AND WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE ONE TOO
The way the colours were romancing the early morning sky reflected my feelings and thoughts about this trip to Auroville- excited and full of hope. It had been a sleepless night, but I wasn't complaining. It was my first ever solo trip so far from home! I travelled back and forth from Gujarat to Mumbai all the time, but this was a long way from home.
I am writing this almost 4 years after the trip, but the brain always lights up jogging the memories from this trip. I remember how excited I was on planning this trip: from figuring out the transportation to accommodation it was all so new and exciting. As the day for the travel came closer, I was so scared and almost told my mom I don't want to go, to which my mom said you need to go on this journey and experience this too. It will be rewarding. It will make you independent and responsible. And was she right! This introvert who avoids talking to people had to make her own negotiations and deal with everyone on the journey all by herself.
I remember my flight was at 3am in the morning from Mumbai to Chennai and I had spent the night at the airport, struggling to stay awake. The boarding began and I slept on the flight immediately.Around 5am I reach Chennai and it takes me almost an hour to get out of the airport and that means I am late for my bus to Pondicherry. Okay, not really but its a close call. Why would I be late? Well, because I was attending a workshop at the Earth Institute,Auroville which was to begin at 10am. So I booked an Uber to take me to the bus depot and, in true Bollywood style(or Hollywood, if that's your preference) the cab driver left with my luggage still in the boot. I ran behind him, waving frantically to catch his attention but to no avail. I panicked for a bit and called the number that had called me for pickup. The phone was busy. You can imagine my anguish. All sorts of scenarios started coming up in my head, the mind always thinking the worst. But, luckily for me,and my anxious mind, the cab guy picked up on my second attempt and promptly came back and apologized. And off I was to my next adventure. Searching for the ticket window and explaining the people where I needed to be. With not much of a struggle, I found my bus and was headed to the beautifully scenic ( or so I was told) route of the ECR to Pondicherry. I slept on the way, waking up here and there to catch glimpses of my surrounding. What a day it was, with the adrenaline rush of the morning. I reached Pondicherry at around 9/9.30ish and took an auto to Auroville. Now, I must warn you how these autowallas would scam you and ask for crazy fares going as high as 600 bucks(!) but you gotta tread smartly and bargain. It shouldn't take more than 150-200 bucks to reach Auroville from Pondicherry depot.( ask the bus conductor to stop at the highway, that ways Auroville would be really near and the auto fare would be less too).
So for the next 6 days, my schedule was waking up in the morning at 9, getting ready, going to the workshop from 10-6pm and then explore the many many activities going on in Auroville. One day we went for a movie screening, the other we went to explore Pondicherry, and once we were lucky to catch the salsa and tango classes that are open for all!
It is crazy how much you learn about yourself when you are far from home, far from the people you're familiar with. You become your own person. You forge new friendships. You meet beautiful human beings. You realise that the world isn't as scary as we have let it become in our heads. You realise how amusing it can be to be outside of your comfort zone, and how enriching it is for your growth. You get to be anyone and do anything you like. It is a freedom like no other. You get to know how little you know of the world when you're stuck in the rote routine. Solo travel gives you the time to gain a different perspective.
So, I would urge everyone to take atleast one solo adventure, far from home, for the sheer thrill and amazement of it. Happy adventures!
Also, comment below if you would like to know more about my travels or if you would like me to post about things to do/places to see and eat at in Auroville!