Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, said, “I like good strong words that mean something.”
Those particular good strong words of hers are one of my favorite quotes. I’m a lover of words and one good strong word I’ve recently learned and fallen head over heels in love with is: solivagant. I fell in love with solivagant when I realized that it explicitly describes who I am–both my inner Self and my outer Self!
A solivagant is a solitary wanderer. A person who revels in the act of wandering alone–preferably in destinations and locations they have not previously visited.
As a writer, I am most definitely a solivagant. Writing is a journey into the unknown–to destinations and locations we’ve not previously visited. As writers we journey to take an idea and pull it from the unseen into the seen by putting words to it. Then we put the words together in a way that not only conveys our idea but also makes sense to our potential reader. Then we do it all over again. Our solitary wandering into ideas that become words that become stories that become our work makes us solivagants.
So if you are a writer, you are a solivagant. We must revel in the act of wandering alone–otherwise we’d never write anything! Personally I hold writing to be mythic in its essence. It’s the hero’s journey every time we pick up the pen.
As for my outer solivagant–I am a daily walker. I walk alone and I frequently wander. I delight in visiting a new park, a new trail, a new river walk or neighborhood or city. On my walks I find inspiration, solutions to problems, a sense of calm and peace and empowerment and always a return to myself in the rhythmic, simple movement of walking.
I’m often asked why I prefer walking alone and it’s because of that sense of returning to self. While I enjoy (and prefer) walk and talk meetings to “sit down” meetings, and I love hiking with family members (that’s a tradition), my daily walks are a time for me to re-center, recalibrate, refresh, and renew. I can only do that in silence, and the awareness delivered through my five senses, my feet on a trail, a view in site, and a curiosity for what’s around the next bend.
We women who want to grow and change are all solivagants in terms of the inner journey to destinations and locations not previously visited. And if you were to take up wandering by yourself in the physical world as well, you’d be a twofold solivagant–like me.
J. R. R. Tolkien famously said, “Not all those who wander are lost”, and solivagant or not, I never feel lost, rather I wander to find myself–in both the inner and outer journey.
So embrace your solivagant and go for a wee wander. You might like it. You might just find yourSelf.