Solitude And Freedom
A man can be himself only so long as he is alone, and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom, for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.
I’ve always been a lover of solitude. I think much of it is linked to the fact that I’m a natural-born nomad and have a rather active imagination to boot.
When I was a kid and we went home to Denmark for the summer holidays, one of my favorite pass-times was to take my bicycle and ride off into the woods. Deep in the forest, in a place where the sun barely filtered through the thick trees were old Viking graves (gravhøj) that seemed to be forgotten and undiscovered (or so my young wild mind imagined) by everyone but me. I would play around the old graves, creating stories of great warriors, talking to their ghosts and losing myself completely in the imposing mounds and tall, dark tress. Some kids would have been terrified by such a place but this was my happy place, the spot where I felt most connected and free, even back then.
I went back to one of these graves only a few years ago and the stories and feelings are still there for me, as fresh in my mind as the day I created them. I might even have added a few love tales that time (being the romantic sap that I am).
I’ve been doing these kinds of solo walks my entire adult life, and I honestly don’t think I could survive without them.
Back in my early “city” days many of these walks were in Art Galleries where I could silently peruse oil and chalk paintings, imagining the thoughts of the painters who created them and conjuring stories in my mind of their lives and loves. When I was a student I would “escape” to the countryside on my bicycle or (rather later) in my car, finding remote trails to occupy my mind and soothe my soul. When I was stuck working a regular job, I would spend entire weekends in the mountains filling my brain’s imagination for the week ahead. During my darkest times, when I was feeling locked or deeply depressed they were my key to freedom, the only thing that could bring my mind back to the light.
These trips of solitude have been my constant drug in life, and there’s not a single time when I haven’t explored in this way, no matter how “fixed” in location I was.
To this day, despite my extroverted nature, periods of complete solitude are still my most treasured moments, and with the RVing lifestyle they’ve become even more easily accessible.
Part of what I love about our travels is that we get to go to remote and crazy places, filled with stories of times past where we can lose ourselves in the wildness of it all. When we’re out in these spots I’ll often leave hubby behind and take doggie on long solo walks, letting the landscape and my imagination lead the way. Those moments are when I have my most profoundest thoughts, my deepest centering, my best photos and my craziest ideas. They feed my soul, they are my freedom and I always come back refreshed and happy when I’m done.
Oh and yeah, whenever you see a “philosophical” post on the blog you’ll know I just finished one 🙂SPONSORED LINK:
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Not saying yet…we’re hiding out for a little while 🙂
Aww! Every boondocker has a little bit of stalker internet savvy deployed to find the best honey holes to set up camp in! I only know where you were… 😉
Mary Hone says
I love boondocking simply for the solitude. I can hardly imagine staying in an RV park. We moved right after Christmas to a spot 20 miles from Quartzsite, and that suits us fine. We will be leaving for the Yuma area tomorrow, back to the Ogilby road. There are more people in general around there, but we can usually park out and alone.
I’m totally with you.Lots of good boondocking north of Quartzsite, especially when you get some miles out. I do love the AZ desert in winter.
Rattlesnake Joe says
There are great places to camp north of Quartzsite. As you travel north out of “Q” look for the road on the right that goes to the little town of Bouse. Lots of good camping spots for miles and miles on either side of the little two lane highway. Nice flat areas for motorhomes and big rigs. Keep a watch on your doggie as coyotes love little dogs and cats too. No worry about snakes as its too cold right now.
Yup that’s a good spot that I’m familiar with from some of my RV buddies. I’m always on the lookout for coyotes everywhere we go, so the cats never go out unless we’re with them and watching them.
So do you guys still have to manually raise your solar panels? I’m intersted in some ideas on how to do the tilting. Me legs are not what they used to be.
Yeah, we still raise them manually. One of my blog readers created an automated system which he shared with me and I posted in the comments of this blog post (scroll down for comments):
Maybe that’ll give you some ideas?
Bayfield Bunch AL says
I can sure identify with your alone times & the quiet solitude it naturally brings upon one’s Spirit. Back home in Ontario I find that on my many country road solo Jeep drives & hikes with Pheebs. Despite you being an extrovert & me being an introvert we both still find re-assuring solace wrapped in the arms of Mother Natures soothing wonders…….
Very poetically said, Al. I like it!
Diana and Jim says
Boy, Nina…this sure resonates with me. Diana and I posted about an outdoor center near us a few weeks ago, and reading your post takes me back to the times I would steal away on my lunch hour at work and stroll through the woods by myself there. Nothing like solitude to center one’s soul. Thank you for this thoughtful post!
