Almost all of the courses we offer have a “solo” component. This means that students go out alone on the land for a few nights with minimal gear. I’ve talked with some of our alumni, and they expressed that before the solo they had qualms about being alone for an extended period of time, for various reasons. All of these had one thing in common, they were all based on fears of some kind. Worrying that they weren’t able to accomplish certain basic things like lighting a fire on their own, or wondering if they could go a few days without communicating with other people.
These and any other trepidations people have about soloing are completely valid. The modern world doesn’t allow much time for being by yourself. Even when you are “alone”, all you have to do is pick up your phone and you’re instantly connected with anyone you’d like. Some of the younger people I’ve had on courses can’t even remember a time when that wasn’t the reality of their lives. With that in mind, of course, the idea of a solo seems daunting.
The flip side is that when these students come back from the solos, its invariably an incredibly powerful experience. When someone has the experience of being out in the bush with nothing but the gear they carried in on their back and the knowledge they brought in their heads it allows them to view the world through that lense for the rest of their lives. When you know how easy it is to live well with just yourself to rely on, a lot of life’s little obstacles start to seem less frightening.