Embarking on a Solo Adventure: Finding Myself on a Coastal Hike

In my recent blog, ‘From Silence to Self-Love; My Journey Through Loneliness‘, I unveiled the emotional and mental journey that led me to a pivotal moment – my first solo activity holiday in Wales. But why was this adventure so transformational? Here I dive deeper into my journey.

The Challenge of Booking My First Solo Holiday

It took a year of building confidence, enjoying days out on my own and now, it was time to elevate the stakes by booking a weekend away. My criteria for this adventure were specific, perhaps even challenging:

  • Activity-Centric: Focused on sports and physical activities
  • Novel Experiences: Involving activities I’d never tried before
  • Social Opportunities: Including group activities to avoid complete isolation
  • Central Hub: A location with a socialising spot for evenings
  • Proximity: Within a few hours’ drive and somewhere unfamiliar
  • Affordability: Reasonably priced

After extensive research, I found Preseli Venture, ticking 5 out of 6 boxes and I thought, “This is it!”

The Adventure Holiday: A Community Amongst the Waves

If you, like me, have a taste for adrenaline or simply crave new experiences, I can’t recommend this break enough. From the moment you step into Preseli Venture, there’s a palpable sense of community. Read more about coasteering in North Pembrokeshire and my thrilling activity holiday in Wales.

My First Solo Hike: Confronting and Embracing the Anxiety

When I discovered I’d be undertaking a 4.5km hike alone, anxiety swiftly kicked in. But, with maps and instructions in hand and a beautiful, sun-drenched bay before me, I whispered to myself, “You’ve got this.”

Have you ever watched ‘What Women Want’? There’s a scene where Mel Gibson, playing Nick, delves into the thoughts of a woman running solo. As she runs, she ponders her life’s desires and the paths to achieve them. She looks free, no worries, no stress, no pressure. It’s the one place she can be herself. She can look, dress and think the way she wants. Despite its cheesiness, this scene resonates with me every single time I run, and now, during this walk. All negative thoughts evaporated, allowing me space to reflect on my therapy journey. I’ve learned to cherish my own company, and in this moment, I realised I had achieved my milestone of ‘solo travel.’ I felt incredibly empowered and free, genuinely able to revel in my own company!”

A Serene Pause: Embracing Solitude on a Pebble Beach

As I wandered along the path, I came upon a pebble beach, where I allowed myself a moment to pause, enjoy the sunshine and watch the world gently pass by. I dipped my toes into the ocean, even managing to get a wet bottom while attempting some creative phone camera antics – a moment that elicited a hearty laugh from me.

There was no judgment, no fear and no insecurity, just me, embracing being alone amidst nature’s splendour. I found myself wishing for a life by the sea, where the soothing sounds of the waves could be a daily melody.

As the sun began its descent, casting a warm, golden hue across the landscape, I felt a profound sense of gratitude for the day’s adventures in surfing and hiking. I continued my journey through enchanting woods, across open fields and through a quaint village, even spotting a few palm trees along the way!

As I returned to the welcoming arms of the community at Preseli Venture, my heart was full!

The walk, featuring rocky bays, coastal cliffs, a natural spring and even seals basking with their pups, was perhaps the most therapeutic few hours I’ve ever spent alone

A Transformational Journey: From Fear to Freedom

This solo adventure wasn’t just a physical journey but an emotional and mental one too. It was a turning point, opening doors to endless possibilities and erasing the dark cloud of loneliness that had lingered for so long. I was so proud, I shared a selfie with friends and family, captioning it ‘I’ve had the best day’. My grin said it all!

If you are fearful of solo travel, I invite you to explore my journey over the past year. I could never have imagined doing this. Start small, discover what brings you joy, set small goals and follow your heart.

Pembrokeshire Hiking Map

Here’s the map provided of the North Pembrokeshire coastal path routes. I walked the 4.25 miles route from Abercastle to Aber Mawr Beach, then back to Preseli Venture.

The Benefits of Taking a Hike: A Step Towards Wellness

Embarking on a hike isn’t merely an adventure; it’s a step towards holistic wellness, both mentally and physically. A study reveals that a mere 50-minute walk amidst nature can significantly decrease anxiety, mitigate negative emotions and preserve an optimistic outlook.

Furthermore, there is compelling evidence, as per this research, that immersing oneself in the natural world has tangible benefits for health, particularly in enhancing emotional wellbeing. But the perks don’t stop at mental health. The endorphins released during physical activities like hiking trigger uplifting feelings, acting as natural pain and stress relievers.

Regular engagement in exercise is not only a shield against stress and anxiety but also a booster for self-esteem and energy levels, acting as a natural deterrent to feelings of depression. So, lacing up those hiking boots isn’t just taking you on a trail; it’s guiding you on a path towards enhanced wellbeing.

References

Landscape and Urban Planning Research

The Journal of Positive Psychology

Endorphins research, medically reviewed by Smitha Bhandar

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