I’ve always been able to clear my head while walking. It’s the best centering mechanism I know. Incidentally all of my big life decisions have been made during a hike….this was true while I was solo and also since I’ve been with Paul. Whenever I have a particularly difficult life problem I’ll hike to figure it out.
Box Canyon Mark from Lovely Ouray, Colorado says
Simple, yet so profound.
Why thank you 🙂
I couldn’t think of a way to more properly express these feelings, these personal needs. As an introvert who “needs” my solotude fix, you’ve nailed it perfectly. And yes, I’ve noticed the correlation with some of your posts in time with some of your solitary meanderings. Like minds recognize like things?
Enjoy your solitude!
I definitely get my most profound moments when I solo hike. The more meditative the hike, the deeper the thoughts LOL
Thumbs up on your latest post. Very personal and informative. I really connected with your desire to seek solitude at times, especially in nature and/or wilderness.
I think alot of my readers connect with the message. It’s part of what draws us together.
Love your post, and can so relate! If you get to New Mexico, be sure and check out Carlsbad Caverns. We were there Thursday and it was an amazing experience…totally alone(most of the time) 800 feet underground with complete silence except for occasionally dripping water.
We experienced Carlsbad a few years back and took the self-guided tour. Totally agree it was an awesome experience. Here’s my blog post from that trip:
Wonderful post about getting away from anything and soaking up a higher power to recharge yourself (Paul probably like the happy part when you return!). I got a lot of that in Colorado, but I do not get enough now in Florida:(
More technical stuff… How close did you come to filling up your tanks when you left Borrego and how long were you there total? You had mentioned you were getting close. Did you get very low on fresh water? Thanks for your help. You have no idea what it means for Debbie and I.
We were there for exactly 21 days and we still had over 1/3 tank of water left (our water tank holds 100 gallons) and good space in our black (40 gallons) and grey (66 gallons). We could easily have gone one more week. Two of our weeks there I was solo so that definitely helped stretch the tanks.
In general when we are both in the rig we can easily do 2 weeks on our tanks, we can do 3 weeks with conservation and absolute max 4 weeks in ultra-ultra-conservation mode. The biggest limit is our black tank. Once that is full, we gotta go.
Also keep in mind that most places we go have 14-day stay limits. This spot does not, but most of the rest of winter we’ll be in spots that do. So, two easy weeks on the tanks lines up perfectly with moving time. We move, we dump and we’re ready to go again.
Really well written post Nina on the joys of solitude and remote campsites. I could use some of both right now. Beautiful pictures of the beast in that drop dead setting. I feel relaxed just reading this. Thanks!
Well I’m glad I can impart a bit of peace, even if you’re not getting it yourself right now. Hope you get some more downtime in FL.
Dave (GoingRvWay.com) says
‘“The beast” takes some solo time to contemplate life, the universe and the meaning of everything…….’ — nope, looks to me that the beast’s six solar panels are just trying to suck up as much of the remaining sun before they close their eyes and sleep till the morning’s rays awaken them. Love that panoramic picture, would make a great title pic. –Dave (GoingRvWay.com)
The beast needs a lot of “juice” for her deep thinking exercises 🙂
Since childhood I’ve found comfort in remote nature that fills me with wonder and awe. Enjoy that time always.
Probably roll Monday.
Likewise! Happy trails to you Gaelyn. Hope we meet again.
I had no idea we were so much alike. I grew up in a city of great culture and thrived on symphony opera and ballet and haunted the great museums. Not many graves there. I have always been much happier alone as well. The last trip we went on I needed to call a neighbor to pick up something from my porch and I realized we live on a typical suburban street, but I only know one person to call. And I like it. We wave and smile at all the neighbors but we don’t know them. Not even their names. And we like it that way. Put me in the motorhome in the middle of nowhere and I am perfectly content.
The interesting thing is that I actually like (and crave) both. I love (love, love) my solitude, but I also love community too, and RVing has been a nice balance. Like you, we rarely knew our neighbors in our stix&brix home (and we were perfectly happy with that), but out here I know practically all my boondocking neighbors and/or camping neighbors. It’s a fascinating mix.
But yes, I’m perfectly happy in the boonies by myself. Leave me here and let my imagination go wild. It’s a good life 🙂
Your post hit it on the head for me, I’m glad that you and others enjoy solitude as well. I always thought there was something wrong with me. I would tell people I went for a hike and they ask “with who?” When I say I went alone, they look at me like it’s so sad I couldn’t round up a single friend to go with me. Haha, I gave up caring what people think a long time ago because I truly just enjoy going on my own. I can stop any time I want, spend as much time taking in my surroundings as I want, and I’m not distracted by conversation. It’s truly a mentally healthy experience for me.
