• The Story Pilgrim

Embracing The Solo Journey


Though the sun is greeting me with a smile upon its face tiredness is upon me. It is time for a much needed holiday. It is time for my body to embrace the excitement of adventure. It is time to pick up my satchel and with one step after the other follow the story path.

I am particularly fond of travelling alone. Rather than fear the solo journey I see it as a time of adventure and learning. However, I have often been assaulted by the cacophony of voices with their piercing attempts to discourage me. Moreover, their vocal barbs often try to inject fear into my whole well-being until my mind becomes exhausted. Why do people fear the one who craves the solo journey?


It also has to be said that in my experience it has become particularly more evident as years add on my life to get the continual bombardment that it is both unwise and unsafe to travel on one’s own. It is as if I should have gained more wisdom. If I am honest this age thing is wearisome. My whole being is drained by the stereotypes that surround people in their third age. I think my biggest resistance ever is playing out now and it is against the roles that have been constructed around senior age. I am not playing the old person game. As far as I am concerned I will still dye my hair orange and it isn’t because I fear grey and thus in denial of my elder age. Orange hair is part of my identity and just because I am sixty I have no intention of changing it. I don’t care whether I suit it or not. It makes me happy and that is my criteria for having orange hair.


At the time of writing I am still fit and agile enough to pick up my satchel and walk, take a coach and even throw up a tent in a camp-site. I admit that during my forthcoming journey I shall not be flying. My decision not to fly is due to the fact that I want to stop at particular locations and sense the stories that whisper in each of those places. I want to be open to meeting people along the way.


Let me give you a for instance. Several years ago I chose to spend Christmas alone. My children were all in New Zealand and I just could not schedule the time to go. I had several offers to spend Christmas with friends but I declined. It is said that a lie will always surface and it is indeed true. At that time I lied and I lied to well meaning friends. Rather than say I was spending Christmas on my own I said I was spending it with a friend. So why did I lie? The reason I lied is that I could not face the assault from barbs trying to tell me that I ought not to be spending Christmas on my own. I simply was fed up justifying why. I am an adult and capable of making choices. I have to highlight that this is at its highest covert abuse or at its lowest disrespectful, if you try and control people’s decisions when they are an adult and quite capable of making decisions. Even if your intention is well-meaning one has to look away from your own reason to the fact that it can suggest that the person you are conversing with is not adult enough to live their own life. I have often been met with a particular gaze. The gaze that suggests, ‘oh you are not thinking right’ purely because you want to do something that goes against what is considered normal practice. In any case back to my story, on the occasion I journeyed alone I did not spend Christmas on my own. . I did do a solo trip for four days to a beautiful location on the Wild Atlantic Way. I was at one with the rhythm of nature and at no time felt alone. Perhaps those that shout the loudest about not travelling on your own are uncomfortable in their own selves. I am not sure whether that is true but I have to say this I cannot ever be constricted into the same grouping without at some stage venturing out for new experiences. Sorry folks, I am deviating again, back to my story. The Christmas I chose to spend alone I met a lovely man who had come over to Ireland to rekindle memories of his youth. He was an elderly man with grey tousled hair and a face which had its own legacy of stories. He was in his younger days a man of the sea although he still had his own small boat. We sat on the pier head drinking tea from a flask, he shared his sandwiches and we exchanged stories. I had a wonderful time. If I had gone for Christmas lunch to one of my friend’s I would have missed that wonderful moment and I would have lost out on story. I may never see this man again but for that particular moment I was locked into his narrative.

Fear is a terrible thing, it creates a barrier which keeps one from experiencing the beauty of what is out there. It keeps us from knowing ourselves.


At the beginning of next month I intend to travel to Stornoway. It will be a journey of coach, train and ferry. I am so looking forward to the new stories that will come across my path and the new conversations of people.

Let me tell you one of my secrets. Once upon a time I was housebound with agoraphobia. For eighteen months of my life I was stuck at home. When I reflect back to that time I realise that although a dark period of my life it was actually a turning point. Up until that time I lived an inauthentic life. I lived according to the voices of others. It was during my agoraphobic episode that I had to dig deep into my own psyche and make changes. I had to become brave and make the change. I will expound on this particular time of my life in a later blog. However, suffice to say we are the stories we tell our selves so far better to listen to the story that our heart whispers.

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