An introvert who for decades has worked in a field requiring extroversion. It's not so much that I like solitude but that I require it which is why I find chances to escape to it so I can recharge, reset, refresh, and think things out.
Many ancient and traditional societies had rites of passage that involved going off on one's own to find oneself.
In solitude, you don't have the distractions of others, or the bustle of everyday life; you are forced to commune with yourself.
Some people like that, some don't.
It also facilitates communion with God/gods/spirits, if they are part of your belief system.
There is also the thrill of self-reliance (if only as a momentary illusion), which is something one cannot have so much while immersed in a wider society.
I know guys who will go hungry vs going to a restaurant by themselves. I never did get that. Don't know if they are just the uncomfortable with themselves or if they mistakenly think others will think ill of them.Well said. Many people are uncomfortable in silence these days, as they start to hear their own thought. I am not saying it is easy, not at all.
I had autumn break last week. I was spending first three days by myself and my dog in rural area. I loved every second of it. Then, my girl friend came to see me for day and a half and went back to our home as she had to return to work. That moment when she left I felt uncomfortable, out of place.
I am smiling as I type this. I guess people who are "spiritual" are supposed to seek solitude, huh? I think I am spiritually aware, but I do not like being alone for long periods of time, like more than overnight.
OK, but still, I think, "Why do it alone? Whether on a mountain or elsewhere, why?" I have an answer or two of my own, but I would like to get yours.
"Spiritualism" plays no part in my need for solitude, especially when outdoors.
When I was younger I found that hiking with other people slowed me down. Everything took longer and became more complicated with less flexibility. Hiking speed, on-the-go changes, logistics, trip planning, meals, setting up camp... everything about group traveling was simply less enjoyable. And there was no sense of independent accomplishment at the end; whether you made it or not was completely dependent on whether the group made it or not.
Now that I'm older, I only hike alone so that no one else can see how slow I am. And of course the sense of independent accomplishment remains a critical part of why I go outdoors at all.
Not to mention the alignment of the stars necessary to even find a suitable hiking partner or group. Someone who has the same vacation schedule, the same level of physical fitness (good or bad), wants to do the same trips, hikes the same style and at the same speed... Not gonna happen.