As a lover of solo travel, Andrew Altschul hiked the Liechtenstein Trail, a 47-mile trek that passes through all 11 of the country’s municipalities. He recounts being confronted by llamas, a cacophony of church bells, and feeling the deep satisfaction of new experiences despite being soaked and shivering during relentless rain on the trail.
I spent much of my 20s seeking out places no one I knew had ever gone, draining my meager savings for solo trips to Belize, Mexico, India, Nepal, Bolivia. At 28, I sold everything I owned and moved to Cusco, Peru, where I lived for most of the next two years. I learned to expect, even enjoy, that initial shock of aloneness, that feeling of floating in space, untethered from everything and everyone I knew. I savored the slow struggle of orientation, the sense of accomplishment as I learned my way around unfamiliar places, until the day I’d wake up and realize I no longer felt lost. By the time I moved back to the United States, I felt sure there was no place in the world I couldn’t travel to on my own. But my 30s brought my first full-time teaching job, my 40s marriage, fatherhood, homeownership. The days of ditching it all to hop on the next flight seemed long gone.