It’s been awhile since I’ve posted so I apologize and I’ll do better. I’ve needed time to reflect on one major change: on July 27 my travel partner, Nick, and I parted ways. We were both holding each other back in ways we couldn’t make better or improve upon. The simple fact of traveling with another person necessitates constant concessions to each other’s needs, wants, and feelings. It’s difficult to be with another person—any other person—for such extended periods of time with few reprieves. For me, traveling with someone allowed a level of comfort. I wasn’t afraid to sleep in the dark woods at night because Nick was a few feet away. But what I began to realize was that I wanted to feel the fear alone. I wanted to confront it, stare it down, and overcome it. I couldn’t do that while tagging along with someone else. I needed to do this for myself and to prove to myself that I could. The common narrative women are told is that they need others to be secure. Countless times people have asked me if I am scared to travel alone. Would they ask a man the same question? I have a decent amount of experience in the outdoors. I am resourceful, independent, and have common sense. I refuse to be a helpless, dependent woman. Why can’t I do this by myself?

The separation was challenging and emotional, but I firmly believe it was the right decision. I constantly battled between deciding when it’s time to quit something or stick it out. Nick and I had an agreement, we had made a promise months before to embark on this journey together. When is quitting what’s best for you? When is persevering what’s best for you? Which helps you grow more as a person and which is enabling dependency and self-destructive? It is clear these lines are unclear, and I’m still working through these questions.

I’ve made peace with the what-ifs. I can’t go back and change the decision to continue alone. And judging how this past week and a half has gone, the solitary path will definitely be a path of growth. I learned so much in the month and half Nick and I traveled together and I’ve already learned as much or more in the week and a half I’ve been alone. Either way, these lessons and experiences will take a while to process. But I’m grateful for both, and I’m excited for what’s next. There’s always a new adventure waiting.