In the wise words of Jenny Tough, ‘You’re tougher than you think’...Having run across six of the world’s most remote mountain ranges by foot, unsupported and solo, Jenny conquered social stigma to take on an adventure totally on her own terms. In forging her own path she headed off on a powerful journey of personal growth.
In the meantime, here are some thoughts from Jenny for anyone needing some motivation to plot their own solo adventure…
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
Running teaches resilience right from the start. It’s uncomfortable. There’s a saying ‘it never gets easier, you just get better. It’s completely true. The discomfort never goes away, but you become more resilient to it. Resilience is perhaps one of the key traits that anyone should take into their life. There will always be discomfort, fear, challenges, and the like. But a resilient person can weather all of that.
Some personal coping tactics to manage low points whilst on my expeditions in the mountains include: stopping to take a breather and grab a cliff bar, packing a home ‘luxury’ comfort such as a trusted bobble hat, and putting on some music to manipulate my mindset and lift my mood.
Create a list of barriers
Have you ever wanted to try a solo adventure but found there are a number of reasons standing in your way? Yeah, I’ve been there. A great practical step to getting started on planning a trip like this would be to figure out the problems that are stopping you from heading off in the first place. Get them on paper, or a Google doc, and start figuring out how to resolve them.
You’ll likely find there are plenty of simple solutions! Once each nagging doubt has been addressed, the overall idea will start to seem much more achievable. This planning will also help give you the confidence when you’re on the road that you have thought through a number of tricky situations you may encounter along the way.
Be your own cheerleader
My 950km run across Kyrgyzstan pushed this lesson to the forefront and made me truly understand the importance of backing myself and cheerleading myself. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn't have completed that expedition.
Alongside encountering stigma from people I encountered on my expeditions, you can also expect your loved ones to say ‘No don’t do that, it’s too dangerous’. I personally had my friends sit me down in a pub and list all the reasons they thought it was a bad idea for me to go travel solo. Obviously, this comes from a place of care, but thankfully I forged on regardless and persisted with my plan, believing in myself all the way. So my greatest advice to you is that …I believe in you!