Why Solo?

Photo of Why Solo? by Pankti Shah

Enjoying freedom @Zanskar Indus confluence

Photo of Why Solo? by Pankti Shah

Shared accommodation @vaishnodevi

Photo of Why Solo? by Pankti Shah

Learned Ladakhi Roti @nubra valley

Photo of Why Solo? by Pankti Shah

Tried to follow south Indian culture

Photo of Why Solo? by Pankti Shah

Love them @Rishikesh

Photo of Why Solo? by Pankti Shah

Teaching English to kids @Bankikodla (Karnataka)

Photo of Why Solo? by Pankti Shah

With just became friends @Jog water fall

Photo of Why Solo? by Pankti Shah

“Are you going by yourself?”

“How can you enjoy alone?”

“Bu…but..how do you do that?”

“Is it even safe?”

If I had a penny for every time someone asked me this, I would be travelling first class to all my favorite destinations. Don’t I have any friends? Am I crazy? Did my parents disown me? Why am I going alone?

Well, It’s very simple. For me, travel is a personal experience. It’s a chance to learn more about myself; who I am and what I want from life. Below are my reasons.

1. Discover yourself

As a woman, travelling solo will not only give you confidence and independence but it will also teach you to love yourself. You would agree with me that we ladies often have this thing about comparing how many nuts we have saved for a rainy day.  Solo travel will teach you to look at the world through a different kaleidoscope. Like they aren’t cool already.

You have a whim of different people, different personalities, different seasons, different skin colours, different terrains, different food. Since birth, we have been tied down to one or the other labels but in the end,  we are all different. So, Love your individualism.

2. Freedom is more than just a word

When you are alone, there are no limitations. You can go north and things might go south, but hey! who’s complaining? You can book a train, or take a boat or you can hitchhike with a stranger. Not your thing?  You can just sit on the street for the whole day and watch the people go by. There are no rules and that’s the beauty of it. There’s no one else to worry about you so that you start to worry about yourself for once. You can eat whatever you want and sleep wherever you want. For once, you can just ask yourself what you want to do today, and then do it. In the process, you’ll learn things about yourself that will surprise even you.

3. You break down the idea of a ‘comfort zone’

Forget the days of those little pampering by your parents, telling you what you should or shouldn’t do. A female traveller no longer cares about looking her best 24/7,  you gotta get ready in under 60 seconds in the morning,  you gotta share your seat with fellow travellers and not everyone will be as entertaining, which is an entertainment in itself. You might not get the ideal hotel you wished for and so you just need to make do with the best of the lodges or dormitories around your locale. Remember, Fear is just a word which stops you from travel. I never said it’s gonna be easy. But it’s gonna be wor…. you get the idea.

4. You become a Problem solver

We all have the capacity to solve little problems &  but have never tried. So when you travelling solo, facing & fixing problems by your own is your only option.  

5. You become a money wizard

You become better at managing your money if you travel solo. Infact, solo travelling can be very cheap if you use local transport or share vehicle. For accommodation, you can choose hostels and home stays over elite suites and fixed lunch packages.   

6. Convenient for only one, YOU.

The more people engaged in planning, more it will be confusing. In solo travelling, however, you will be able to set your own itineraries, activities and dates easily. You can change plans as per your mood.

7. You Learn stuff.

Solo travelling makes you ready to keep your eyes and ears open  and learn; you get introduced to basics and greetings of different languages, you would no longer need 10 articles from Buzzfeed to learn about different cultures, traditions, cuisines. You will learn more about the world that you live in.

8. Less chat & more cultural observation

When travelling with a group, it’s more of usual chats and gossips with friends, which is nowhere wrong, but we never try to feel and understand the culture. Solo travelling gives you a chance to observe the people around you, the locality, their customs, sounds that you don’t often hear, festivals & sights.

9. You understand the four letter word ‘Love’.

A year before, I believed that love was exclusively an emotion between two people in a relationship. I may have even stretched my understanding of love to give way for animals because I love street dogs. But there’s so much more to love than just that. By travelling solo, I learned to love feelings of bliss, a sunny day, a gratitude, a clear sky, a city, a smile from a stranger, a smell I was fond of, food. I learned to love in so many forms beyond people or animals. I learned to love.

10. Faith in Humanity, Restored.

As I mentioned earlier, things can and will go wrong. Even then,  I can’t tell you how many times I have been offered help by a stranger – by someone who is willing to share his food, by offering proper information of the locality, by offering their cellphone to make urgent calls, a free ride from one place to the other, by caring and providing unconditional love to a fellow traveller… you name it, people are mostly inherently good by nature.

11. Healing in the right sense.

Whether you’ve gone through a breakup, some financial loss, life changing career move or you’ve just simply had enough of playing the game of life, solo travel will help you to heal.

12. You’re not alone anymore.

Surprised? you should be. Travelling solo doesn’t mean you’re travelling alone. From train stations to restaurants & bars, you will find a lot of people who have their own stories to tell. Trust me, you will find people who can relate to you more than anywhere near you a couple of thousand miles away from your home. More importantly, you have yourself. You can give yourself a proper time to be whole again.

I always encouraged people to travel solo at least once in their life. An adventure with no limitations, no excuses and no compromises. It might be the scariest thing you’ve ever done, but if you do it, I can promise you three things:

  • It’ll be one of your most memorable trips.
  • You’ll return home a completely different person than you were before, and people will notice it.
  • You’ll definitely do it again.

Call it a cliche or just another lifestyle choice. But travelling solo is something more than just about soul searching. It’s about changing your perspective from everything you see in front of you 24*7. It’s more about taking the next step into something unknown with only your wit and will and make yourself worthy for your next challenge in life. Believe it or not, You need this.

Keep travelling, Don’t litter. Just spread some love.

This post was originally published on CRAZY WANDERER.