Traveling solo you often get many not-so-rushed moments to yourself, when you don’t have to worry about finishing everyday chores, sending out that email, or mindlessly swallowing your meals. There’s nothing to fight for your attention, there’s nothing that demands your exclusivity. These are the moments when we become philosophers, writers, or thinkers, if not any of that, at least we get the feels, for sure. Don’t believe me? Sit, all by yourself, under the night sky and tell me what happens, or out in the garden on a lazy day with a pot of warm tea, or on a cold evening, watching snowflakes falling outside the window of your homestay.
In one such moment, while I sat at my window in a cozy Airbnb, I felt like giving you a taste of what an absolute solo travel actually feels like.
I often wonder what goes on in the mind of an aspiring solo traveler or someone who hasn’t really seen the world much, while browsing through the Instagram feed of a travel blogger. I mean, traveling has become a sort of fad these days with countless posts floating around, inspiring people to leave their listless jobs and become travelers, telling people that Travel is magic, it is so much fun, It is everything, and yada yadayada.
The Truth is Travel can be all of that and even more, but not just that! Traveling is an extension of who you are, in fact it’s more like a reflection of your life. It depends on you, what you make out of it.
I have been asked, a lot lately, about how it feels to travel solo. So, I thought let me satiate some of you curious souls out there, and may be prepare the ones who want to go down the same path, at the same time. After all, it does make sense to have some expectation setting done before you hit the road. And I am here to help you with that:
1. A Solo Female Traveling Is Yet To Be Normalized: Just Know That
Sometimes, not every time, yet a dash more than you’d like, you will be asked why is it that you are traveling alone? And sometimes even weirder questions like – Are you sad? Going through a break up? Why didn’t your friends come along? Traveling solo for a woman is like dealing with those nosy relatives/neighbors, who’d never stop asking you “ When are you getting married? “ So, like you avoid such pesky people in your everyday life, you can overlook such questions during your travel too (though, I wont lie, it does get to your nerves sometimes), or just share a piece of your mind on the subject. I don’t think it’s something you can’t deal with. What has worked for me is to keep a healthy distance from such lot, they’ll get the cue.
2. It’s Not Always About An Adrenaline Rush:
It’s true that traveling solo has a special ring to it. It does fill you with confidence, a sense of independence, self-love, and a lot of appreciation for yourself. Often times when I look back at my independent travels, my heart swells with pride knowing how I navigated through the maze of life all by myself, away from home. Besides, You can plan your itinerary exactly the way you wish to, go wherever you want, and do whatever you desire, without depending on anyone else.
We all know how our travel plans turn out to be when we travel with others, one of the reasons why I like to travel with myself.
Despite all the crazy independence and fun,going solo isn’t always as rosy as it may appear on the embellished Instagram posts. Sometimes, You get lonely, especially when you see people moving around in groups or in pairs. You also have boring days in-between, and you aren’t always motivated to step out too. But trust me those are only fleeting moments and won’t prove to be much of a bummer, if you don’t choose to dwell on them.
3. Solo Travel doesn’t necessarily change your current state of mind/heart:
Traveling can be magical, but isn’t completely devoid of reality too. Don’t our Bollywood movies almost always have that doctor prescribing a vacation as a therapy – “A Change of scenery is all you need to start to feel yourself again.” Well, they aren’t wrong in suggesting so, travel does bring along a refreshing breath of air in our otherwise chaotic world, and is a great way of healing and rejuvenating, but what we carry in our body, heart or mind doesn’t just fade away overnight. We carry it with us, may be in a dormant form.
Simply put, if you decide to take a solo trip as a means to get away from your current emotions or thoughts, chances are you may bring them with you on the trip. So, if don’t find yourself jumping around and going crazy with fun, don’t take it as a trip gone waste. It’s just being human.
Also, you can prepare your itinerary in a way that you don’t end up staying indoors that much, do whatever that keeps the fun going. It’s YOUR trip at the end of the day.
4. Be Ready For All Kinds Of Experiences:
I was staying in a cottage during one of my solo travels in the mountains. It was a tad bigger for one person, but I liked the idea of getting an attic on top, so I took it. But soon the excitement gave way to a completely horrid experience.
I couldn’t sleep the first night as I kept hearing a creaking sound coming from upstairs. Though, the care taker denied the possibility of any paranormal entity visiting me at night, I did take a look in there myself, the next day, to compose my hysterical heart. Probably, it was just the old wood or may be not! You got the gist. Adventure can manifest in any shape or form, just know that.Experiences like these make you a great story teller (LOL)!
P.S. The remaining nights felt less spooky, still I chose to keep the lights in the attic switched on at night, for the rest of my stay.
Solo traveling is inviting, adventurous, and life-affirming. Does it transform our lives? Yes, it does! Social media is teeming with such people who changed their lives for good, once they brought traveling to their world. But don’t start taking yourself out on trips hoping for miracles to ensue, not because they don’t happen – But because they happen when you least expectthem!