They call it a traveller’s bug.
call it being nomadic in the physical sense; given how the mind is never in one
place at any given time.
And being nomadic is somewhat genetic. It’s been one
of those rare few quirks I’m more than happy to have inherited from my parents.
To think of how limiting a worldview I’d be left with if not for my sojourns.
To have the nerve to travel solo
– book myself a return ticket – was not a pathway I’d planned on embarking
upon. It just happened. Like most beautiful things.
My first solo holiday was to
this quaint little beach in Karnataka in the last quarter of 2012. Since then
not only have my own perspectives undergone a complete overhaul but so have
those of the people around me – and I mean this in the best way possible. Well,
for most part of it traveling by yourself didn’t attract any brownie points –
the bravado was totally discounted for. Instead the endless list of annoying
questions never seemed to fade away. It was as a response to all those initial
reactions that I penned my first solo travel-related blogpost.
That I didn’t stop traveling
nor writing after that seems to have made the kind of difference that I
felt was required.
More than answering the question,
‘Why did you choose to travel solo?’ I find myself answering the question, ‘How
did traveling solo come about for you?’
My answer: I don’t think you can start
by traveling solo. And as strange as this sounds to me you definitely need to
be a lot more comfortable with yourself, by yourself – watch a movie or eat a
meal or take a lil’ tour of your own city by yourself. Overcome that initial
awkwardness. More than that enjoy your own company!
Planning (and more importantly,
executing) your own trip doesn’t require as much coordination with friends or
whoever else. And that has been my biggest reason for traveling solo – but if
someone really wants to tag along I’ll be more than grateful for the (extra)
Zeroing in on the destination is
pure guesswork for me – anywhere is perfectly okay, just as long as I am going!
Tripadvisor has been a real boon when
it comes to identifying accommodation (particularly for a solo female
traveller). A few emails and a couple of telephone calls later the deal is sealed,
advance payments are made if required and all energy is invested in figuring
out mode of transportation. I recommend nailing down transport before even
thinking about accommodation because if flight prices flare up or train/bus
tickets are not available (for whatever reason), your stay arrangements are
The getaway for Coorg was planned
because I was going to ring in 2014 with friends in Goa. So in every sense this
holiday was going to be a blend of solo and non-solo holidaying with the former
at a hill-station and the latter at a beach. Perfect balance!
A day before I was meant to set
foot out I got a lil’ apprehensive – one of those things that never ceases to
happen no matter how many trips I undertake or how many destinations I explore.
I guess one always requires a healthy dosage of fear to even out the knowledge
of the known with that of what’s unknown. However the next morning with my 60L
Quechua lugged on my bag and a smaller backpack pitched in front I was all set
for my holiday – it’s only a matter of your first step out of your door, then you’re
unstoppable. It’s another matter that while packing I had to resolve this inner
dilemma on what is a reasonable number of books that one can carry when
Once I was at the railway station I found my way to the coach and
relieved my somewhat petite frame of my luggage, found my seat and took a deep
breath – conversations with friends who knew I was taking off came to mind,
“…Wow! You’re off travelling on your own? You’re one damn cool chick…” The more
those lines played out in my head, the more I found myself smiling. My
co-passengers were a senior citizen couple and another middle aged guy – pretty
soon we were on first name basis.
Ever since I’ve travelled by train I’ve
noticed that there is this sense of community that exists between all passengers.
It’s simply beautiful. There’s always food that keeps getting circulated… as
also conversations (more on this in the next post).
All along the route I stared out
of the window with the wide-eyed wonderment of an 8 year old watching as we
passed different stations (including Khandala and Lonavala). When the train
halted at Pune, I was more than amused to find a train that had ‘Bhagat Ki Kothi’ as its
Labels: buses, Coorg, female solo traveller, Goa, India, Karnataka, solo travel, trains, travel