Learning To Be Alone

“Leave me alone” or “go away” were the words that I constantly heard growing up. Yup, I was the annoying little sister who was always there.

The five of us kept ourselves busy; we built forts out of blackberry bushes, played hide-and-go-seek, paraded up and down our street on the 4th of July, and shot hoops in the driveway… okay fine, Kevin would shoot and I would rebound, but I was happy just to be with him.


A childhood picture of my older siblings and me (in the middle with the blue dress)

As I grew up and my siblings moved away, I kept myself busy with sports, school, work, and anything else that would fill my schedule.

I’m scared of being alone because I have never had to be alone.

That’s part of the reason why I started on this trip–so that I could learn to be without people, without distractions, without things, and to truly love it.

When I made a trip up to the Daintree Rainforest in Australia, I was excited to be spend some time in the rainforest. I would be completely disconnected and distraction-free.

There were lots of activities to do in the Daintree Rainforest, but the one that excited me the most was the hike up Mt. Sorrow. They say that it’s a 5-7 hour difficult hike, only recommended for experienced bushwalkers with advanced fitness levels.

…ehhh, that’s me… right? 

I brought my pack, 3.5 liters of water, some light provisions, and was on my way.

Not even 10 minutes into the hike, I was covered in sweat and wanting to turn around. I heard some rustling in the bushes and got nervous, so I tried to justify the fact that I was giving up on the hike by telling myself that I was being smart. I mean, there was nobody else on the trail, it was more than 100 degrees out, and if anything happened to me, nobody would know for at least 6 or 7 hours when I was due to return.


So I turned around and started back down the hill.

After a few steps, I stopped. Isn’t this what I wanted? Some alone time in the rainforest, with just me and my thoughts? That, and poisonous snakes and spiders, deadly cassowaries, leeches falling from the trees, and crippling heat and humidity.

Yup. That’s exactly what I wanted. With a new found vigor, I turned back around and continued up the mountain (albeit extremely slowly).


After 5 1/2 hours, I made it out alive with only minor scrapes and bruisies, 40 new mosquito bites (or in Aussie terms, “mozzie bites”), and 2 leech bites.  I had time to myself to think, reflect, and ponder. To appreciate my freedom, the beauty surrounding me, and the future ahead of me.

I suppose that’s why it’s been so long since I last blogged. Instead of tying myself down to my computer, I’ve been out exploring myself. Give me leeches falling onto my head any day if that means that I can have some quality time alone with my thoughts. So to all of my readers out there (AKA Mom), I’m sorry that I haven’t been writing as often. I’ve been busy being alone.

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6 Responses to Learning To Be Alone

  1. Barb lee says:

    Cara I love reading your blogs. You my sweet friend is one brave soul. Before I married Dean I did so many adventures alone. It made me who I am now. I love my life and wouldn’t change a thing. Now the old lady in me is speaking to you. Enjoy every minute of your travels . It is a gift from God. You may of earned your way but he is with you all the way. He knows and sees your desires.
    Keep traveling, love Barb


  2. Mom says:

    I love you so much and I totally get it. I was “talking” with Kevin yesterday in Spanish as much as I was able. I had just finished doing a lesson on -ar verbs and tenses, etc. I was so frustrated and hard on myself. I wanted to quit because nothing seems to be sticking in my brain. I am able to read Spanish much more so than write it. When I mentioned this to Kevin he told me to cut myself some slack. What I am going through is normal. Then I thought of what you had said when I told you what I was doing and why. You said, “Good for you, Mom.” That made me feel so good. When I took the 28-day challenge to get off sugar because my kids challenged me, I only did it to prove you all wrong. You were all right! Both going off sugar and beginning to learn Spanish are huge challenges I made with myself. Just as you challenged yourself to be alone. Challenges, no matter what kind, are challenging but we come out stronger and better in the end. I totally get you!!!! I know I am forever changed for the good because of going off sugar. I only hope that I can say the same as I work through this Spanish class (: Love you, love you, love you!


  3. Brad says:

    I found what you wrote affecting. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


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