November 2, 2016

I Like to Walk Alone: A Manifesto for the Stubbornly Independent.

Courtesy of author, Toby Israel

Today I decided to explore the mountains around Chefchaouen—a small city in the Rif Mountains of northwestern Morocco known for being utterly awash in shades of blue.

As I wandered happily along goat trails and village paths, a man who lived nearby appeared ahead of me. He offered directions, then he offered advice, and then he offered guiding services on my mountain jaunt.

I appreciated his desire to help (it seemed sincere), but I didn’t want it.

In explanation, I finally got to use a phrase that has been patiently awaiting its day in the sun for years—maybe my whole life.

Thank you, but I’m okay, I said. I like to walk alone.

And it’s true! Man, is it true. I love to go on hiking and walking adventures with friends—sometimes. But if I get it into my head that it’s a solo adventure day, I will carry that whim beyond the edge of reason.

I know I’m not the only stubbornly independent one out there. This is for us—don’t apologize:

The next time someone offers to come with you,
Answer patiently, but firmly: “thank you, but I like to walk alone.”

If they insist, resist.
If they push, push back.
If they don’t understand, explain:

“I like to walk alone, and I’m going to the mountains;
I like to walk alone, and I’m going out to sea;
I like to walk alone—I don’t want a companion;
I like to walk alone—you cannot come with me!

There’s a secret on the mountaintop,
but it can’t be heard in pairs;
There is treasure on the ocean’s floor,
and I don’t want to share;
It’s waiting for me, and me alone,
That slippery, shimmering something out there!

Another day we’ll go together,
but today, my friend, I’m going alone.
No matter the risk, no matter the weather,
I’m going—and you cannot come.”

May your solo journeys be nourishing, fearless and fulfilling.


Author: Toby Israel

Image: Author’s Own


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