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Solo Travel - 3 reasons that are a hard yes

Updated: Mar 26

When I started off on my first trip, it was 2017. Solo travel as a concept was just picking up. Rather, solo travelers was a more familiar term, albeit heard of sporadically. Within this small yet surprising world, running into a woman solo traveler was rare. We were still phrasing it as ‘going on a trip alone’ or ‘spending a few days on my own before meeting others’.  Of course, travel businesses welcomed us but that’s completely different from powers that be deciding, designing, and rejigging details specifically for us.

Today to say ‘I’m a female solo traveler’ is a bold statement, a proud one. I feel slightly old when I say it though, calling to mind all the misadventures and makeshift solutions that today’s travelers would never have to know. In other words, the world is ripe with possibilities and the stars are perfectly aligned.  If you were waiting for a sign, this is it -- it’s time to embrace your solo traveler era.

As of Dec 2023, solo travel contributed a whole 11% to the travel industry in India. -HT Lifestyle Picture This.

You go on an International trip with your family or with your close cousins. You threw in your money, everything was handled and pre-planned, you just had to live it. How seamless! Now picture going on a trip with just your friends. The very fact that a trip has made it out of a Whatsapp group gets the entire gang going, everyone’s involved, a few take lead on the key parameters. You were somewhat uncertain, but when you get there, a little flexibility allows the spontaneity bug to bite you. Stay with me, now picture going on a trip with just your bestie. Between two people, your hands are full. Accommodations are okayed with just another vote, your to-do-list is the coming together of two worlds. Till the day you get back, you’ve had a wild time, intimately shared with someone who mimics travel like you. The industry saw a 200% increase in searches related to solo travel from April 2020 to April 2023 alone. - Google Trends Data.  So why not go full solo? Almost every other person has walked to the brink but hasn’t dived in. Whether it’s well-meaning family or worried friends, traveling alone has maybe been daunting. The very thought of taking out days from work only to be put back in the chair of countless decisions can steer you back. Where to stay, how will I manage, I will get bored - I’ve heard so many voices but as cliched as it sounds ‘you’ll never know if you never try’.  When I share my stories I never force anyone to become a solo traveler. I just insist that everyone tries it at least once in their lives.  Here are my top 3 reasons why solo traveling in India isn’t as scary, overwhelming, or as difficult. I’m not addressing female versus male solo travelers in this blog, because ideally that should never factor in your decision making. Travel is Therapy It’s amazing who you become when you’re on your own. I cannot even begin. The last 8 years of solo travel has taught me that everyone has an immense reserve of curiosity, strength, and human compassion. You tap into this only when you’re faced with situations, awkward conversations, unknown places, and most importantly loud silence. Sit with this silence, it is golden. The hours I spend back in my accommodations with myself is the most crucial, restorative, and indulgent part of my day. In the absence of another, their chatter, thoughts really hang in isolation. You spend an offensive amount of time in your head - decluttering, processing, accepting, and forgiving yourself. Going Solo = Being Selfish With the reawakening of some core version of you, comes the natural tendency to experiment freely and try new things. You can dress differently each day, speak a language you were apprehensive about, pick things on a menu you’ve always wanted to try. You have the excess of time to just let yourself be, and see what comes out of it. I run into travelers all the time who have found their life-sustaining passion for photography, music, art, or even food purely by accident on these trips. Countless times I’ve changed my mind. I might cut back on a photo walk, skip a crowded spot, spend longer in a cafe, have dessert for breakfast. I do it just because I can. How many times can your decisions not have any bearing on anyone except you? And what does holding that kind of power make you feel like? You’ve got to try. Finding New Homes Ray Bradbury says “Half the fun of travel is the aesthetic of lostness.”  and I cannot find something more fitting. I feel that before one does solo travel, there is the world and there is the individual. The fears arise out of this division, and the assumption that the world is something to be wary of, alert around. In reality? The world is you, and you make the world. How then can you see it as alien, a place you’ll be lost in? On my travels, I’ve always been blessed with helpful, kind strangers more than the intrusive kind. I spend the first 2 hours in a new place observing and this little trick goes a long way. I study the landscape, the local drivers, the signages, and more importantly how I can orient myself for this world. I intuitively know how to behave, talk, dress, and ask for help. I learn how to belong. And then, there’s no question of being lost is there? It’s only adventures and stories. The biggest flip-side in all this, even if it’s a one-time experience? You get to meet the best travel companion for life, your true self. Isn’t it a beautiful thought that every place changes you just as you too can change it? You carry multitudes like this and ever so slowly it shapes you, adds to your character, and turns everyone into a storyteller of this planet. Ready to say yes to Solo Travel? Read: The Beginner’s Guide to Solo Traveling In India. 



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