Most people who take the exciting step into the world of trekking describe it as an absolute life-changer. We spend our time rushing about from A to B whilst worrying that life is escaping us, but trekking is a brilliant way to ensure that we use the gift of being alive to do more than merely survive.
While getting into trekking is a step you’ll never forget, there are some cardinal beginner’s rules. Take the right gear, know the area and the culture, get into physical shape, and perhaps the most important of all – take a buddy or hire a guide.
Firstly, solo trekking is pretty lonely. But it’s also scary, you can get lost, you can run into sticky situations, and you can hurt yourself. But once you’re a confident trekker, going it alone is definitely an adventure to put on the bucket list.
Take Nepal, where trekking with a buddy or in a group is an experience you’ll all never forget. Nepal is spectacular no matter who you’re with, but trekking alone is a unique and completely different experience entirely. It’s good for the spiritual mind, for developing your personal responsibility, you can go at your own pace, face your fears, and change your plans without having to consult.
Must Read: Nepal Solo Travel Guide for Women
However, a few years ago the government of Nepal actually considered banning solo trekking altogether, arguing that it’s too dangerous (http://www.markhorrell.com/blog/2012/why-nepal-is-the-worlds-best-destination-for-solo-trekking/). In the end, common sense won the day, as Nepal is renowned as being one of the best places on earth for solo trekking, thanks to its combination of incredible scenery and the absolute best trekking infrastructure.
But for obvious reasons, solo trekking in Nepal cannot be taken lightly either. You need to have done your homework, drawn up a detailed plan, and – perhaps most importantly of all – be absolutely prepared physically and mentally for whatever challenges lie ahead. After all, you want a solo adventure you’ll never forget – but you also need to get back in one piece in order to bank those incredible memories.
Not sure where to start? Here are 8 indispensable tips for a solo trek to Nepal:
You may be going it alone, but that doesn’t mean you need to make your plans a secret. We all saw 127 Hours, and the simple thing that may have saved Aron’s arm was at least telling a buddy (https://www.backpacker.com/skills/solo-hiking) what he was planning for the weekend.
To take it a step further, why not update your buddy about your location whenever you can as well? If you write an actual itinerary, give a copy to someone, and consider carrying GPS technology that will plot exactly where you are.
Prepare to be Alone
While planning is important no matter how many people are in your party, when trekking alone it’s all up to you.
This makes researching your surroundings and reading every Nepal travel blog you can find all the more important. When you hit those trails, the natural features and the plant and wildlife should not be a surprise, and you should also have major reference landmarks in your mind (https://www.bookmundi.com/blog/top-12-best-treks-in-nepal-snapshot-overview/).
Prepare the Body
As a trekking enthusiast, you already know that those trails can take their toll. Sore muscles and blisters are one thing, but shin splints and stress fractures are also extremely common – and you’ll have no one to complain to or support you.
The best way to acclimatize the body is by actually trekking, initially carrying not much but eventually increasing the weight in your pack. If the weather or time are a factor, trips to the gym can even be helpful – and be sure to use the treadmill’s gradient features and, if possible, a climbing or stair simulator.
Also bear in mind that solo trekking isn’t just solo hiking – everything that needs to be done physically will be done by you, and it’s these extra tasks that can contribute to physical and mental exhaustion.The world is yours to conquer. #solotrekNepal #travelNepal Click To Tweet
Break in your Gear
There’s almost nothing worse than getting onto one of the world’s most spectacular Nepalese trails, only to regret not having broken in your hiking boots first. Solo trekking is tough enough without being in physical pain every step of the way.
We’re not just talking about walking around the block, but doing kilometre after kilometre after kilometre on uneven ground, both uphill and downhill. Only then should they get the tick of approval. And if in doubt, take the old faithfuls!
Although you need to be well equipped, trekking solo afford you the luxury of packing lighter. You’ll need less food, water and trekking gear, and you’ll be glad of that lighter load when your back starts to creak and you can’t offload something heavy onto your buddy.
Prepare the Mind
If you think a group trek is tough mentally, wait until the only response to your audible anxious is the cry of a bird or absolute silence.
When those bad days arrive – and they will! – you need to be ready. Imagine the worst possible day – a cold, early morning, wet socks and teeming rain. Now imagine it’s day 3 in the same situation, and you haven’t uttered a single word to another soul. If that sounds tough, make your first solo trek a day-tripper.
An almost Zen-like disposition, a commitment to the goal and a positive state of mind are arguably much more important than physical preparedness, so make sure the trail you pick is something you’re pretty sure you can deal with mentally.
Be Ready for an Emergency
Not only will you be doing all your own setting up, carrying and cooking, you’ll also only have yourself to rely on if something goes wrong.
Priority number 1 is your health and safety, so if first aid basics are a bit foreign to you, consider doing a short course. You’ll need basic medicines and first aid gear in your pack, and be aware of the early signs of dehydration, hypothermia and altitude sickness and what to do about them.
A great place to start is a Nepal blog, where you can read all about solo trekkers who took on and overcame all the sorts of challenges you’re about to face.
Listen to Yourself
Finally, while you’re going solo for the sheer pleasure and challenge of it, never forget that the person who knows you the best is you. Remember, when you’re trekking with someone else, part of assessing a risk is knowing that someone is there if it doesn’t quite work out.
Trekking alone means the only thing giving you advice is that quiet voice in your head. You know what you’re really capable of, so if that voice very clearly says ‘No!’, it’s probably a good idea to plot an alternate course and live to trek solo another day.
Ready to go solo? Tripfuser’s Complete Guide to Trekking in Nepal will help you plan and execute a safe and adventurous solo trek through spectacular Nepal – so that when your buddy asks ‘Can I go with you next time?’ you may well answer ‘No way!’
About the Author
Dominic is a freelance writer based in Sydney, Australia with a background in communication and journalism. Travel, technology and related topics are specifically what he enjoys researching and writing about. He draws inspiration from his adventures around the globe. In his spare time you will find him planning his next getaway or exploring nature trails around Australia and the rest of the world.
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