“There’s a psychological co-dependency that people often have. They cannot be alone; they have to be in a relationship, they have to be with friends. says Dr. Maschi. But if a person has good internal resources, problem solving skills, and [the ability to] not let emotions get the best of them, he might be stronger and might be able to withstand [being alone].”
Solitude doesn’t always have to mean loneliness. Intrepid backpackers sojourn into the wilderness seeking enlightenment all the time. Monks take vows of silences. A teenage girl sailed around the world alone in a little boat for months at a time. Kay's experience, background, and preparation gave him distinct advantages.
“Obviously you miss family and friends, human interaction,” says Kay. "But for me, I rather enjoyed some of the solitude. It really gave you time to really look within yourself. And the longer that you’re out there, the more that process just goes deeper and deeper. Even the way the animals respond to you changes. They start to accept you as just another creature out there trying to survive.”