaurant? Watched a new release in a row of empty theater seats? Or my personal favorite, hiked your favorite trail with only your backpack as company?

A number of months ago I participated in a dance workshop at my home away from home - Presence Studio. Each week we received homework assignments and my personal favorite was “take yourself out on a date.” So, naturally I filled up my hydro flask with hot spiced wine and set out for a hike up to Fragrance Lake Lookout.

Interestingly enough, the last time I hiked up Fragrance Lake I was on a first date, with someone other than myself, and the time before I was on my first solo date ever. So it seemed all too fitting to hike this trail in particular.

As I walked, ran, danced, and sang I couldn’t help but compare my three experiences and soak up the pure joy of being alone in the beautiful PNW woods. So today, I want to share some of my favorite aspects of Solo Hikes and Solo Dates with you.

  1. You can be late - so late, a week late even! You’ll still get there, on your own time.

  2. You can dance freely in the woods, shake your hair around, shout your favorite lyrics.

  3. You won’t feel obligated to share your hot-spiced wine, tea, water, snacks, whatever with anyone else - it’s all yours!

  4. You are not on someone else’s time frame - as I mentioned previously, this means you can be late. But it also means...

    • You can move at your own pace - if you want to run you can tear up the damn mountain, and if you want to crawl inch by inch you can do that too. You’re not rushing anyone along or holding anyone back...it’s just YOU!

    • You can sit and write at the top of the mountain for hours - I am very guilty of this one, so much so my hands begin to cramp up.

    • Or hell, you can bring your hammock and take a cozy little nap, you’re not on anyone else’s schedule

  5. You can rip off your shoes at the top and let your smelly, beautiful and oh-so-toasty toes breathe!

  6. You have room to notice things you otherwise wouldn’t - uprooted trees, deep roots wrapped tightly around boulders, or new life atop a rotting stump

  7. Let’s get really real here, because come on these next few are the good ones...You can pick your nose or launch a snot rocket

  8. You can pass a little gas or stop off for a trailside pee break without worrying about anyone else’s reaction

  9. And you sure as fuck don’t have to get ready for anyone else - unless of course you want to dress up for yourself that day

  10. The option to simply be silent is available, as well as the option to carry on a riveting conversation with yourself

  11. Here’s another important one for me, and perhaps I’m one of the few, but the PNW is my home, my heart and soul and its' beauty and power never ceases to amaze me. So much so, I am often moved to tearful gratitude. And unless you have a super rad first date partner, this reaction can throw some folks for a loop. So I value the ability to be present and rooted in myself and my emotionally fueled gratitude on mountaintops. It’s my time to share only with the earth around me.

  12. While the journey often feels more grueling without another human being to distract you, the serenity and the power of your own body and mind is acknowledged and seen

  13. Along with this, just knowing you can do it ALL BY YOURSELF is so empowering - and that is what we are all about after all: Empowered Wandering!

  14. You are your own guide, you do exactly what you wish to do - this might be dancing, sidestepping, stopping to eat the perfect trail snack, the list goes on!

  15. And finally, sometimes you see others taking themselves on a date too, and boy, that’s pretty damn cool!

So, my strong and empowered readers, I wanted to share some of my favorites parts of Solo Dates in hopes that I would inspire you to pursue your own Solo Wanderings. If you’d like to read a more in depth account of my Solo Hike up to Fragrance Lake Lookout and the specific similarities and differences between my previous hikes up the same path (with myself and my romantic interest) then stay tuned, Part Two is coming.

Here’s to spoiling yourself with the wanderings that set your soul on fire, alongside the person you love most (yourself)!

Love and light wandering queens (and kings),

Annalise