Would you travel solo? Some notes.

A younger version of myself would have dismissed solo travel, putting it under the 'too daring, unsafe and 'not me' bracket'.

But last year, I had traveled to Andaman Islands alone. I was quite nervous for so many reasons. I had never traveled solo before. Of course, I have taken long flights alone but traveling alone by choice, that was a first.


With every important experience comes lessons and confidence, and of course, observations aplenty. Here are some notes from my solo travel experience.

People talk. That won't change, ever.

1. I wondered what people would say. That’s thought number 1 if you have grown up in India. Even if they are encouraging, what will they think? Didn't she get anyone to travel with? Did someone ditch her last moment? I think the best way to deal with this is to sound excited. People go ahead with their common sense and typically don't break your bubble of joy.

But your true folks will always support you.

2. I wondered what would happen if I made an absolute fool of myself and actually hated my own trip. There was a lot of money that was going into making my scuba diving dream happen, but what if it’s all a flop? What if I got bored? Then what will people say? Truth is, nobody is ever going to know what happened. And your near and dear ones will probably have a well intentioned hearty laugh. (You'll also know who your true folks are).

There were so many invisible barriers that I did not want to believe this trip was happening until it actually happened. After a long flight and what seemed like an even longer ferry ride, I reached the beautiful Havelock Islands.


I was nervous even when I alighted from the ferry – carrying my own bag and all. I couldn’t believe I had made it. It was happening. Wearing a pair of comfortable denims and a newly bought indigo dyed shirt from Jaipur, I walked towards my local guide.

You're never lonely.

3. I wondered what I would do if I got bored. I am not a paranoid person, nor am an introvert or an extrovert. I typically go with the flow. In the next 4 – 5 days I learnt a thing or two about myself. And a thing or two about solitude. And spending time without wifi. Every single person I met (I’m not joking – every single person) was the kindest to me. I realized there were a whole lot of other solo travelers and I didn’t feel so lonely. I had the funnest conversations from people from all over the world. I also felt humbled - there was still so much to learn and see. I was no longer scared and I cared a lot less what people would say or think.

Conversations become 'the plan'

4. I figured the kind of traveler I am. I would wake up each morning not knowing what I should do. I would have no plan or places to go. Some days I would feel adventurous, some days I would just read a book on a hammock. I was quite content in my own company and I was happy to learn that about me. I liked the uncertainty of my days - there was no itinerary on my phone for once. Random conversations could lead to potential plans, or random conversations became 'the plan'.


You appreciate slow life

5. Slowly, I enjoyed the slow life. I got to interact with locals, and some school kids. They were so excited to pose for me and take photos for me. I can not forget their big smiles. I forgot to capture moments on my camera at times. It's often said that when you're having a good time, time flies. But when you're traveling solo, you're going to enjoy the slow life - where time does not fly, and you're still having a ball of a time.

Eat, Pray, Love, Eat again

6. I did some calorie therapy. I indulged in some amazing food, smoothies and shakes. I played with adorable dogs in the resort where I stayed while I ate. I tried salads!! Being a vegetarian, I never order a salad because I have been mocked a million times. "Oh you're a vegetarian, hmm, what do you eat apart from salads?" I finally did the unthinkable. And I enjoyed munching on leaves !!!


But sometime, somethings happen

7. But what if something bad happens? Here’s the thing, about traveling, about life, about everything – not everything is hunky dory. I did have a small accident (what were the chances) – and I was in a lot of pain for the next 2 days. That in itself was an experience. I had to remain strong – knowing that nobody was going to magically fly down to see me (though my husband almost did). I allowed acquaintances to help me - I needed help. I saw a beautiful side to strangers – and a little faith in humanity was restored.

You'll live through a no Wifi day

8. Okay, imagine you have nobody to talk to and the internet also doesn't work. Ouch. I remember realizing that the WiFi signal was weak and my own internet signal was down. Initially I was irritated - I couldn't go on Facebook (at that time, I was just getting the hang of Instagram) and I felt bummed. But thankfully, I started to appreciate reality. It was not hard, with azure blue waters and a white sand beach a stones throw away. I wasn't scrolling through my timeline looking for nothing, I was actually having real conversations.


Traveling solo is exhilarating. It teaches you so much - about yourself and about the world around you. The confidence that one trip gave me is amazing.

Would you ever travel solo? Would you dare to even plan a solo trip? Do you think you’ll enjoy your own company enough that you won’t be bored out of your mind? Let me know in your comments below.

Credit:
The photos for this post are from this amazing site.

2 comments

  1. loved this article, specially i could relate to " beautiful side to strangers". you start believe in humanity on these kinds of occasions.

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    Replies
    1. True, we typically are tuned to be weary of strangers, I think solo travel teaches us to be less judgmental.

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