LOL…I’ve totally had that pity look when I’ve told people about my solo hikes. What? You hiked ALONE? You poor thing!
Like you, it’s a mentally healthy experience for me and I totally love it. You are not weird at all 🙂
Tid til at skrive en bog? Jeg vil stå i kø til det!
Mange tak. Det er sødt sagt 🙂
Do I get a prize if I guess where you are?? :)))
Shhhhh….no guesses yet.
Another one of those border towns… between states of Mind. I seem to always see a ton of UPS big rigs filling up with diesel there before visiting Jerry Brown. A road tax issue, no doubt, on fuel, being absent in the 48th state.
So lovely. Whenever we saw you coming back from a hike, I could almost count the moments until a new profound post or photo appeared. So glad you’re getting some of that much needed solitude.
I’m so predictable 🙂 miss you guys!
John and Pam Wright says
Totally understand where you are coming from:) I feel very similar which is why this lifestyle is perfect for us. We enjoy doing our own thing alone and always have. Interestingly, both our children feel the same way.
Enjoy your quiet time soaking up the desert beauty:) Nothing better than a quiet mind:)
Your photos are gorgeous!
And you’re quite the extrovert too Pam. So we’re probably similar in spirit. Extroverts who love our solo time. I guess there’s more of us out there than I thought. Enjoy Borrego…sorry we missed you there!
You are speaking my language. Every word. Just as I enjoy reading another blogger’s perspective of a place that I have loved, I enjoyed reading your introspective post that describes my own feelings so well…
You and I are very similar personalities methinks. Part of the reason we get along so well.
Ahhh! SO nice to see The Beast not encrusted with all those extroverted RV barnacles you’ve been hanging around with lately. EC701 eh? I know where that is—you’re in my neck of the woods now! Hope you make it to Imperial Dam this go-around.
The younger crowd we were hanging with recently all work fulltime during the day, so it’s been easy evening get-togethers. Still, it’s nice to get some solo time again. And once we’ve recharged we will likely see our buddies again (yup, we just can’t help it).
Not sure where we’re going from here. Jello plans right now. If we land around Imperial Dam we’ll let you know.
I created some nice trails here… You and Polly would LOVE hiking them… Just swing by for a couple of days on the way to Q.
Loved this post. My roots are also in Denmark even though I was born in Canada. Love time to myself, even though it might just be quiet time by myself watching the birds in my yard.
Everyone has their own little way to get centered. Some meditate, some hike, some just watch the birds. If it brings you joy and peace, it’s a gift to be treasured.
Excellent post, Nina. Where we live, now, there are several types of “ghosts” evident. And an abundance of solitude. 😀
Sweet! Sounds like the perfect spot.
Ron & Reida Baca says
Can you tell me a little about your solar panel setup? I enjoy reading your blog. We are going full time in a year and want to be able to use solar as much as we can. Thanks,
Sure. We have 600 Watts of solar on the roof and I have all the details of our installation in our “solar” tab. See here:
Start at bottom of the page in Part I.
Zvi Shalev says
Speaking from my throat.
Wow Nina, fantastic post. Thank you for sharing 🙂
So well said!!!! I think you have touched on the feelings of many of us that love this lifestyle.
Ed@Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets says
Although I can be quite the extrovert and even “charming”, there is a HUGE part of me that is happiest on my own…and alone. Some people can’t stand solitude and aloneness. They have a need to be constantly around other people. That’s not me. I’m with you on this topic. Thanks for another great post.
I’m very much like you then. In a group I am comfortable being the center of entertainment, but I NEED that solitude time. I have no need to be around people all the time.
Clarke Hockwald says
Yep, Nina, that was ‘floppy’, philosophical, and ‘sappy all rolled into one, but I loved it! Have always loved the solitude of the desert….the long views, the quiet. One can think and wonder without distraction. Safe travels!
LOL…the total “sappy side” of Nina. Yeah, it only comes out like this on the blog.
I enjoy my solitary moments and my husband enjoys the company of others. Years ago he went on a solo motorcycle overnight trip. He said he was miserable the whole time and wished he had me there to share it with him.
I believe that when we start our FT journey I will need to take some solo hikes to refresh my soul. He can come along on another day 🙂
Solo hiking has been perfect for me on the road. Paul enjoys some time without me and I get to recharge on my own too. Aaaand Paul’s a happy camper when I come back refreshed.
