Disclaimer: Before you all hate me let me tell you that this is actually a list of annoyingly compelling reasons for why you should go solo travelling !
Last summer, when our days at college were coming to an end, my sisterhood of 20-something’s, made a vow that we’d all meet up for New Year’s and go for a camping trip to Spiti. But, life took over and everyone got busy with their firsts, jobs, apartments, failed cooking experiments … And just like that, I ended up not having plans for New Year’s .
Life does this sometimes, it casually walks in to mess up plans laboriously made, which is why I decided to take the reins into my own hands and make plans for me, myself and I. I braved protestations from friends and family, packed for two, shook all the wimp out of my system, took a deep breath and set out on my first solo trip ever. It wasn’t easy, I haven’t even gone to the movies by myself and I wasn’t sure I could handle any of my usual bad luck, stolen wallets and broken knees and the lot. But, I decided to wing it. After all, how could I miss out on sleeping under a starry sky nostalgic about the year gone by and excited about the one yet to come?
That one decision to go solo travelling opened a world of infinite possibilities for me, the whole trip left me reeling from sheer exhilaration and I don’t want any of you to miss out on the feeling so, here’s why I think everyone should venture out on their own at least once in their life.
1. Coz it’s going to take you straight down the path of self discovery– Yoga, self help books and other mumbo jumbos haven’t helped me one bit to figure myself out. But as you browse through bookstores in England, go surfing in Australia, spend hours at a pub in Ireland or just soaking in the sunshine on the beaches of Goa, you will find yourself changing from the person you used to be and learn things about yourself that you never knew existed. You get so much time to focus on yourself and reach into your dork ball self that you’ll end up surprising yourself, discovering new interests like playing the cello or new tastes like relishing pig’s feet at a local market in Scandinavia.
2. Coz you’ll learn to face your worst nightmares and challenge yourself. Solo travelling is hard, challenging even. You will have to do things you aren’t comfortable with, go for hours without food or shelter, maybe not find a decent washroom for miles or get lost even. It’s like plucking yourself out of your comfort zone and going into the wild. But you’ll learn to fend for yourself and survive even if it’s pouring outside, put a roof over your head by living with the locals, hold in your pee or be okay with going au naturale and most importantly, to not panic and know that it will all be okay.
3. Coz you’ll be more open to change. You’ll often find yourself in situations where your surroundings get shuffled and muddled and you’ll be forced to deal with it, in a level headed manner, putting your head first and not your heart. You will start welcoming change with open arms, different cuisines and different lifestyles, cancelled flights and painful goodbyes, you will wander with abandon and be a warrior, not a worrier.
4. Coz you’ll make friends all over the world with just a simple hi. While hopscotching across the globe, you’ll come across half a dozen kind, anal, fun, boring, hippie souls. Their stories will get woven into yours, over 4th of July fireworks, Japanese tea parties, Durga Pujos or even under a rain shelter and these roamers will become a part of your life.
5.Coz you’ll rejoice at your new found independence. The song isn’t true after all, I don’t need someone to lean on. Each one of you will learn, to struggle and STILL make it in the big, bad world on your own.. And it’s liberating to be as free as a bird, completely in love with yourself, strong enough to face anything that comes your way, and all of that on your own!
6. Coz you’ll keep learning each step of the way, things you can never learn out of a book. You end up learning to live without borders, conversing without the need for a language, realising that climate change is real or learning even the smallest things like how to make maggi on those cold winter nights. Eventually everything you left behind starts to seem trivial once you see the moonshine on the other side of the world.
7. Coz you’ll be bitten by the travel bug forever. You will be smitten by the charms of solo travelling, getting lost in foreign lands, eating strange food, meeting other like minded cuckoos, learning the nuances of different languages and it’ll make you keep wanting more, to keep making memories all over the world.
Okay, so now is when you stop reading, dust off those potato chip crumbs, get off the couch, take time off from your 9 to 5 and make plans for yourself to go solo travelling this summer. Take out that weathered map, pick a place, nearby or far away, book those tickets, pack those bags and go because an endless universe of adventures awaits you.
After all, Twain himself said, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”