Hope you enjoyed the first post in this series! In my last post I did mention the challenges/excuses that could hinder your solo trip plans, but then there are greater reasons why I think you are going to defy every one of those excuses.
- Solo travel gets you right out of your comfort zone. Sounds pretty discomforting for sure. But the results will elate you! For instance, I am someone who would hesitate to even ask a stranger for directions. But when left on the streets of Shillong to find my way around, I started asking for directions, enquiring about the best places to visit for sightseeing, shopping or even food, to an extent, I gathered the courage to say a warm hello to passers-by without fearing their response. And ola! this worked in my favour.
- It is a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. While there could be some of you who already have an abundance of friends or some others who aren’t too social (just like me, I fluctuate between being an introvert and an extrovert) – all of who think that they really don’t need to solo travel to make new friends. I still insist you should. A new place gives you an opportunity to meet people who would be very different from you, in terms of their culture, beliefs and perceptions. And it will be a different experience altogether to probably know a Finnish couple who quit their jobs to start a homestay in Ooty or a Tamilian who settled in Sikkim to start a tea estate of his own. Everyone has a unique story to tell.
- It broadens your view of life exponentially. Yes, though we all know it, it’s only when we travel that we realize the massiveness of the world we live in and the minuteness of our own survival here. It makes us appreciate the life we have and gives us all reasons to live it even more passionately. And not to forget, the more people you meet and the more stories you hear, the humbler and wiser you become.
- And ultimately, it gives you all the time to self-introspect. Here’s a chance for you to re-look at your own life without any opinions or influences from others. A time that is only yours when you can make personal decisions on various aspects of your life – to improve and nurture it better.
That leaves me with a few quick tips for solo travel, put together from my own experience:
- Travel light: Trust me, when I say light, it must be twice as light as you have in your mind right now. That stops luggage from being an excuse for not doing a lot of things.
- Trust your intuition: They say it’s wrong to be judgmental but when you are a girl and traveling solo, I think, you can be excused. Sometimes you may have the strong inkling that this isn’t the right place to be in or the right people to be with, then don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to excuse yourself and walk away.
- Not everyone is ‘bad’: Travel, especially when solo, brings back your faith in humanity. Though I travelled solo only once till now, in this one journey I met people who went out of their way to help me find transport, served me tea even when I didn’t have money to pay them, accompanied me to places since I didn’t know the local language, gave me accommodation at discounted rates and the list goes on.
- A flexible itinerary: Planning to the ‘T’ isn’t the best idea. I’m quite organized myself and it came as a relief to let go and not plan everything. That left me with enough choice to stay on longer at places I liked and pack up faster from the ones I didn’t.
- Opt for shared accommodation: It’s a blessing for budget travellers – dormitories, paying guest accommodations and hostels. And not just that, you get to meet new people with shared interests too.
- Explore ‘more reasons’ to travel: Sightseeing needn’t be the only reason for traveling. That can definitely be the add-on. You could probably visit a place to volunteer for a social cause you support or to learn something new, say yoga or scuba-diving.