For many years, I contemplated going out for a solo hike. But the thought of facing the wilderness all alone did not seem all that appetizing in the beginning. A number of times I planned a solo hike and every time my plans came crashing down due to a lack of self-belief.

Last month, finally, I decided to take the plunge and set out for a hike without my trusted companions. I started my voyage with a stomach full of butterflies, hoping that my years of experience would be enough to see me through. The events that transpired were humbling to say the least, but that is a story for another time. With the success of my first hike, I hit the trail again the following weekend, and felt more at ease with myself. With the solo hikes, I got to know myself better and gained a lot of confidence. I encourage you to follow in my footsteps with a few tips to make your first experience successful.

1. Be Well Prepared

Being well prepared is quite a broad term. One can be fully prepared for an adventure in terms of their knowledge, but any gaps in your knowledge can cause major problems down the road. As you cannot fully fathom the external factors, you should try to figure out a way to manage your own personal preferences. In case you find it difficult to navigate through a trail on your own, keep a compass and a GPS system handy. It is not a bad idea to have a printed out map in the backpack, in case you lose internet connectivity. People who generally rely on others for setting up a camp should practice tent construction at home, preferably under supervision.

2. Breakthrough the Boredom with Books

Wildlife and inclement weather are not your only adversaries during a solo travel. The biggest foe during a solo hike is boredom. You are sure to find a lot of time on your hands whenever you camp. Instead of letting the boredom defeat you; beat it by devoting your free time to reading. Take advantage of all that freedom and finish off all your reading material in the tranquil surroundings.

3. Share your Itinerary with Loved Ones

You should always be prepared for the worst on your solo travel. Sharing your itinerary with the loved ones will let them track you in case you do not reach your destination in time.

4. Get Interactive With Locals

Man is a social animal and lack of company throughout the hike does not go too well with his nature. Interacting with locals provide you with an interesting way to learn about their culture and break through the monotony of a hike. You also learn about new places to visit by communicating with the local population. I learned about a wonderful waterfall during my last solo hike. When I brought my friends to that location on my next group hike, they were greatly moved by its beauty and thanked me for bringing them there.

5. Memorize Key Locations

It is hard to remember the whole route during a hike. Instead of memorizing all the directions, focus on key locations and cram them in your brain. You cannot always predict what will happen on your travel to an unknown place. By keeping the information of important places in your mind, you will never lose your way. Navigating through areas without looking at a map will make you appear confident and more like a local than a tourist. This will keep shady characters at bay who otherwise may try to swindle or deceive you.