I have a serious love for exploring and going on random adventures as often as possible, as you’ve probably already figured out if you’ve followed me for any amount of time on social media. Experiencing something new, beautiful, or awe-inspiring is a deeply rooted joy that never ceases to renew my wonder at how lucky we are to live in this world. When asked about why I have so many solo-adventures, my response usually begins with an explanation of my first time living on my own in Boston. I went straight from living at home to living by myself, in an apartment far from campus and any new friends I would make. This led to a lonely period in my life that, while difficult, was incredibly formative for my adult life. After a rough beginning of feeling limited in what I could go out and experience on my own without community, I soon learned that some of the best times were to be found in wandering about in my own company. Dining out, seeing a movie, going to a show- all are amazing when experienced with others, but are all equally enjoyable when you feel comfortable with yourself and open yourself to fully savoring the moment you have. I also learned to value relationships and community as a gift, and not something to be expected. This continues to be something I’m learning as I work to further cultivate friendships and invest in the people around me.
While not living alone anymore, I still find myself with a lot of alone time. Sometimes I find co-adventurers to join in on the fun, but often I strike out on my own, craving the spontaneity and freedom in wandering wherever my mind leads me in the moment. This winter I decided that whenever I was gifted a snowstorm, I would get out and experience it in a new way. I also took advantage of a morning right after a snowstorm, while everyone else was digging themselves out, to head out on an adventure.
I have had the pleasure of seeing places that I am extremely familiar with in my every day life completely transformed by that cold, still white blanket that keeps the rest of human kind away. The stillness has allowed me to revel in beauty that I almost forgot was there, and the solitude granted by lack of people (and death of my phone due to cold) has given me space to be alone with the thoughts and feelings triggered by what is around me, which can so often be drowned out by distractions we allow to enter moments of aloneness.
During one storm, I took advantage of the fact that most normal people were off the roads and drove an hour to my favorite beach- just to see what it would be like in the midst of winter’s fury. It was terrifyingly beautiful to feel and see the power of such a storm on my beloved oceanside escape. The wind tore through my many layers, the waves tossed and crashed ferociously, I was soaked, and my phone died almost instantly. It was amazing.
Snowstorms allow for adventures that can be more tricky to accomplish when others are out and about, like sneaking into abandoned mills. The thrill of doing something that you probably shouldn’t only adds to the adrenaline experienced when seeing something so old and steeped in history, completely empty. While there is sorrow, there is also beauty in the abandoned, if you look for it. When you slow down you can almost feel all the past flurries of activity that once took place, as well as the promise of what can still happen.
It makes me even more grateful for Christ seeing beauty in my abandonment and taking on all of me with a promise of what is to come. Being still and alone in the presence of wonderful things always makes me more mindful of what it means to open our hearts and minds to the chances we have to learn new things about ourselves and our creator. This is what keeps bringing me back to solo-adventuring, because for me, it’s not lonely at all.