“When something good happens, travel to celebrate. If something bad happens travel to forget it. If nothing happens, travel to make something happen”.
Sometimes, we travel solo to heal, to grow, or to relive, but most importantly we do it in order to know ourselves more.
Do you agree with this? If you do then through this post, I am sure you will have something to tell me, narrate your story or just ask me more!
Note: This was the post I was meant to publish way back in 2018 when I suffered a setback, but somehow then the travel kick-started and I couldn’t or rather didn’t feel the need to publish it.
And, so why did I decide to publish this post which was drafted exactly two years back.
Now, when I cannot travel but situations like lockdown, quarantine or depression of having to cope up with the new normal creeps in, the ability to gather that profound sense of contentment still lingers, when it comes to exploring our own true self by traveling.
Also, does it ever occur to you that you have planned for a trip in a certain way but last minute it got changed or altered? And, you are pissed off about it, totally? Well, for me this always used to be the case. And, this year I am sure a lot of you must have been feeling exactly the same.
As a person, I am very meticulous, when it comes to planning my trip. Since I work full time and get limited-time in hand. I make sure everything is chalked out regarding travel like a rough idea about the places I want to visit or the things I want to do. But, manier times, when things don’t turn out to be in a way it is supposed to be. Then, what do we do? Do we sulk or feel disheartened?
So, it happened with me as well like many of us, travel plans got canceled with the situation impending now. But, then that doesn’t stop us from redefining the idea of what traveling teaches us or nurtures us to be.
When traveling solo is not by choice but by circumstance.
Again, times when I actually didn’t plan to travel solo but a canceled trip with my partner led all my travel plans to a standstill. Later when I decided to actually embark on a solo travel to an otherwise planned Thailand trip on just two days’ notice, I realize this is why I love traveling solo so much, because it has helped me evolve from being a tourist to a traveler.
Flashback of Solo Travel 1.0
Here is what happened with me then, I was sitting in the airport with absolutely no clue in mind as to how the travel is going to turn out, as previously it was meant to be more in terms of some other plans which were panned out with the person I planned to travel. But circumstances led to change the same and here I was with the urge to continue with my plan which was to travel (yet with no set itinerary in hand, I had the next 10 days to heal the setback, forget the anguish and move on).
And what turned out to be was the best 10 days in Thailand not just because it was a fun place but I learned how liberating it was to know myself in all those days as I made 10 friends over 10 days.
Flashback of Solo Travel 2.0
My Europe trip was not meant to be taken alone, as I was desperately looking for a like-minded partner to accompany. But then when time or convenience becomes a hurdle, you really can’t do much about it but yet the urge still remains.
So, the same year I took another solo trip to Europe which was also by far the most cherishing experience of my life. Not only because of the amazing places, people, and unique things I got to explore. But also because that’s when I learned that my body was not able to take such hectic trips which included back to back shunting, how I had to deal with acute sickness out of lack of rest as I was severely down with jet lag all alone on my first day in a stranger’s land with almost no aid.
I learned how to be more careful of my belonging while walking down alone in empty streets at night, and most of all I also learned how to pay more respect to myself as an Indian in a first world country, where facing racial discrimination or having to deal with a rigid mindset based on Ethnic-Racial Socialisation at times are still quite common.
Flashback of Solo Travel 3.0
I remember back in 2017 when I took off for Sikkim without any plans or any particular destination in mind during Durga Puja (biggest festival in Kolkata). Because I clearly wanted to get away from the chaos and maddening city crowd. Honestly, during festive time I did feel the need to share the festive joy with my friends but somehow I couldn’t, knowing that it would have made me feel more melancholy amidst everything or everyone.
What I also felt that sometimes, during solo travel, we try to discover the joy of being with ourselves only to explore our real self in a true way.
I parked myself in the quaint town of Aritar, a cozy little hamlet in Sikkim to enjoy the serendipity of nature which gave me enough company for the next 6 days. Aah, you see the joy when you get to enjoy your own company where no one asks, tells, or judges you for being who or how you are?
Hence, soloing or solo travel did have its good and bad share of experience. But, it helped me to become more confident and wiser and shed all fear of being alone.
So, while I thought about it, I decided that I should also write down the reasons which make me travel solo. Sometimes, it may not be by choice but out of a situation.
Over the many years, I met several kinds of different travelers (backpackers, flashpackers, luxury tourists etc). And, with them, I came to know that people travel for so many several reasons. But, whichever reason they travel with, they all learn a lesson or gain a new experience. Some travel to forget and some travel to grow and some travel to learn, seek and live beyond. It is very important to have an open and seeking mind when you head out to explore yourself on travel.
Why I mentioned “yourself” is because yes, the place and things may remain the same and unchanged but you as a person get to know so many things and learn on the run. Each time after a trip, I came back as a wide-eyed girl wondering that there is so much to see in this YOLO life.
Hence, out in this article, I’d point out why it is rewarding to travel with the best company, that is you- yourself ! Again, the post may be inclined more to solo travelers like me but the point is to derive the true self out of the passion of exploring a new place. And that’s the real essence of traveling.
Five reasons which makes me yearn for more solo travel are :
1. Getting to love self as travel is like an investment of time and money on ourselves.
When we head out to any new destination, it is always with the reason of witnessing a new place, culture, cuisine, and most importantly connecting with people. For me I have always been fascinated by the idea of meeting with new people and the locals of the place I want to visit. The interaction with them and getting to know about their way of life and thought process always encourage me to learn how to become non-judgmental.
Whenever I get to learn a new story about a place or a person, it gives a sense of joy to add one more friend into my travel FAMILY. We invest our money in booking the tickets, accommodation and other ancillaries but in return what we get is the rich experience of getting to know the place, having spent our time wonderfully doing what we feel like and lastly be in our own sweet company. Also, while on travel and especially when we are doing that solo, we get to know ourselves much more.
2. We can gain friends from all around and the best part, nobody judges us for who we are?
Whenever, I traveled solo, it has actually not been solo, as there has always been a moment that I might have bumped into someone interesting and we hit it off instantly. Especially, when the topic of discussion is more on getting to know the place even before getting to know each other (well, up to you how you want to strike it off, again no judgments!!). I have experienced that most of the time when two people have a traveler’s mind then no matter how they are as an individual, but they can easily connect on the same page in terms of communication. Best way to do this is when I stay in hostels or use hosting community sites like couch-surfing.
Trust me on this but the best time is when I have met some amazing friends through Couch surfing.
3. We get more responsible and aware of ourselves.
One of the key aspects which solo travel brings is the sense of responsibility. Because those are the moments when we are aware about our own being. Hence, it teaches us to take charge of our own situation. One tends to strike a perfect balance between what is wrong and what is right. This is also when we get all the time to reflect on ourselves and make room for improvement. And we also start to trust our instincts more than before. It’s like developing a bond with our own fortitude.
4. We become more adjusting and accepting.
When we actually get to stay and mix with unfamiliar faces, we often become more adjusting than what we were before (although great if you have always been one). And also start to accept every situation with a pinch of salt.
5. We definitely become more confident and happy in life.
So, after completing a solo trip by spending time with ourself and also in the company of like-minded wonderful souls who we bump into while on travel, planning and executing the same efficiently makes us grow more confident and richer by experience so much so that we become more stronger to withstand or overcome any heartbreaks, failures or sadness which may be just temporary setbacks and can pass off by a blink of an eye as you decide to widen your horizon. Travel makes us do so and solo travel, oh definitely it does!
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So, if you think that some of the points were exactly why you took up your first solo trip and thereafter many such? I would definitely like to hear more about your experience as to what you felt while doing a solo trip?
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