My learnings from the best and worst moments during my first solo backpacking trip

6th May 2017

All the excitement and eagerness related to any journey only fully ends when you've absorbed all of it. Everything you've experienced consciously and subconsciously counts here. Once you've phased through the movement, then there's learning. Here I've listed a few things I've learnt through the best and worst moments, two months gallivanting on "My first solo backpacking trip".

Starting off with what I've learnt travelling to five states in India, first thing is to stay a blank slate when it comes to expectations, you’ll be exposed to some amazing stuff and people.

Photo of My learnings from the best and worst moments during my first solo backpacking trip 1/1 by Zhen Paintal

Travel always does one thing,

and that's lifting of veils!


There are good people everywhere, doesn't matter what the news tells you or what you've believed to be true.

I personally pushed my patience to a level where I learnt to start being tolerant of other people, people I wouldn't empathize with otherwise. There's also new found respect for my favourite principle on personal space. It's simple, giving and taking is correlated more than you sometimes notice.

Once you start to get more patient, and more observant you also build a stronger appreciation for the little things around you. This could be anything from a couple of insects rolling up mud balls or being surrounded by a harmoniously living human community without a fight.

At the same time, while you slow things down for yourself, you've also got to balance out staying up for the test, always alert and active. This becomes a bit of a task, if suppose you're travelling alone in new territories. Getting enough rest to be able to enjoy your journey while you're also sharp is something that helped me out. I made sure I slept soundlessly well at least 4 hours, every night.

There's a ripple effect to everything, I've noticed and can honestly confirm that - to be kind at first, almost always helps.

Respecting the laws of the land or the people living on the land is something i personally always live by. This journey taught me how important this principle is, if we want to continue to maintain the originality of any place or culture.

I also started appreciating home in a different light. From the vibes around family, to love cooked meals and absolute peaceful sleep.

To not let Fear stand in the way. It’s okay to get mildly lost or not know where you're headed. Somethings you just go for, follow a road or listen to the locals, not always google.

Below are a few of my best and worst moments from 55 days, 45 thousand rupees and five states in India.

Most beautiful moments;

The sunset during a sudden heavy downpour in Auroville.

The deers running wild in the farms between Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

A dog leading the way and helping me find the mud pool while wandering in Sadhana Forest, Tamil Nadu.

The first walk into Mahaballipuram Beach, Tamil Nadu.

The persistent winds in Arrah, Bihar.

The 3,500 year old fire at the burning ghats in Kashi, Uttar Pradesh.

The last skate session at Youth Hostel in Goa.

The coastline river opening at Sasihithlu Beach, Mangalore.

Most patience required kinda moments;

The heat at Sadhana Forest (visited mid May), Tamil Nadu.

The bugs at night in Arrah, Bihar.

The long long train ride from Chennai (Tamil Nadu) to Arrah (Bihar).

Having to settle with the thought of looping the journey up and going back home.

Loosing my favourite cover-up shirt two weeks into my trip.


The list for what went right is always going to be much more than what went wrong. At the end of it, what you're meant to learn from travel/ a journey will keep coming your way, and the best and worst moments are limited here. These are just a few things I remember while I write this, and my mind is already racing to related memories.

Find out more about how I spent the first month in Goa, Tamil Nadu & Karnataka, then go ahead and check out how I spent the second month back in Tamil Nadu, then in Bihar & Uttar Pradesh.

Have a fun one!