I was going to call this blog “Don’t be afraid to go Solo” but when thinking through the story I wanted to tell, it became less about me and more about the people I met. As the snow is falling again and the ski season opening weekend is upon us I was thinking about my trip last year and how rewarding it turned out to be as a solo traveller.
You see I was desperate to go down …. The best snow dump of the season had just happened, it was mid week with no crowds and the weather forecast was perfect for the next four days…. Trouble was I had the time and the mountains were calling but no mates could join me, too busy, too much work on, not enough spare cash and I know what that’s like too…. But I really didn’t want to miss this.
So should I go it alone?
I debated it, my husband said just go, I had some friends to catch up with one night down there for dinner but would it be as much fun skiing and hanging out on the mountain alone?
Oh well, what the hell … I love a road trip regardless…. So I booked my tickets and accommodation and off I went…. And I’m so glad I did….
Being on your own on the hill opens you up to so many chance conversations and wonderful stranger interactions…. I never expected to enjoy that as much as I did and it is amazing what people will tell you on a chair lift ride to the top! Relationship breakups, future career plans, personal aspirations and struggles, travel stories and strangely people and places in common. On one T-Bar ride I chatted to a women who, like me was starting to build a new home and we exchanged wonderful design ideas. Another fellow I shared a double chair with was just going through a messy divorce after an affair and we chatted about love lost and life perspectives when dealing with major change.
In between lifts I had the chance to ski to the outer reaches of the resort and just sit in the quiet crisp stillness of the white landscape and take it all in, appreciating with every breath how lucky I was to be there, how magnificent our planet really is and how important it is to have these mini adventures.
Back to the lifts I rode the T-Bars with kids in ski school and had funny conversations about what they wanted to be when they grow up and exchanged silly jokes. With the wonders of modern technology I even had the chance to facetime my parents who have never seen snow let alone skied and I gave them a 360 degree view from the top of Mount Perisher. On one quad chair I shared in the stories of three long time friends whose connection made me contemplate the value of my own and how lucky I was to have the people I have in my inner circle. I kept skiing the same runs and riding the same chairs with this group over and over again around the mountain and I was invited to have a drink that afternoon at sundown.
I had the best four days, going back to my accommodation exhausted and exhilarated every night. The fact that I was travelling solo I think actually allowed me to be more open to these chance experiences with strangers that resulted in making me feel more connected to something bigger than me.