Go off alone somewhere


“The capacity to be alone is a valuable resource when changes of mental attitude are required… The capacity to be alone is necessary if the brain is to function at its best and the individual to fulfill his highest potential.”
Anthony Storr: Solitude

Winston Churchill wrote that anyone who aspires to great accomplishments must first spend some time alone in the desert. He meant this metaphorically, but it is advice I take quite literally – I try to spend at least one week every year alone or with a small group of friends in my favorite place in the world: the Grand Canyon. Spending time in the wilderness is a great way to learn about yourself, to become more grounded and centered, and to discover strengths you didn’t know you had.

I was 44 years old and recently unemployed the first time I ever experienced wilderness hiking. I went on a week-long Outward Bound trek in Big Bend National Park in West Texas. Several months later my good friend Dave Altman and I spent a week in the Grand Canyon. I was hooked. Today I can honestly say that some of the best ideas I’ve ever had have not come from carrying a briefcase, they have come from carrying a backpack.

You can learn more about the options for Outward Bound at www.outwardbound.org. One of the best ways to explore the Grand Canyon is by taking a guided trip with the Grand Canyon Field Institute; you can learn more at www.grandcanyon.org.