By: Nikita Mandhani
In Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert wrote a sentence that truly has immense power and significance.
‘To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.’
I won’t say the book made me act crazy, because you have to believe me: I am crazy and that’s something I am bigheaded about. You can’t do a single overwhelming thing in life without some good deal of insanity. So, I determined to do it: Solo Travel.
Now, that’s not something quite extraordinary considering the fact that the Americans, Russians, Australians and Europeans (and so many others) do it incessantly. I had a difficult time working on it because I am an Indian, a woman in my mid twenties and then somebody whose family lies a bit on the conservative end. Yet, I must tell you, it was like the only idea that made sense; I had to do it, no matter what.
Subsequently, once I quit my job, checked on my finances, fabricated a few stories to convince the people around and did a large amount of research; I booked my tickets to Bali (Indonesia). My friends thought I had gone insane. And yet, I have to just tell you that the moment I landed in Bali and made my way through the Denpasar Airport, I held the most genuine smile in years. My trip lasted for about four days during which I would just yell over and over again to myself: ‘I love this place.’
Thus, if you’re one of those people who have been considering traveling alone since quite some time but haven’t been able to do it yet, I’d just list down some marvelous benefits of Solo Travel and how it might get even better in another country. Go ahead!
Why should you Travel Solo?
- This expedition belongs to you: Now, this one’s an incredible feeling. When you’re traveling solo, you know that the next few days belong only to you and what you do remains with you forever as the most breathtaking memory inscribed in your heart.
- The decisions are yours: This is also a very groovy thing because a lot of times while we are traveling, we have to find a middle ground on our idea of a vacation because of the people we are with. So, you possibly want to get up in the morning and go to the beach to watch a sunrise but you don’t do it because the group with you fancies a late night party or you wish to attend a yoga session or a spa therapy but the people along want to go scuba diving. When you’re alone, you are the one making every decision and even altering it at your own whim. Your ‘wish’ matters.
- Making new friends: As humans, we are all very social. Therefore, when we talk about ‘solo-travel’, it doesn’t imply that we spend our days and nights in seclusion. Rather, we meet new people, make efforts to spend time with them, hear out their stories, tell a few of our own and bond with them on an altogether singular level.
- Spending time with yourself: You finally get to spend time with your own self. Sometimes, nothing is more comforting than having breakfast by the beach side with a book in hand and nobody to talk to. You get to understand the real person you are and also cherish the solace with no annoyance for the loneliness because this time, opting out to be alone was your choice.
- It makes you more confident: A solo trip means that every fraction of your travel from booking tickets to planning it to reserving hotels and cabs is your job. At the end of it, it feels so awe-inspiring to have done something extraordinary for your own self. The day I was boarding the flight back to Singapore from Bali, I felt so much more convinced about myself. It was an overwhelming emotion because those days captured me into their memories so snugly. I had never felt as much love for myself before. And my Whatsapp status read: Victory! (for so many days) (:
- The entire bed is yours: Does this sound hilarious? No, it’s not. It’s amusing to have the whole bed to yourself and to be the solitary person living in a hotel room. People still ask me- ‘Didn’t it seem weird?’ And I always tell them-‘No, it didn’t. I didn’t have to decide on the side of the bed that was mine or think before taking a shower or coordinate on the timings with anyone. I was with myself!’
- You click lesser pictures: I have always felt that people throw away a huge amount of time clicking pictures when they’re out for an expedition. When you’re alone, you take pictures of others, of the nature, the beauty of the place and sometimes even the food. There is a lot lesser self-obsession because you don’t have someone around to snap your pictures again and again till they turn out to be just right. Sometimes, it’s great to be ‘imperfect’.
- There isn’t too much ‘bother’: Yes; so you don’t bother anybody and nobody bothers you. You can wander alone on the streets, shop for as long as you want, look for the rarest thing or spend hours gazing at the sky and not a soul is going to come and ask you to leave to move on to the next site.
- You act responsibly: When you’re out there, especially in a new country and all alone, you naturally become more responsible for yourself. You recognize your boundaries, keep up with your pace, drink lesser, take good care and assess everything sensibly.
- The ‘vibrations’ of a place: Living by yourself in a city for a few days brings you closer to it. You get to feel the location, observe the natives, value the culture and build up a bizarre connection with all that it beholds. You know why? Because this time you’re out on a vacation not with a person or a group; but with a city, a town or sometimes even a country.
Hence, whenever you prepare your bucket list for life, don’t leave this idea behind- ‘Go travel alone at least once’ and you’d never want to come back.
Note: One day, I’ll also write about a few tips and troubles linked with solo travel so that you are all geared up before you take the plunge. However, from personal experience I must tell you – It was beautiful! Please do it once. Leave comments in case you want any assistance. I’d be glad to help.
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