Seven months ago I embarked on a solo journey that forever changed my life. Sometimes in life, alone chooses you. The trip wasn't even my idea. It was my husband's crazy suggestion as a way of rebuilding my self-confidence after corporate America gave me the shaft twice in a year. I spent a month committing, then immediately talked myself out of it. One day near the end of June 2015 I decided, no more backing out. I was going for it, and I was going by myself! I set out for 27 days on a solo trek of the entire Superior Hiking Trail.

I often told teenage students in my Sunday School class that being scared wasn't an excuse to not do something. I have followed my own advice throughout the years, whether it be at a job interview, crossing a steep mountain pass with a drop-off on both sides, or other endeavors when I felt scared and unsure. I believe that having courage doesn't mean you aren't afraid. Courage means you move forward anyway.

There are lessons that can only be learned by being alone. I had to learn to accept incredible vulnerability. On the trail I went for hours and sometimes days without seeing another person. I often did not have Internet or phone connectivity. I was cut off from all support and human contact. It was during those times that I had to evolve from relying on the support and positive influence of others to believing and trusting 100 percent on myself. It gave me plenty of time to think about where I want to go and who I want to become.

I learned that I could trust my own decisions. Right or wrong, I could rely on my best judgment and things would work out. I could believe in my instincts and intuition.

I came out knowing I am capable of accomplishing so much more. I now have an incredible sense of self-worth and self-reliance. I finally had the courage to leave a career that was making me so stressed that I was ill. I am pursuing a lifelong dream of business ownership, opening up new opportunities for me. It is my greatest vision to give others the opportunities that I have been given to become a better version of who they are.

Karen L Amundson lives in Savage, Minn., and is the Chief Adventure Officer at KLA Outdoor Adventures. Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is on her personal bucket list.

Karen L. Amundson recommends these books about solo journeys:
Be the Exception: Your 7 Steps to Transformation by Annie Meehan
Any and ALL of the Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
Growing Through the Narrow Spots by Ruth Bachman
HikerTrash: Life on the Pacific Trail by Erin Miller
If the Battle Is Over, Why Am I Still in Uniform? by Brenda Elsagher

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