Questions on Solo Travel!

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So why did I travel alone far away from home? I still don’t know. I never will know, all I know is that I was yearning for it. I didn’t have any particular aim either. All I was sure of is that this was the most natural thing I could possibly do.

Both my experiences of solo travel have been fantastic! Describing them in detail isn’t very important, as I do have similar experiences on an everyday basis too. We are travelling alone all the time in our city as well. It is just in our head how exotic we believe a place is. Where you are standing might be paradise for one but a dead end for another.

However there were an insane number of questions people asked me and I am going to answer some of them here.

1. When and where are you planning your next trip?

In an hour, gotta leave for the gym, haha! Well initially I had a list of countries, actually not a list this whole travel diary of where I wanted to go. I had drawn the world map on the first page and then I had these lists.

I threw away that diary, I really don’t know when and where is my next trip, and it has stopped mattering. When I am ready for my next trip I will get the vibe. Whichever place wants me will send out a signal. I just need to pay attention.

I am not living with the burden of * have to travel the whole world *. Where I am meant to go I will go.

That is the same for everyone. Listen to your inner voice, don’t force travel, and don’t force a vacation. Where and when you are meant to go will happen on its own.

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2.Don’t you get bored?

No. Not at all. I have people to talk to, virtually and in front of me. In fact I wish that I had more time, to introspect and write. Boring is the last thing that happens. I have become very comfortable in spending time alone, facing my inner demons and all of that. There are many ways to connect with people even if you’re not staying with locals. There will always be many activities going on which you can become a part of.

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3.How do you keep safe?

My 8 senses, I have an extra two. Kidding. Well I am more aware of my surroundings; I really do listen to that inner voice. I just get this feeling from within, where to set foot and where not too, don’t matter what time of the day and which place. Yes uncertainty of a new place, does interfere with the better judgment, but its totally up to you to decide, how much can you handle.

YOU have to listen to that inner voice, that means the universe is talking to you and it grows with time.

Carrying a laser tag or a scissor or any other smaller weapon is a good idea. Being in touch with family members, friends and that one special friend who is constantly keeping a check on you and who you are regularly updating is very important.

Do not dress to attract attention, blend in like a local. Do not consider yourself extraordinary, you are born from the same soil as others around you.

MOST IMPORTANT – YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TELL PEOPLE ON THE ROAD THAT YOU ARE TRAVELLING SOLO.

4.What do you eat? Where do you stay? How do you commute? Where do you get the money?

Normal Indian food, majority of my trip, totally avoiding any curd based dishes and salad. Maybe one day I would eat from Mc Donald’s or a pizza joint. I am a vegetarian so my meals are lighter and absolutely non spicy. I always carry a medicine bag, very particular about the water I drink. I did constantly check Zomato to help me eat at good restaurants.

If I am not able to stay with a friend in a particular city, then a hotel , which is centrally located on a main road and not, some random shady street. I never booked a hotel in advance, I would go to a place and if I got a good vibe I would stick on or otherwise move. The hotel should be well connected to the city’s public transport system. Always keep someone’s number from your hotel incase of emergency. I booked my hotels from Go Ibibo’s mobile app to get some discounts.

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I commute by foot, two wheeler, three wheeler, bus, cab, train etc, depending on whatever is available and the length of the commute.

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Yes I do try and budget my eating, living and commuting but not compromising on safety and good health. I travel when I have some savings.

5. How much and what kind of luggage do you carry? How do you maintain hygiene?

One backpack! It is a priority for me to move swiftly and with least physical strain. I carry one backpack with all my belongings, 3 tee shirts, 2 pants, a night suit, shorts, a torch, toiletries, laptop, lightweight charger and adaptor. I make sure the clothes I carry dry up fast after washing. Always carry an extra lock and key.

Next time I wouldn’t mind carrying one backpack and a lighter bag in my hand with two comfortable handles, keeping only my absolute essentials in the backpack and my clothes in the other bag. I always make sure my pants and backpack have multiple pockets with zips.

Keeping oneself hydrated is primary, squatting while using a western style toilet makes a difference. Carrying loads of tissue paper, hand sanitiser, disposable soap strips and this spray called pee safe.

NOW THE QUESTION I AM ASKED THE MOST WHICH IS ALSO THE MOST IRRELEVANT.

