*This post was originally published on v2click- Solo Vibrant Voyages
I am a complete nature buff. I love to be around greenery, forest, and snow capped mountains and I am the happiest that time! I have hiked on various parts our beautiful Himalayas with Indiahikes (Roopkund 2009, Rupin Pass 2010, Hampta Pass 2010, Chadar Trek 2013 and Kedarkantha Trek 2013). I had been wanting to visit Norway for a very long time, I guess since 2010. I would do a Google Image search for Norway and would just browse those gorgeous Fjords, mountains and greenery, and sigh thinking to myself, "How I wish i could visit this place". I had asked many friends if they would join me for a trip and they would all say, "Yes, plan for it", but nothing ever materialized. I was always dead serious but it was hard to find company of like minded folks and more over I was always dependent on company for travel. I had heard about a couple of women only travel groups but had never seriously considered travelling with them. Fast forward to April 2016, I took my first all-girls trip with Women on Wanderlust to Bhutan. I absolutely loved it! In Feb 2017, I took my second trip with them - I traveled to Singapore!
But Norway was always on my mind. It was like withdrawal symptoms after Singapore. I wanted to travel so much that between Feb and April of 2017, I drowned myself watching so many Netflix travel documentaries (one of my triggers for travel). And Netflix had so many documentaries on Norway! My God, that did it! I made up my mind about visiting Norway - with or without company! :) Towards the end of April, I had decided that I was going solo and was super excited about it! (My parents were a little concerned which is understandable... but I think I convinced them that I would be ok! Well, they had no choice. :)
First were the travel dates. I am that kind of person who can't plan travel too much into the future. E.g. I can't plan 6 months ahead! Seriously... it's like I lose interest. I am more of a live-in-the-moment, instant-plan kind of person. Of course, this is also depended on my work. I can easily see what projects I have, when I will be completing them, and when it would be a good to take some time off without my work getting affected. I also needed to keep in mind the visa processing time :( ... one the main agonies for any Indian travel enthusiast. Gosh the amount of paper work that will just suck the joy out of you. So I decided June/July would be a good time. I also knew how many days I could afford wanted to take off which was about 16 days! I checked out the air ticket prices and saw which were the best start and end dates where I could get the best deal! Tickets booked! Next was research. I had to decide which all places I wanted to see and what activities I waned to do in Norway. I browsed a lot of websites.
It's a good idea to start your planning with the official website in case you are not sure where to begin. I then started saving my locations on Google Maps.
My cousin's friend had been on a road trip in 2016 and he helped me in planning for a few locations! This did not mean that I got to visit all the locations I had marked! You see, I spent hours together on pinning down one place. Getting from one place to the other, the best mode of transport, accommodation, and cost all went into consideration when selecting a place. The sad part is I don't know how to drive so I am heavily dependent on public transport! :( I missed out on the Geiranger belt... I know that is one of the most beautiful locations, but by the time I had got my plan in place, I was so exhausted. I would start my planning and research around 10 PM every night and it would go on till about 3 - 3:30 AM! As it was my first time travelling alone, I was not sure about staying at hostels, so I booked most of my stays via Airbnb. It was only in Flåm after I did not get any affordable places that I booked a hostel and later realized that it was super safe and one of the best ways to meet other travelers! Well... lesson learnt...next time! :)
And here is my map!
Couple of highlights from my trip:
Pulpit Rock and Kayaking in Flam: I did the Pulpit Rock cruise and hike. But I did not get those gorgeous views as seen on Google Images :( It was raining that day and was very cloudy. But having come that far, I dint want to miss out. So I did the hike nevertheless. I also met a great travel mate and we hiked together! She was from Australia and was travelling solo too! :) In Flåm I visited as well as kayaked on the beautiful Aurlandsfjord and saw some breathtaking scenery.
Trondheim to Bodø Train Journey: I got to cross the Arctic Circle baby! After watching one of the Netflix documentaries, (Slow TV: Northern Railway, Norway's northernmost railway line), it was a must-do thing on my visit to Norway! So I did it! :) Thank God for this show that I knew exactly where and what to look for while crossing the Arctic circle! I would highly recommend this train journey.
Pet of Norway! Three out of my five Airbnb stays had pets!!! LOL. I am a huge animal lover and this made my stay even more memorable! The icing on the cake was meeting Kamosh, an adorable golden retriever in my Tromsø Airbnb stay! As soon as I opened the door, he was there to greet me with a footwear! :)
FOOOOOD!!! I am a strict vegetarian (or like how we Indian call it - pure vegetarian... to indicate no egg as well!). Fortunately in India we have a brand called MTR that makes ready to eat veg food. Just add hot water or microwave it for 2 minutes! So I survived on this plus a few great Indian restaurants where I got to eat some authentic Indian food! I made sure to review all these places on Google Maps and some of my photos from these restaurants have top top views... one ever crossing 80,000!
I also used the Google Trips app to stay organized. I just loved how the app pulled all my travel details from my gmail and organized it. It even listed all my saved places which was so cool. So I had my itinerary all in one place and did not struggle looking for bookings in my Gmail. The best part was that I had downloaded all the maps for each of the locations (offline maps) so that even when internet connectivity was poor, I dint have to worry about finding my way.
Ever since I am back, one of my favourite pass times is open Google Maps and make lists of places that are on my bucket list! I found out that there are about 55+ visa free countries for Indian, i.e.; you can get a visa on arrival! So I made a list (in progress) of those in Google Maps! lol Well, I just can't wait to travel again!
Have you traveled alone? How did you go about planning for it? What apps do you use for your travel? I'd love read about your experiences.