Arriving for the night. I am aloneAn airplane hundreds of miles away,I am aloneA voice. Inside not outside
Keeping myself busy, I am aloneDistraction is not the keyI am aloneWhere is this voice coming from
Time to sleep. I am aloneI begin to listen. I know this voiceIt is my own.I am with me, I am never alone
The story behind the poem
I remember it well, my first solo multi-day backpacking trip. I decided to give it a try in Western Australia, a 7-day stretch, roughly 30km per day. I kept myself and my mind busy by listening to music or being amazed by nature. But at night, camping alone in the middle of nowhere, I became scared and confused. The first time in my life, I had no real external distraction. I have nature for myself, and nature has me.
During the next day, all the worries/voices were gone. But as soon I arrived at the next campsite, the same feeling surfaced and I did not know what to do. It was too much. I planned to hitch back to town after the next night. I couldnt bare the loneliness. I thought and felt alone and I couldn't be with myself, since I have never learned how to be.
I had one more overnight before I was able to get back to town. And then, completely unexpected but destined, I crossed paths with a middle-aged woman who was going to camp with me that (last) night. After having ramen noodles and sharing my thoughts, she was able to wash away all my worries and anxiety.
She told me, "it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed by all those thoughts and emotions, since for a long time, you have never heard or noticed them." I went from a life with a job, friends, sport and activites, to hiking alone in the outback of Australia. Before, I had never taken the time to listen to my inner voice. I never gave it space. Here in the outback, which is an unhuman place for someone living in the city, space and time are omnipresent.
With every hike and later meditation, I have learned to be more and more comfortable with my own emotions and thoughts. It is challenging in the beginning to take time and give space to your inner voice. It might have been trying to tell you something for a long time, but in the end, you might never feel alone again.
© Sebastian K 2021-11-29