A Salt Spring Island weekend

For my birthday this year I decided that I needed a mental health weekend, so I decided to go to Salt Spring Island and take time to be by myself.

Being alone, I was able to wander around and do things that I wanted to do and on my own time. I didn’t have to worry about making sure my friends were entertained, or how long I stopped to take photographs.

I was able to sit on a dock in the early morning and watch two otters play in the water and curl up in my bed while the afternoon sun shone through the window.

I went to a bakery to get fresh bread, then went to Salt Spring Cheese to pick out some local goat cheese and picked up a beautiful bottle of cider and took it all down to the beach and had a late afternoon picnic.

I didn’t have to think if that’s what everyone wanted for lunch or if it was too late to eat lunch. I could just go and do it. I was allowed to take hundreds of photographs and terrible polaroids, I could listen to my 60s rock n’ roll playlist that consists mostly of Crosby, Stills, and Nash without worrying that someone would judge me for it, or get annoyed that I played the same song multiple times. I could sing loudly and badly in my car and nobody had to suffer through that.  

I didn’t have to check my phone for texts or Facebook messages because most of the time I didn’t have any cell reception. I drove up and down the island doing things in such a terrible order that even I was impressed with my disorganization. I was just allowed to exist, exist without interruption, exist in the way that I wanted to, exist without judgment or worry.

Going places on my own is a very new thing for me. I was always worried people would judge me for being alone. There have been so many concerts, trips, and experiences I’ve missed out on because I would wait for someone to want to go with me and when they’d cancel I would be too worried to go on my own.

But in the last two years, I have decided that I don’t want to wait anymore. I didn’t want to miss anything else. I have started using these outings as a way to be more comfortable with my own company and be more confident going out and talking to new people. I go away for long weekends or overnight trips, to concerts, and out for dinner at new funky places.

It took some time for me to be comfortable with my own company. I would feel anxious and isolated when I’d go away on my own. I felt lonely when I’d see other people dancing with their friends or partners. I was jealous that they could do these things that I was interested in with their friends.

But eventually I got used to my own company. It was nice not having to talk all the time or to meet other people and talk to them. There are no expectations when you are by yourself. You can sit for hours, or go on a hike and not have to worry about walking too slow or needing to stop to breathe.

Sometimes it is nice to take some time to be by yourself without your phone or computer. I spent my time on Salt Spring exploring the beaches, sitting in the bath out on the deck, sitting in front of the fire, reading, watching the birds and sea life, and taking photographs.

Being alone allowed me to process my thoughts quietly and to be at peace with myself. I would highly recommend everyone take a mental health weekend and to enjoy your own company.

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2 Responses

  1. Moira says:

    I really enjoyed this post. Traveling alone has so many benefits! But it can also be overwhelming and lonely – you are incredibly brave for sticking with it. Thank you for sharing.

    P.S. Your photos are beautiful!

    • Avery Rouse says:

      Traveling alone definitely takes some getting used too but once you do it really is a great experience! Thank you for the compliment on my photographs as well 😀