Traveling with friends is always fun. Before China became my first solo trip outside India, I used to travel in a group only. However, my perception changed after my first solo travel. I enjoyed it so much that now I prefer solo traveling, over group travel.
WHAT Solo Trip, R U MAD ???
This is the general answer people gets when they say the word Solo Travel.
Why is it still a taboo to travel solo in India?
Some of the reason I can think of are followings.
Fear: The fear of traveling alone is the most common reason. Fear of “IF”. What if you are lost, what if you are in some problem, what if you get sick, what if you die. But there is an interesting quote from Mark Twain he said “I have had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened” which is true.
Unknown Territory: It is difficult to plan every move in traveling. Visiting an unknown territory always terrorizes humans.
Expense: While traveling in a group all the expense is distributed equally. However, while traveling solo expenditure has to be borne by a single person which can result in high expenditure.
Safety: Safety is one important aspect which possibly plays an important role in deciding. As being solo one need to be extra smart, extra active & extra observant to avoid any kind of mishappening.
I consider above points as a prime villain’s against solo travel. I too came across all these points while deciding on my first solo trip outside India. In general, I take calculated risk. If I know 70% of things I will do that thing. (“At some point, I had even gone for far less than 70% as I really wanted to experience that thing even if the result was a failure”)
Leap of Faith
Conquering fears are the foremost thing while traveling. The moment mind is in control things seems to get in control. First time I was about to board the flight to China my heart pounded like anything. With no history of traveling outside the country, my mind was covered with all types of thoughts. It was too hard to keep it stable. I took a deep breath drank water & promised myself not to react to any insane thoughts. I believe that“If you can’t control thing, you shall not worry; if you can then why to worry“. Sounds cheesy but I try to think of this quote in stress.
The World is there for taking 😛
So, while on the roads following were my observation.
Confidence: Stepping outside is always a challenging part. While on roads one needs to make several decisions whether it is good or bad needs to be decided in fractions of moments. Small small decisions like taking a public mode of transport or taxi, staying in a hotel or a hostel boost confidence of an individual. The more decision we take the more confident we become. With confidence fear of unknown vanishes.
Observation: While on roads it is required to observe your surrounding as anything can happen. While coming back from Mount Hua to Xian I missed last bullet train, I was short on cash to check into a hotel or hostel, thus I decided to travel back. I took a taxi to a local station which was remotely located. I observed everything which driver did to be extra sure of the situation. Sounds scary but it is one good habit to develop while on the roads.
Company of the Self: I am not much of a social bug. While traveling my mobile phone is generally switched off. I believe “If you are not happy with yourself you are in wrong company 😀“. So, I stay away from the technology & spend much of the time to understand myself, to understand nature, to enjoy little things on road. I have watched people doing a group dance to invite customers to have food in China. Saw a kid playing some instrument while trekking to waterfall. I found out “the more you travel alone the more you start loving yourself rather finding yourself.”
Adventure: Traveling solo gives a sense of adventure. In this monotonous life, it is hard to break the norms. But, with traveling alone one can do the same. There is no one to help you no one to comfort you. For some this is scary. However, it is adventurous for me. I went to see waterfall by myself in Bali, I trekked Mount Hua solo.
Health: Health is an important criteria for current generation. There are some studies which shows that traveling makes you smarter, stronger & healthier. While browsing through some of the articles. I came across a very enlighting article about how traveling changes health. Read the article here.
P.S: “I am smiling at present by remembering the glimpse of the same“. This is how traveling solo shapes you up.
Faith & Trust: One need to make a decision by himself/herself. Whether it is good or bad you are the only sufferer. I took risk of traveling in the night at 11 pm in Bali. I trusted people to show me right path while looking for an address. While looking for my hostel in Pattaya local shop owner called my host to locate the exact place for me. All these are minute things but it builds the trust & faith.
A beautiful place: I was stranded in Mount Hua while trekking; a group of Chinese people went out of the way & offered me night torch along with showing me the path. I asked for a direction from a shop owner who did not know English in Bali but explained the direction with his gestures. These small act encourages humanity in the world.
New insight: Traveling alone has its benefit you tend to meet new people’s, you get to know about their story & their traveling experience. I met many people who were traveling for 6 months & planned to travel more. I enjoy talking to new people. It’s a worthy experience to know about different cultures.
Freedom: Solo travel often comes with a freedom to do anything. No more waiting for the group to decide on an activity. While solo you can decide for yourself. I relaxed on Gilli Air beach rather than opting for snorkeling.
Memories: You come back with million of memories. Even while writing this post, my memories of traveling to China, Bangkok & Bali came into my mind. I believe that fact that it best to COLLECT MOMENTS, NOT MONEY. While traveling alone “I forever engraved my solo experiences with me. When I am old I will tell about these stories to younger generation’s 😀 (Melodramatic I know)”
Drug: Solo travel is like a drug. Once this bites you, it’s hard to come back to normal life.I did my first solo trip on Nov 15 & the very next year I went to Bangkok & Bali. This year I am planning for Europe. I truly believe it is a drug.
If a solo trip has so many benefits why not do it now when you are young & free. I did mine & truly loved it. I hope you will do the same. Hoping to hear some inspiring stories.