Living in Colorado for the past two years on and off has gotten me more and more into the outdoors. The mountains have become my best friend. The issue with that, though, is you don’t always have somebody to go with when you (frequently) want to wake up at 3am to climb a 14er. Luckily, I am more than comfortable doing things on my own, thanks to my solo travels the past few years.
Over the 4th of July this summer, I did my first solo camping trip to Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. I chose to do it alone as I had some reflecting to do, and my parents were not happy about me going it alone in the great outdoors as a girl. Having full confidence in myself to be able to safely camp for a few nights alone (and my boyfriend’s confidence in me, too), I packed up my cooler full of food and Rubbermaid full of gear, hopped in my car and continued on my merry way, sending a few “I’m alive” texts to my mom each day.
Leading up to the trip, my parents tried to dissuade me from going. After multiple failed attempts, my mom bluntly said in a conversation one day, “You can’t camp by yourself as a girl. That’s just how it is.”. Absolutely not. Nothing, absolutely nothing, should hold you back from the outdoors because you are a female. And nothing, absolutely nothing, can make me more mad than that statement did. I was 100% going by myself after that.
Upon returning, I felt refreshed and really, truly proud of myself of all that I saw and accomplished over the holiday weekend. That Bears Ears trip was probably my favorite adventure of 2017. So no matter how you do it, the important thing is that you do it and you don’t let being a female hold you back. Just use your common sense and good judgment to assess situations, as you would anywhere. Heck, I slept with a whistle and hatchet next to me the first night alone in a tent, and moved to the car after a few hours because I’m an actual adult that is still actually afraid of the dark. The next night, I was able to ditch the hatchet and stayed comfortably in my tent all night. I’m working at my own pace up to what I know I can do, and I’m not letting any of the stereotypes against me being a girl stop me.
No matter how you get outside, just get outside. REI is doing an incredible job this year to empower more women and girls to do just that, and are offering tons of women-focused classes to help women feel more confident in their outdoor skills.
Don’t be afraid to push yourself, don’t let anything hold you back and keep on being badass, ladies.