Even if the answer could have been yes, it still caught me off guard when my camp neighbor for the night ambled over to my campsite and said, “you’re camping alone tonight, darling? You must be running away from a man.”
It’s a sentiment that I come across a lot in my travels. It’s almost as if somewhere between the time that women won the right to vote, and today, a law was passed outlawing women from traveling alone. But I’ve never been told of any such law, so I’m going to keep doing it, even if it makes some people uncomfortable along the way. My road trip travels this week took me from my cozy apartment in Boulder, Colorado, west to Rock Springs, Wyoming, with stopovers at Bear Lake, Idaho, Salt Lake City, Utah, Vernal, Utah, and Steamboat Springs, Colorado, before landing back in the land of indoor plumbing, my favorite pillows, and homey views of my Boulder Flatirons. It’s been a long week, and an incredible testament to the resilience of the mind and body. I’ve traveled over 1,000 miles in my trusty Toyota 4Runner in a week’s time. I walked among wild horses in Green River, Wyoming. I successfully paddle boarded for the first time in the warm waters found in the Flaming Gorge. I faced my fear of horses on an afternoon horseback ride at Utah’s Red Canyon Lodge. A ride that crept along the Gorge’s rim edge, providing so many unmatched views of nature’s true beauty that I completely forgot to be scared. I rode my bike alongside the pebbly beaches of Bear Lake in Idaho. I camped at the lake’s turquoise-colored water’s edge with the gentle sounds of waves lapping against the shore and the soft rays of moonlight lulling me to sleep—all alone— and I lived to tell about it. I mountain biked near a herd of bison in Antelope Island at the stinky, but beautiful Great Salt Lake. I got lost deep in the mountains high above Vernal, Utah, which is also where I found the strength to survive and the extent of the power of the mind. I drove alone. I slept alone. I ate alone. I made a handful of friends along the way. I started campfires on my own. I made camp grub and morning coffee on my own. I pushed my body, my mind, and my spirit, and I realized that I’m capable of so much more than I ever knew. And I did it all without a man. Solo travel is something that everyone should do in their lifetime, but it’s something I especially recommend for women. In a society that tells us we can’t, solo travel reminds us that we can.