A Search for Solitude – Part 1

It’s been a stressful time of late; changing jobs, the prospect of working away from home, and just general uncertainty. I found myself running loops inside my own head, so worked up about what was going on that I couldn’t see the solution for the problem.

There’s only one option when I feel like this: escape. Time to leave it all behind and bugger off somewhere remote where the only thing I need to worry about is keeping my legs moving and my water topped up. So I turned, as I always do in times like this, to the Peak District, for a wild camp.

Ah, camping. What a healing power it has. Even the fairly laborious process of getting my equipment together provides some kind of meditative relief: the mad scramble to find equipment spread between all the rooms in the house, the garage, the car, and I’m fairly sure my compass is in Narnia somewhere; the feel of of my soft sleeping bag as I ruthlessly try to stuff in to my pack; the smell of my camelback flask which hasn’t been opened since I was last in the hills and almost certainly makes me the creator of some new, innovative and probably hideous disease; and the wonderful, slightly rude almost farty sound you get when doing a bag strap up too fast. Oh yes, camping is what I needed.

It was an early start, but worth it, as glorious sun beat down on me walking to the train station. Naturally, the ticket machine wasn’t working, so I steeled myself for a berating from a guard, and boarded the train. Immediately my big pack and scuffed boots attracted attention, but unlike that usual look of combined bemusement and disgust, the man who operates the snacks trolley was desperate to know everything about my planned adventure! We talked a while, he lives local to me and told of stories of local pubs and bars, and the bands he had seen in Nottingham and elsewhere. It’s wonderful how travelling alone with the Nomad gear can open doors to people.Of course, you still get plenty of those normal looks of disbelief, but I’ve started to welcome those now.

It means I’m going on an adventure. This time, to find somewhere quiet, away from the bustle, to sit and properly think about all and everything, and put the pieces together in my head. A search for some solitude.

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