"...I'm writing this post to solicit any feedback on something that you wish you knew before your first solo trip, or just ... something that you think I should know..."
Allright some lessons I learned, or things I do, hope they will inspire:
1. Don't be stupid!!!!!!
I think this is the most important thing. Never push yourself beyond your capabilities. Don't be afraid to turn back. Retreat, learn, prepare yourself better and try again.
2. Be well trained.
The more you go solo, the more going light is important. Don't get yourself worn out because of a heavy pack. More importantly, you have to be well trained to get around easier, be faster, be safer and be able to get yourself out of a hairy spot/moment. Also, statistically you won't get injured as fast, and you will heal more quickly. This goes especially for your feet and ankles. The first time I was out alone, I was way in over my head and thought it would basically be the same effort as trekking with friends. The fact that you have to do everything by yourself takes more effort during the whole of your trip.
3. Be prepared for every eventuality
Every situation you can think of you must be able to tackle on your own. This goes for falling, hurting yourself, getting lost, and breaking your gear. Be prepared to limp or even crawl out of your hiking-area if things go really bad. If you calculate this as an eventuality, you will more likely see it as a realistic option instead of losing your hopes, when you are injured.
4. Bring lots of useful (repair)-stuff and extra's (still keep it lightweight)
This helps to accomodate item #3. This does not mean so much the Swiss army-knife but I mean REALLY useful stuff. DUC-TAPE, Tie-wraps, (compression)-straps in various sizes, plastic bags., medicin you actually have tested and know will work, etc.. These things will help you fix your stuff as well as yourself and your broken limbs. Bring extra's of your most important stuff. For example: e-tickets (one in pack, one on person), money (divided between pack and person), at least 2 memory-cards (in case you lose one OR if you screw one up, better to take it out of your cam and try to restore your pictures at home on your computer, replace with the other one so you won't overwrite your data and can keep shooting those pictures).
5. Be prepared for time-loss
Sometimes in the mountains you might want to climb the same stretch twice. First to make a track or maybe a rope-anchor, without your pack, then go back for your stuff and cross in (relative) safety.
6. Entertain yourself
Going solo sometimes means being out alone, and get bored really quick when you've finished for the day and sit on a rock in front of your tent. Although at first I found it very romantic to think I would be able to "watch the stars", "look out over the mountains" or "come to peace with myself", I found it easier through the years just to pack a good, long read. Screw the weight.
7. Don't skimp too much
Although this is BPL, and lightweight is important...when you're alone you might want to have enough of everything. This means, enough food, enough water, enough warmth, enough protection. Also bringing lots of UL stuff means generally cutting on durability. If you fall down, rip your pack, lose your stuff....you're screwed. Break your water-container 5 hours from the nearest stream in blistering heat, you're screwed. You don't have your buddy with you who can share some drops. Think about this, and cut down on weight and gear, wisely.
Think ahead, be prepared, have fun! Cheers