“It is very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not be defined by others. ”
“Why did you go alone? You know, you have gone mad. Actually your family should have never let you go abroad for studies. You are totally a ‘gone case'”.
“Madam, akeli ho?”(Madam, are you alone?!)
It is nothing new. Even though I have had the chance to go on only two solo trips, I have encountered such questions countless times. And it is extremely difficult to make people understand why I choose to do such ‘stupid’ things. Really, it is.
So, I thought of jotting down my thoughts, about why I chose to be a ‘gone case’, why do I choose to go on solo trips which is apparently a ‘suicidal act’, as stated by a friend whose concern is that one day I will end up in danger.
First of all, solo travel really helps you to discover yourself. In meditation, we connect to our inner selves. Likewise, traveling alone teaches a person so much. You learn to enjoy your own company, which I believe is the most important thing. It helps you understand that happiness needs to come from within and not from people. You have the power to keep yourself happy most of the time, but when you give the reign to somebody else, it can be disastrous if you place your faith and trust on the wrong people.
Secondly, I believe being a woman, at times it is really necessary to travel all alone, especially if you want to break the glass ceiling. Being a woman is not easy; in every walk of our lives, we encounter challenges that are gendered in nature. Confidence is the key to tackling these challenges and solo travel helps you realize that you are stronger than you thought are; you are brave enough to tackle the adversities life throws at you. For those who understand Hindi, I would really recommend that you watch the Bollywood movie ‘Queen’ and to all who are wondering the healing power of travel, I would recommend reading some travel blogs by wonderful brave women affected by wanderlust. Solo travel can be a journey to discovering yourself, the ‘self’ you have not met yet in your life, the ‘self’ who is strong and empowered and can take decisions for herself. From finding hotels to managing your budget, solo travel helps you develop useful skills that will help you throughout your life.
Third, safety issues. Is it safe to travel alone? I would say, it really depends on your luck and to some extent, on you too. My dear, the world itself is not safe for women. Even in our own homes, we are not safe. So why you are afraid to venture out to the world out there when even within the four walls of your home you are not safe all the time? Solo traveling has taught me one thing: at times, strangers can be much more compassionate and kinder than people you have known all your life. Yes, some places are relatively not safe and I would recommend taking precautions; for instance during the recent trips I have carried a small bottle of pepper spray; for self-defense, just in case if anything went wrong.
“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” – Maya Angelou
So, pack your bags, research well about the place you are planning to go, make sure the place is affordable as per your budget, and set off to create memories. Virginia Woolf said: As a woman, I have no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.” So, set off to explore your country. Every time you will venture out to explore the unknown, all by yourself a part of you will change forever, for the better.
Cheers! Don’t be a damsel in distress waiting for your knight in shining armor, pick up your own sword!