6. Why don’t you post anything on social media? Why aren’t you raping Instagram ?

Yes I document everything , I write and I take pictures. Honestly most of it is a very personal experience. Until I don’t see what value will it add to someone else’s life I don’t see the point in posting. Also it isn’t the smartest thing to do, to check in and leave trails on the Internet as to which location you are currently at. After all you are travelling ALONE.

7.Any advice you would like to give?

Nah. You will manage just fine. You will have a completely different experience from me and let that happen. Yes, if you are stuck, call or text me without doubt! Just keep safety as a priority. It is totally up to you if you want to read other travel blogs talking specifically about a place, accommodation and food (they can be quite useful too).

It’s your time, do what makes you happy, and you do not owe anyone anything.

Just keep in mind how to reduce your carbon footprint while travelling. Slow travel if you can.

Whatever you do remember it’s your experience and you own it, no one can take that away from YOU!

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Everyone does travel solo, yeah you too!

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Travelling solo is not reserved for a special kind. You don’t need muscles of steel and strength of a canine. It isn’t about willpower or semi planned rebellion. You don’t have to prove anything to yourself or any other human.

Solo travel has been romanticised and fantasised a little too much. Truth is we solo travel every single day, why is it, no one talks about that? All the time we spend alone commuting from one place to another alone, what is it, if not solo travel?

Solo travel is a natural state of being, yes exploring new territories geographically and cognitively might seem like an anomaly. We do it in our daily lives as well, just with reduced awareness and attentiveness, due to our habitual patterns accustomed to a certain repetitive stimuli, ignoring subtle changes.

Set yourself free from placing solo travel as anything fancy. Don’t stop yourself, from leaving home and travelling outside. If we don’t think twice, before going on with daily life, why this anxiety ? Uncertainty.

We have made travel everything but ordinary.

I understand there are certain concerns about safety, finances, accommodation and transport in a new place. One day at a time, navigating through the unknown, you will survive. Open yourself up, how small and big the world is, you will realize.

I have travelled solo, far away geographically, from home. I found it very exciting, emotional, growth inducing, this sudden unexplained wisdom coming out of my mouth and off course unusual calmness.

6 months later I would say that I am having these amazing experiences sitting at a coffee shop outside my house where I am writing this article. I am equally thrilled. I will be forever grateful for those 40 days to bring me here, but life is beautiful every single day.

6 months ago if you had asked me, I would’ve spoken as if I just got back from Disneyland, away from real life, routine life, on some high.

Set yourself free from setting solo travel away from home as a parameter of personal growth. Bloom wherever you are planted, this extraordinary life , don’t take it for granted.

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What is this word. . TRAVEL ?

IMG_9909 (1)Really, what does this word travel mean? Is it a thing, an experience, an end result, a positive reinforcement, a lifestyle, a job, a holiday? We will never know, let’s leave it open ended.

For me its plain simple movement, I travel everyday, from my house to the gym, from my house to the basket ball court, from my house to this coffee shop etc.

Again, why am I calling it travel and not commute ? Well, this is a journey I enjoy no matter the distance and time consumed every single day, no matter if I have a ticket or not these are my daily travels.

Now to be honest I’ve been travelling since the day I was born, actually everyone has. Commutes which require tickets and passports and living outside your hometown do not define travel.

Let’s shift this notion of travel as a luxury, travel as an escape to something we do everyday. Travel is a basic state of being. We are allowed to enjoy our daily commutes, its okay to be in a good mood on the way to office, it’s perfectly natural to be equally creative even while travelling to get groceries. Why not? Why do we have to associate travel as extraordinary?

Travel is not about a place or a destination, just your state of mind. You don’t want to be sitting in Buckingham palace and thinking how messy your room is!

It’s about the vibe we share with the universe. What makes it special is when we know every step we are taking is the right step ahead. Walking to the bakery or taking a flight to Hong Kong, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.

Let’s remember we are travelling all the time, even in our own city. I know these weekend getaways are exciting, but looking left and right at red lights while sat at a red light can also be fantastic. You don’t have to schedule happiness for a vacation, smiling on your daily travels will not reduce your charm.

Travel is not a separate entity. You’re never not travelling. Don’t treat it as oregano; it’s a piece of the pizza you’re eating! You’re travelling all the time, whether you see it or not, even if not outside, there is this never-ending homeostasis, always taking place inside, within you.

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