But, you are extra special because you came with a pinch of drama. This was the year when you were separated from your twin, J&K, and was declared a new Union Territory. This resulted in a lot of tension in the valley and it caused a lot of uncertainty to the whole trip too, primarily concerning my safety.
To be honest, I was jittery right through my planning, packing, flights and even on the first night I met you, doubting whether you were worth my maiden solo visit, especially being a female traveller and I had even thought of calling it off at the last minute inspite of my extensive research, reaching out to friends and acquaintances for their assurance of a safe travel. But, my stubborn heart refused to give up and thankfully pushed me to embark on a journey of a lifetime! I was among the first few lucky ones to able to visit you, right after you became the newest UT. This throwback would be incomplete if I do not mention the planning process prior to the journey.
Now, Ladakh is not a regular tourist spot as its high altitude makes is physically difficult for many people to enjoy throughout the journey. Also, a greater part of the trip is spent on the road so this trip is physically challenging, hence a little preparation for this trip worked wonders for me. I remember incorporating brisk walking and free hand exercises in my daily routine prior to a month and a half before I met you. I even visited a doctor for her advice and her permission for popping a Diamox if required to avoid altitude sickness (one of the common symptoms one experiences on reaching Leh due to its location). My doctor who is also a travel enthusiast was actually very excited about my solo trip and requested to update her with all the details once I returned! As I was travelling solo, I consulted one of the local travel agents for his assistance with my 9 day long trip. Sarfaraz Bhai needs a special shout out for his professionalism as well as patience (I bombarded him with concerns and questions almost every week during the planning period and he patiently replied to all!)
The other point I would love to recall and share is that I was extremely lucky that I carried a post paid BSNL sim. Connectivity in your land is very limited so it is wise to carry either a post paid Airtel or a BSNL sim (my personal recommendation is BSNL as it has better coverage even in the odd parts of Ladakh than any other network).