At some point of time, you must have had the want to travel solo, especially after going through a zillion photographs of people on wanderlust, that too alone on travel sites, social networking sites, etc.
Solo travelling, as many travel experts describe, is an enriching experience which connects you with yourself. It’s the penultimate time that you spend with yourself, makes you procrastinate and teaches you that life, after all, isn’t that bad and it goes on.
For plenty, solo travelling is your space, which no one can take away from you. The perspective changes, you love yourself more and ditch that thinking that you need humans around you to survive.
On the flip side of the coin, for many, solo travelling is more than a ‘me-time’ moment. It is more of a challenge. Challenge, because solo travelling means full-stop to the constant bickering and suffocating the need to speak with someone all the time.
There are many experiences one encounters on a solo trip. No matter how much you read and watch videos on it, your experience will always be new and something no one has ever talked about. On my first solo trip, I went through some ‘giving-up’ moments, but I conquered them. All you need is just little time and perseverance.
Here are few things that I experienced that no one ever told me about solo travelling
1. Be prepared for the ‘surprised’ looks: While travelling from Guwahati to Shillong, on the picturesque GS road, the driver asked me ‘who stays in Shillong?’ I said no one and then came a surprised look. ‘You are going to Shillong alone!’ So, there will be times when people will make you doubt yourself-Am I doing the right thing?
2. ‘Don’t go outside after sunset’ advises: I totally get it when people are concerned about your safety. When the hotel gets to know you are alone, they go into frenzy. ‘Please madam, don’t go outside after dark. We will get you everything inside.”
3. You will feel lonely, be prepared: Going to a place like Shillong, which is blessed with nature’s bounty, you cannot expect people to be alone. Imagine waterfalls, lush green landscapes, mountains and you. Alone, now? There will be families, college groups, couples, etc to make you feel lonely. It is natural. You just have to conquer this feeling. Take a book along, it helps.
4. Desired photographs: If you are willing to carry tripods and cameras to take your pictures at the backdrop of dark clouds, hilly terrains, it is upto you. But if you are dependent on selfies and other people to click your photos, don’t expect anything. The pictures can be awful, not even throwback kinds.
5. Adrenaline rush: You want to go zip lining, paragliding, et al but you will have to boost your own confidence. No friend will be standing behind you to cheer you up. So, help yourself.
6. Eating alone: Table for two? Trying local cuisines at small cafes and restaurants can be fun, but you will have this constant eye on you. Many people will be waiting for the other person on your table, who will never arrive (Only you know this). For people in remote areas, solo travelling does not exist.
7. Sleeping in the hotel: There are many places where the sun sets around 5pm and local markets shut down around 8pm. What do you do? Sit cooped inside your hotel. In this time, you can document your solo journey and make a diary. This will help you pass time. Else, switch on the TV and sleep.