According to Websters dictionary solitude is a state or situation in which you are alone usually because you want to be.
I don't completely agree with this.
I believe that solitude is a state of mind. I believe that one can be in a state of solitude even in a crowded room, even a room full of friends. I also think that, contrary to Websters, we are not always in a state of solitude because we want to be. I also believe that solitude can be both enlightening and scary simultaneaously. I believe that solitude itself can be your friend, therefore making complete solitude an impossibilty.
Why am I writing about this you ask? Well, as an avid traveler, most aften alone, I have spent more time then I care to admit in a state of solitude. Motorcycling is inherintally a solo activity. Many use it as a form of therapy, a little time alone to sort out your thoughts. Some use it as an escape, a way to run and hide from problems at home or at work. I'll admit that I have been on both sides of that fence.
Spending days, weeks, even months on the road alone will put a person in a precarious situation. Your mind will go places you never expected, through all the emotions and back again. For a long time I wondered how healthy this was, being alone so much. I've come to the conclusion that it is the best thing anbody can do. It's good for you. It will force you to find solutions to problems on your own, without the influence of anybody else, in a way that truly works best for you. You will quickly realize that the world isn't as scary as it may seem, people are better then the media lets you believe and you CAN get yourself out of a crisis situation on your own. You will begin to realize that you are a stronger, smarter person then you knew.
So often during the day, wheather it be at work, home or with friends, you are faced with a problem or question. The typical response to this is to look around and see who can help before you have even attempted to remedy the situation on your own. I'm not saying that asking for help is a bad thing, it certainly takes a lot of courage to ask for help. What I'm saying is that asking for help is not always necessary and often we are lead in a direction that may not truly solve the problem. When in a state of solitude, on the road, you must find these solutions on your own. Lets look at a very real scenario.
There you are, enjoying the peace and quite of an open two lane road. Nobody around for miles. Just you, the birds, the grasses and the road. You are really enjoying this moment until your bike starts to cut out and soon dies on you. No problem you think as you pull the bike to the side of the road, I'll just call a tow truck and enjoy the peacefulness until it gets here. There is a problem though, there's no cell service. Now, the situation becomes very real. You are alone, broken down, with no communication. This is where solitude becomes a lesson. What do you do? Panicking won't help, kicking the bike won't help. So, what do you do? I'll tell you what you do. You learn very quickly that you can and must handle this in a calm, controlled manner because you have no choice. Suddenly, your concern about loading yourself and your motorcycle into the back of some good 'ol boys pick up truck to get a ride into town is washed away. Suddenly, those shiny new "just in case" tools you bought before this trip find there way into your hand and you some how know how to use them. Now, after reaching this new level of enlightement, you watch yourself act in ways you never had. The driver of the approaching car is suddenly your new best friend, if your frantic waving convinces them to stop. You become an instant survival expert as you start scanning the horizon for signs of life or a place to post up for the night. You view your bike as a machine, a piece of equipment you can repair instead of just a mode of transportion. You watch yourself slowly becoming ok with the situation, slowly having more faith in humanity then ever before. Some how, some way, you will solve this problem. And, when you do, you will have reaped the rewards of solitude.