I have been asked a gazillion times “why do I prefer travelling alone?”. And there is just one simple answer to it, because I love travelling alone. Because I enjoy my own company. And i’ve loved spending time by myself since I was a kid. And with that being said in no way I mean that I don’t enjoy travelling with my friends or family, but we all know that everyone defines “travel” differently and in my opinion all those definitions are correct. Each individual has a different approach, a different style when it comes to travelling. Someone may like getting out of the bed hours after the first ray of sun has beamed on the earth’s surface, or someone else on the contrary may like waking up at 4 am to enjoy bird watching , or maybe someone else seeks pleasure in smoking-up and spending the entire day locked up behind the door. These are all an individual’s personal choices. Travelling alone gives me the liberty to do the things I want to do at that particular moment. I won’t waste my time waiting for a fellow girlfriend who spends more time getting dressed than we would do at the restaurant or at the beach. Each individual is different and travelling alone gives me an opportunity to do activities that won’t require me to take anyone else’s likes or dislikes into consideration. After travelling to a couple of places alone I’ve learned a few things the hard way. And I’d like to share my learnings with you.
1. India isn’t as scary as it is portrayed – Thanks to Indian media , we’ve all been very pessimistic regarding the safety of a woman in our country. I won’t deny the fact that crimes do take place. But that’s happening across the globe, right. It’s not that bad things are only happening in India. Travelling alone made me realise that people are beautiful and most of them are willing to help you. The world is an amalgamation of good people and bad people, but the set of good people are definitely pulling the weighing scale down. Atleast that’s what I’d like to believe.
2. Importance of money – This one is a no brainer. We all know that money is of paramount importance to human kind. Now there was certainly no eureka moment for me regading this one since my parents have always taught us to value and be grateful for everything we have. But since the time I have started travelling alone, I have all the time in the world to observe my environment and surroundings. I came across plethora of people working in such unendurable working conditions only to provide bread and butter to their family. The mere fact that I can afford to travel for “leisure” makes me feel extremely gratified. Talking to such people made me even more aware as a person. I respect every penny more than I ever have. It’s been almost 5 months I am trying to practice minimalism. I have completely stopped indulging in impulse shopping. I haven’t purchased any apparel, makeup or beauty item in the past 150 days. We often tend to spend money on the things we don’t need because it gives us pleasure. But that pleasure is short-lived and we soon realise we never actually “needed” the thing. I have been there and done that. learnt it the hard way. But I am embracing this change with all my heart. Practicing this has also spared me with more space in my closet! :p
3. Money can’t buy happiness – Okay , so this whole “Whoever said money can’t buy happiness, didn’t know where to shop” thing is old now! The bitter truth is you can’t exchange any currency for happiness. During my trips I met some amazing people who were very content and happy with whatever little they had, and had no qualms even sharing them. I met such beautiful people who seeked happiness in giving. Money sure did help me buy Gucci’s and Prada’s and pay my bills at Hilton’s and Taj’s. But do these things make me happy? I would lie if I said they didn’t ! But can I manage to be happy without them? One hundred percent!
4. I started trusting my intuitions – With no one to guide me in the right direction, I started trusting my intuitions and taking decisions in the best of my interest. Because there was absolutely no choice. Whether it was trusting someone while hitchhiking in the dark or leaving the last bus for the day to a particular destination and hoping things would fall in place, I started trusting my intuitions with every decisions I made.
5. I realised I am solely responsible for my destiny – I realised I was responsible for every minute decision I make. Waking up on time , not missing the buses, flights or trains , eating right or making friends with the right kind of people or completely messing everything and ending up in a “risky” situation. When traveling alone there’s no one you can blame for anything. I learned to plan ahead and not wait for someone to help me but help myself. I realised I have to start taking full responsibility of my mistakes, learn from them and move on.
6. Importance of health – When travelling alone you don’t have the luxury of depending on anybody if incase you end up falling sick. I made sure I was in the pink of my health before I went on any solo trip. And inspite of taking every necessary precaution I have ended up catching flu, spraining my muscles, or with soaring high fever because somethings are absolutely unavoidable. But being aware of the fact that I won’t be able to rely on anybody incase of an emergency makes me want to focus on my health all the more. I have started to focus more on my stamina and endurance than the vanity aspect of my body!
7. I realised I was stronger than I thought I was – Now that I’ve been to places all by myself, taken responsibility of every decision I made, made some life long friends out of strangers , been in miserable situations and got out of them all alone . I know I can do more than I thought I could. As they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!
8. It’s easier to make friends when travelling alone – Solo trip doesn’t mean ending up being lonely. You meet some lovely people while travelling alone because you don’t have anyone else with you to keep you occupied. The fact that you are all by yourself makes it easier for people to approach you and vice versa. One of the perks of travelling alone is you can choose if you want to spend your time with the new set of people you met by exploring the city or just chill alone at the new found cafe reading your favourite author .
9. Travelling alone isn’t easy – I would lie if i say there are no lonely moments when you’re travelling alone. Not everything is going to be hunky dory. To lie down on the bed in sky-high fever with flashes of your parents and siblings faces popping in your head, when you haven’t been able to communicate with them for a couple of days is certainly not the best feeling. As dramatic as it may sound but it’s the reality (Inspite of being the exaggeration queen that i am, i am just being honest this time). One moment you’re having a gala time and the other you’re contemplating your decision of travelling alone.
10. I learned to face my fears – When you face your fears , they stop controlling you. Your fears are stubborn , but as my mother has always taunted me “bohot dheet hain tu” , I realised I am more stubborn than my fears. I learnt escaping is not the solution, facing them is!