Spending time alone in nature has countless effects on the mind and the body. Some detrimental, others rejuvenating. Spend enough time out there and your inside voice might eventually make its way out.
At first, it never crossed my mind as something that would eventually become routine. As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure it was something I ever truly recognized as having started. However, by the end of my Year Alone in the Wilderness, I could not refute the irreplaceable importance of developing a stronger relationship with…myself. This relationship was not bred in silence. On the contrary, after spending months on end without verbally, physically, or emotionally engaging with another human being, my inner psyche forced itself to connect with the only person around…me. Have you jumped to negative conclusions about my mental state yet? Maybe on the fence still? Well hear me out.
For starters, allow me to help provide a bit of context in broad stroke fashion. From the summer of 2013 to the following summer, I spent a year traveling, backpacking, and meandering through the US National Parks – having hit each in the Lower 48 and three up in Alaska. In previous Journal entries, I have discussed the impacts that others had had on me while I was living in the National Parks – The Fellowship of the Trail. Now while those relationship were strong, quickly-developed, and unbreakable, the fact of the matter was, my interactions with others made up for such a remarkably small fraction of time which was otherwise spent unmistakably alone.
Now before you go start thinking that I’m off my rocker, I’m not about to tell you how being alone for so long caused me to hear voices in my head. They were there before I started. No, just kidding (not funny!). In fact the truth of the matter is, I can think of at least four major ways that the wilderness taught me to “talk” to myself.