Solo Travel Experience #1

Photo of Solo Travel Experience #1 by Shruti Angiras
Photo of Solo Travel Experience #1 by Shruti Angiras
Photo of Solo Travel Experience #1 by Shruti Angiras

A year ago, I was sitting in a beautiful glass building - the work was at its peak and so was the frustration. The usual agony caused by online articles was heightening it and telling me I should be experimenting with love, career and life in general. Instagram was showing me quotes like ‘I haven’t lived if I haven’t loved/traveled’ and ‘The one thing I owe death is life’ and Tumblr told me 'Today I should make multiple glorious mistakes’. All of which I eventually did do. Oh yes! 

So I called a girlfriend who had her own set of miseries and cried and told her I want to elope for a bit. Maybe feel like I’m in a movie. Find some love, life and maybe a better story to tell people at parties -the usual deal. Then I took a leaf out of JRRT’s book and decided to go on ‘an adventure’. After multiple panic attacks and disbelief at having booked my tickets, I knew there was no going back. I had to do this. In my head I was a cross between Bilbo Baggins and Naina. (Yes a Ye Jawani Hai Diwani and Lord of the Rings (The Hobbit) reference was just made in the same breath!)

However mine is not a movie story. I didn’t find love. I didn’t find a purpose. I didn’t find a dragon in a cave full of gold. I didn’t even find ‘the one ring to rule them all’. I just felt freer and happier and more exposed to our society- of course there were a few instances of stalking, a few insulting gestures and some concerned looks. Looks that judged me for being there out alone on a train in the middle of the night, looks that told me I shouldn’t get off at a station where the train halted and most certainly not light that cigarette even if I do get off, looks that questioned my upbringing for having lit it and looks that judged my parents for letting me get out of the house and having the audacity to do this.

But this and maybe a little worse was what I was prepared for. What I hadn’t thought about was:

1.    How liberating this would feel.

2.    How overwhelming the sights and smells would be.

3.    How things wouldn’t always go as per plan but I will be alright.

4.    How the only person responsible for my safety and existence in that moment is going to be me.

5.    That a brave face and some compassion is what I need even if my views don’t jive with those of the other’s around me.

6.    How I am doing this for me and not some silly little travel story I would want to tell people holding a fancy drink once I’m back.

7.    How waking up early in the morning for a hike just to catch the sunrise will make up for the months of rising early to reach work, grudgingly. 

8.    How I will be so overwhelmed in each moment that passes me that I will forget to feel scared or take pictures.

9.     How being touristy and still taking pictures is ok.

10.  How not everyone who helps you does it out of ulterior motives. There is kindness around us but never throw caution to the winds.

God. Them feels. So many of them. Oh how happy I was to feel them!

So anyway in hindsight Naina grew up. The hobbit went on an adventure. Because you know what? Maybe ye jawani is sach mein deewani and Bilbo Baggins can help slay dragons. Only if you pick up that bag and leave home. Once.