While hiking the Wales Coast Path I was prepared to be alone. I knew I would be before I left and I was fine with that. I thought of it as something I needed. What I didn’t realize was how lonely I would feel.
I met so many amazing and kind people that I sometimes forget how lonely I felt along the way. I have to admit that I wasn’t really prepared for it. Although I am a very social and outgoing person I never minded being alone either. For me, having to do something alone was not a reason to forget about it. I always assume I’ll just meet people while doing it, and I did. Only, I had to say goodbye the next day and move on.
Just to sketch the scene: I just came out of a long-term relationship and was processing that, and more, while hiking (read more: Why I started hiking). I had no idea what I was doing since it was my first time hiking. I didn’t have a smartphone and sending texts from abroad was actually expensive. There was a lot of rain, and I really mean a lot. Plus, I didn’t meet a single other hiker.
The loneliest I felt was when it was pouring, once again, and I was absolutely soaked. At some point I realized I was lost. The last point I was certain about was about an hour ago and not only didn’t I know where the trail was, I didn’t know where I was either. The rain slowly progressed into a thunderstorm just when I came across a campsite. I hesitated, but decided I would stay there and hope for better luck in the morning.
I stepped on the campsite and was greeted by an annoyed manager. He didn’t even let me step inside his office to take shelter from the rain while we talked. I asked him how much it was for one night in a small tent. He barked it would be (what comes down to about) €20, showers not included and there is no common sitting area. I was shocked, mostly by his way of talking to me, but also by the price. All the other campsites had been less than half of that. I didn’t have that much cash on me and he didn’t accept cards. I could offer him €10, but he didn’t accept and just turned around. I was basically shooed off the campsite and into the thunderstorm again.
And as I stood there, lost in the middle of nowhere in the pouring rain I realized I was alone. I never felt so lonely in my life.