Solo backpacking trips are a great way to unwind from the busy hustle and bustle of our daily lives.
For some, traveling solo might be a bit daunting, but hiking and camping is a great way to escape for a weekend. Alone in the great outdoors with nature as your only distraction, what more can one ask? And a weekend is not too long and not too short to gather those cluttered thoughts.
It’s all great during the day when you are busy hiking, enjoying the views, looking for a campsite, and setting it up. But what do you do and how do you keep yourself busy in those few hours between dinner and sleep?
Look at the Stars
There’s a beautiful canvas right above you and all you have to do is lie down and immerse your mind in the constellation above. All the stress and the problems of tomorrow can slowly ebb away while you gaze upward.
This is the most beautiful way to spend hours out in the open after dark in nature. Those of us who live in the city already know it’s next to impossible to see a sky full of stars. You are lucky if you can catch a glimpse of a few in the lit sky. You can also set up camp before sunset and enjoy beautiful dusk.
Apps like SkyView and Superstar Chart can be very helpful in finding constellations in real-time and learn the details and history of the wonders above you.
Catch Up on Some Reading
Remember that long list of books you have saved in your Kindle or the book that’s always on your nightstand but you just can’t seem to get yourself to start reading it?
This is a great opportunity to catch up on some reading. All you will need aside from your book is a headlamp, and you are all set for a few hours. There’s no wrong time to read a book, and it can keep you busy for the whole length of your trip.
The downside of paperback books is that they take up a lot of space, and after you have finished the book, you are only carrying dead weight – pages that you won’t read again. And you can only carry one or two books at a time for one trip to save space for other essentials.
The alternative to paperbacks is an e-reader. They are easily available everywhere with options for all price ranges. The battery lasts at least a few days, and most are backlit, so you won’t need a headlamp to read. Plus, you can carry as many books as you like with only the weight of one.
Some of us don’t like reading novels, so you can read articles or funny jokes that make you laugh. Jokes can ease off some of the tiredness from the day and make you feel lighthearted.
Instead of carrying your e-reader, you can also save them on your phone to read offline. Whatever you choose, be prepared as you will most likely not find any internet connectivity in the wilderness.
Let Your Creativity Flow
The chances are that you will be completely alone with your thoughts for the first time in a while, and this is the best time to let your creative juices flow.
Bring out your camera for some long exposure shots of the sky or the landscape, pen down some of your innermost thoughts, start writing that book that you have always wanted to, paint your worries away – anything that makes you happy and keeps you content in those few hours of solitude.
Your creative activity is only limited to whatever you can carry in your bag.
The quietness of nature and the serene environment is the best combination to align your creativity and your spirit, and there’s no reason not to take advantage of it!
Plan for the Next Day
Even if you had planned out your days meticulously, there’s always some room for improvement or adjustment to the initial plan. The best way to do that is to look through your itinerary with a fresh perspective every day.
There could be a better path or a more scenic route that you were not aware of when starting your trip, a beautiful campsite near a lake, or a cool must-see landmark, and you don’t want to miss out on all that!
It’s a productive way to pass your time, and diverting from your initial plan can also make your trip more adventurous and enjoyable.
You might think you can’t play board games alone or have any fun playing by yourself. Wrong! You don’t need a group or a partner to have fun with these games: Gloomhaven, Scythe, Transforming Mars… to name a few.
If you are not a fan of board games, you can always keep a deck of cards to play games like Solitaire, Clock Patience, Spades, Emperor, German Solo, Boston, and so many more.
And, if board games and card games are not suitable for your taste, you also have the option to download games on your phone or tablet and have a great time by yourself. Look for interesting games you can play offline in Google Play Store or the App Store in your Apple product.
Playing games is the easiest way to kill your time, but it’s also the least productive, it’s at the bottom of my list!
There you have it! A list of some simple things you can do to keep yourself company during your solo backpacking trip. The list is not exhaustive, and there are many more activities that you can do.
What truly matters is that you enjoy yourself and find what you are looking for within yourself on your solo trip!