Great post! We are also “loners” but since we are in a stick and rock house here in Austin we tend to call ourselves “homebodies”. We do live on a greenbelt so looking out our family room windows to the trees and creek beyond is satisfying. As a kid in Key West I had a small private beach I found where I would spend hours reading or just thinking, must have been the beginning of my “loner” ways. With any luck we will be heading west in a few days…Quartzite here we come!
I think that for many of us, our “loner” tenancies start at a very young age. Maybe for some it’s learned, but for me it was definitely something innate in me from my childhood.
Great topic, I found myself getting lost in thought. I too love long periods of solitude. l also enjoyed the quote by Arthur Schopenhauer. Thanks for sharing.
It’s an interesting quote, isn’t it? There’s a deep melancholy to it, the first part about “man can be himself only so long as he is alone”, but then it ends with joy at the expression of freedom. I don’t agree with the whole quote, but I found it thought provoking and it spoke to me for the post.
So you’ve been a storyteller for some time. So grateful it’s something you didn’t grow out of. You’re also in good company with that solitude thing, so to speak.
Yup, a long term storyteller…or as some folks like to point out, a long term bullsh**er LOL. I’ve always had a VERY active imagination 🙂
Ah, a hidden graveyard! We had one up in the little woods behind our house too- it was really cool to stumble across one day with my brother and sister, and the tombstones dated to the late 1800s. Takes me back- thanks. 🙂
I’ve always loved old graveyards. The stories in those stones!! Oh my imagination can go for hours.
Betty Shea says
Wow..that is a great post.I love solitude also…I used to escape from my kindergarten class and go to the park!!
At 10 years old I took a train trip from New Jersey to NY City…got into a lot of trouble for that one!!! But,it was fun!!
Wow! You were an adventurous kid, for sure. I can just imagine the thrill of the “escape” and the terrible trouble you got into following it LOL!
Eric Rondeau says
I’m breaking my non-commenting streak to tell you how much I identified with this post. Thanks for reminding me of that feeling of the solo woods walking as a kid. Different terrain, different myth, but I still can get that mystical feeling again at times when I walk by myself. (Or with doggie).
Whoo hooooo! I got ya to comment!! It’s amazing how many folks identify with that feeling of walking alone in the woods. It’s such a sweet, unique feeling. Even Paul, who grew up as a total city slicker, gets that same deep sense of comfort from being in nature. I guess if it speaks to you once, it’ll speak to you always.
Todd B says
I love the photos on this post. Looks like you got a great site to enjoy some solitude and desert boondocking!
This spot has been perfect. Still enjoying it. I think we’re going to max out our 2 weeks here.
Another great post. I think many of us need that alone time to escape, relax, think and meditate. I have a few myself that I share with no one when I want to re-energize my mind and soul!
Beautifully written Nina! Since I am an introvert I can definitely relate to that solo time feeding my soul. 🙂
Once of my favorites.
All of your post keep us wanting more…while reading this one, I kept wanting to turn to the next page and read on. You sound consider publishing in some of the major travel magazines.
As we make plans to visit one of your favorite boondocking spots in March..I have a question, do you see many fifth-wheels at any of the amazings spots that you posted? We love our fifth-wheel and wonder if it’s the right rig for our early retirement. Thank you again.
Sure. Lots and lots of 5th wheels out here. You’ll fit right in. Oh, and cheers for the lovely compliment 🙂
Hi Paul & Nina. I haven’t commented on your posts before, but my wife and I have followed you for quite a while now. You’ve inspired us to plan a similar lifestyle. We’ve both worked our tails off most of our life and are ready to take our show on the road.
I noticed you chose a 40′ diesel pusher. We’ve been looking at the Tiffin Allegro Bus 37AP. I wondered if you’ve heard any reviews on them (or Tiffin diesels in general) from fellow travelers. I also wanted to say to Nina, your photos are beautiful! I love the desert too. You do such a nice job with light and setting.
We hope to see you both on the road someday. We are current residents of San Diego and know you were too. It’s kinda hard to give that up:-]
Travel safe and keep up the great work!!
David & Michele
The Tiffin Allegro buses get decent reviews and we have a few buddies who own them & like them. I’d ask around on the RV forums to get more input tho’ since we’ve never owned one.
I have been reading your posts for quite some time now and I enjoy them all, but this one resonated so much. We lived in our motorhome for 2 years and got sidelined with some health issues. Now, 5 years later, we’re just about to pick up our trailer (going a bit smaller this time) and back on the road. I am drawn to the wide open space that comes from solitude and freedom. 5 more months with my 2nd graders and then just the open road. Thanks for the inspiration and hope to meet you at some happy hour!