Why I travel solo?

Photo of Why I travel solo? by Trisha Mahajan

Imagine a time and space in this very universe, in this very lifetime where nobody knows you. You can be whoever you want, do whatever you want. You fear no judgement, no burdens. It's just you and the life you want to build – even if momentarily. This is why I travel solo.

I am Trisha, a 32-year-old woman, a wife, a mother, and a communications professional. In everyday life, this is my identity. While travelling on my own, I am Trisha, a traveller from India if someone asks! This year, I backpacked across Eastern Europe. This was my third solo trip, my first one after having a child. I got a lot of questions thrown at me – why travel alone when you have a husband? Won’t you miss your child? Who will take care of your daughter? None of these questions were asked of my husband when he went on a 20-day trek last year. But that’s just a side note. These remarks and raised eyebrows don’t bother me anymore. I do have a lot of people, especially women, supporting me as well, for which I am grateful.

But anyway, coming to the point, after I came back from my solo trip this year, a friend asked, “So what is it you do on a solo trip that you can’t do with someone on your side?” And while explaining to her my reasons, I realized that no matter what I say, she will not understand. And you know what? That is okay. Solo travel is not for everyone and not everyone likes being alone. But I do; I love to travel alone. It does not mean I do not enjoy travelling with my friends and family. They are not interlinked. So, I could not explain to my friend why I like to travel solo, therefore, I decided to pen it down. A disclaimer - for those who know me, know that I love to write and write and write. It is quite evident from my previous blogs. But to keep up with the latest trends, I have tried to keep it short and limit my words (and my words alone, not my thoughts!). So here it goes:

I travel alone because it builds character. When you must do everything on your own in a new country and a new setting, you grow. You grow in ways you wouldn’t have imagined. Your perspective changes, your horizons expand, and you become a different person.

I travel alone because I have made friends for life. When you’re with your friends, you’re in your comfort zone. You are happy hanging out with the people you know. But when you are travelling alone, you have no choice but to interact with strangers, to hang out with people you don’t know. And trust me, sometimes you make friends for life and other times you make memories to cherish forever.

I travel alone because I feel liberated. Once you taste the freedom of travelling alone, you can never go back. You are free to be yourself; you are free to do what you want; you are free to be who you want to be. On my last trip, out of habit, I was doing all the touristy things I was conditioned to do. I wasn’t necessarily enjoying it. I cribbed to one of my dormmates in the Budapest hostel I was staying in, “I wish I could just take it easy, sit at a café all day long and do nothing. I don’t care about all the castles.” He looked at me confused, “Then what is stopping you? You are on your own, you can do as you please.” And it hit me. He was right. I didn’t have to follow any set rules of a vacation. And post that point, I did what I wanted, and I loved every moment of it!

I travel solo because I have always found magic when least expected. Trust me when I say, you’ll have something magical happen to you. Solo trips are not always as rosy as shown on those Instagram reels. They can be dull, lonely, and sometimes frustrating. But then magic finds you in places and times you least expect. Experiences you least expect happen. And those little magical moments remain special for life.

I travel solo because it has opened my mind. I am a small-town girl who moved to a metro city at 18. That changed my perspective on life. I met people from across India and was introduced to different cultures. If meeting people from different parts of India could broaden my mind so much, what could meeting people from around the world do? You meet travellers from different cultures, mindsets and lifestyles and you never think the same way again.

And last but of course not least, I leave my everyday life behind to find myself and come back refreshed. Living the same life with the same people can become monotonous for restless people like me. Going out and doing my thing away from everyone I know rejuvenates my energy to come back and live and appreciate my life with much more force and vigour.

And for lack of a good ending to this article, I would say that these are only some of the reasons I love to travel solo!