I have always travelled with my close friends, but this time I wanted to explore the world from a different perspective and travel solo. At first, it felt like a challenge to me more than a dream come true, it was like some big mission I had to accomplish! The scepticism delayed my plans. I started to feel like travelling alone and that too being a woman was a taboo. But then I had to break the barriers and do what I felt was right.

And then the magic happened! I found myself lying under the inky blue sky clustered with stars in the Spiti Valley. The solitaires of sky were shining bright above the snowy mountains! My luck took me there on a full moon night which made the mountains appear like silver. This is one experience I can never ever forget! Until now, I was scared of darkness. But out there under the starry sky which seemed like a painting of Van Gogh, I learned that there is more to night beyond darkness. The temperature was 8 degrees below zero, and I took out my warmest shawl which I had bought from Nagaland, and sat outside the tent for a few more minutes just to take in the exquisite beauty of the starry sky! I was lost deep in my thoughts and suddenly, I realized that I was all alone there and I had done it!

Chocolate colored mountains from the Spiti Valley - One of my first clicks on my first solo trip!
Chocolate colored mountains from the Spiti Valley – One of my first clicks on my first ever solo trip!

The stories that we read about the horrifying things that people have had to go through during solo travels, make us forget that there is also a side of the world which is kind and good! Travelling in India, particularly on your own, has never been considered safe, and this is one of the reasons my travel plan got delayed. I learned from my travel experience that there are good people out there who appreciate you, return the warmth that you extend, and try to help you rather than raising their eyebrows on the choices you make as a solo traveller. As a woman if you are travelling alone, then your safety is, primarily, in your hands. You have to go by your gut feeling and trust your instincts. Be alert and aware, and do your basic homework about the place, people, customs etc. beforehand. Know your way around and don’t hesitate to ask the friendly locals when stuck!

Following the locals in Manali :)
Following the locals in Manali 🙂

I believe that there are more benefits of travelling solo than travelling in a group, of course keeping the safety measures in mind. I learned a lot on my solo trip to Spiti and then I travelled solo to other places like Manali, Triund Trek and Andamans too! Here are some things I want to share with those who are always planning a trip all on their own but are worried about taking the plunge. Read on and just do it! Solo travel for the soul!

Travel Solo to find a piece of your soul!

For me travelling alone became a great way to discover myself. Every time I have travelled alone I have found something new about myself! This is one of the most important factors that encourage me to travel alone! I get a chance to indulge myself, think about just me, make plans for the future, ponder over the past and most importantly, live in the present. Himalayas always bring out the best in me. I can sit for hours gazing at those marvelous snow-capped peaks as they look back at me! I connect with myself and spend time with the piece of my soul which I believe, I can only find in the mountains!

Nothing like those solitary moments!
Nothing like those solitary moments!

Experience something bizarre, new or weird!
You almost always want to explore some dreamy, far-off place, but always hustling a buddy along can be difficult! Well, that is where solo travel can be just the thing you need!  When travelling on your own, you experience things that you might not experience while travelling in a group. Like I started talking to myself, sometimes giving a virtual pat on the back and on some occasions chiding myself out loud! I let the crazy person out and I didn’t fear being judged! On another occasion, I slipped and fell, and found some locals laughing at me, and I joined them!

Colorful memories from my solo trip to Manali.
Colorful memories from my solo trip to Manali

New You – Confident You
The freedom, peace and those new faces around helped me find a better version of myself. In a way, I was more open to new things and also more vulnerable. I reached out to people and learned to manage a lot of things on my own. Travelling alone and meeting new people made me stronger, braver and more confident. I realized that I was getting better with making decisions. Just remember to trust your instincts! Trust me it helps a lot!

On my own, doing OK!
On my own, doing OK!

Forming new friendships
Guidebooks and maps are recommended, but nothing can be better than asking the locals for directions and landmarks! Ask as many questions as you have, they will always know more than your GPS and would also tell you about just the places to enjoy the best local food and also some less travelled trails! When you talk to them and warm up to them, you also get to know a lot about their lives, cultures, traditions, routines, and sometimes end up forming lifelong friendships. It can prove to be a great factor in letting you have the best experience in a strange city!

Frolicking around on the Radhanagar Beach in Andamans!
Frolicking around on the Radhanagar Beach in Andamans with some new friends!

Loneliness, what’s that?
Give it 2 to 3 days and you will overcome the feeling of loneliness and start enjoying being on your own! When I travelled solo, I saw a lot of travellers sailing in the same boat! Over time the loneliness floated away and I found myself being comfortable in my own company, loving every bit of it.  My mistakes were my own and so were my accomplishments. My experiences were making me richer and filling my mind with a sense of self-worth!

At peace with myself! That's all that matters!
At peace with myself! That’s all that matters!

So get going people! It’s time to overcome your fears, challenge your insecurities and save money for your first solo trip! Follow your heart and mind, and just go with the flow! Choose from some of these destinations to plan your first solo trip.

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Kanika Chopra


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