Spending time alone in the wild used to be quite common for centuries. As part of initiation rites or when in need to (re)connect to deeper layers or to sense the right way forward in line with your natural purpose. A beautiful book about the value of this time spent in the wild is Iron John by Robert Bly. It describes the value of recognizing and embracing your ‘dark’ side in order to become ‘one’ and move forward again. I can especially recommend the first half of this book (it only deals with the male side of things though).
This practice has been lost but moving out in the wild whenever needed is still recognized as a valuable tool for heeling and connection to our natural selves. Even less extreme varieties (shorter in time and rigor) prove to be effective when initiated for the right reasons. Tarchin Hearn offers a brief online introduction in ‘Commonsense retreat‘.
My first experience with this type of retreat wat in Africa with the Foundation for Natural Leadership. The foot trail in the Umfolozi game reserve in South Africa was a good introduction to this practice. Longer solo retreats should be well prepared and / or properly guided. Some of you might have seen the movie ‘Into the wild‘. It shows the healing power of retreats in the wild but also the importance of going in well prepared.