Travel Tips
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Why I Travel Solo

footloose

“So when are we leaving? What days have you applied for a leave, at your workplace?” I asked my friend Alok, with whom I was trying to partner up in a few-week long motorbike expedition in Himalayas.
A long silence at his end was a clear invitation to realise that the deal is cancelled.
“No man, the thing is I might not be coming along, something really urgent has come up,” he confessed, in his usual tone.

This happened yesterday, and since last 24 hours, I’m constantly consoling him to reconsider, like a stubborn, innocent kid, trying to make him realise what he will miss, if he doesn’t come along. None of my friends wants to replace him either – everyone is busy with their work, sorting their lives in an ever systematic order.

“The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait until that other is ready” Henry David Thoreau

And then I realised it’s the same pattern that has been repeating over the years. Though some people have definitely joined me (particularly in a short and fancy weekend getaway) but a majority of plans were called-off because something always came up. These experiences, if put together to find a pattern, have taught me – if I’ll wait for others, I’ll never go anywhere. So, this time as well, as is often the case, with many grand adventures of my life – I am setting off on my own.

[Update, one month later: I’ve completed the trip solo. And it had been a whirlwind experience. You can read all about it here – Solo Bike Expedition To Spiti Valley ‘Home To World’s Most Deadly Roads]

Initially it can be a little scary traveling alone. But for me, not visiting places I want to, is scarier – hence solo traveling became a way of life. And over the time, I’ve realised that solo traveling can be more invigorating than traveling in a group. And I’ve my reasons, pretty strong ones.

I Didn’t Want Others To Hold My Backporters himalayas

To honestly admit it, I was never a born solo traveler. In fact, I was always very much afraid to travel on my own. What if I get mugged, or worse, forget the way back home? How would I enjoy my time alone? These little insecurities always played their part. But it was only after many solo journeys that I’ve learned the art of solo travelling.

But from the very beginning, if there was one thing I was sure about, it was – if I put off a trip because of other people, I can never travel the world and see places I always wished to see.

 I Wanted To Give It A Tryadventure mountains

I remember first time I traveled on my own, I had no intention of doing it. I was scared, but somewhere deep inside my mind, was, a voice that repeatedly pushed me to give it a try.

“What if I don’t like it?”

“We cannot expect to grow if we are too afraid or unwilling to change and face challenges. When we exit our everyday, mundane lifestyles to do something different we can experience growth, undiscovered strength, and new abilities within ourselves” Ashley Ormon

“You can come back,” returned the voice. And that sounded like a pretty strong assurance. I was not going to do my time in Mumbai’s central jail. If ever, I felt bored or realised that this is not my game, I’d pack my bag and return!

Sure solo traveling is not for everyone. Some people return home soon after departing, while others stay in the frenzied mental zone of loneliness before finally embracing it. But you’ll never learn how well you can handle it unless you don’t give a try. So next time, someone lets you down, take it as a challenge and find out how well you fit in the business of solo travelling. And rest assured, you’ll get addicted!

Solo Traveling Gave Me The Ultimate Freedomlying down under mountains

Solo traveling gave me the ultimate freedom I always wanted from my journeys, and the fact that there is never anyone to nag on me or override their reasons, made it a preferred way for me to travel.

When you travel solo, you are not obliged to entertain anyone but yourself. If you want to spend the day sitting at an outdoor café watching locals do their things instead of sightseeing, you won’t have to answer to anyone. You wake up and it’s just you, and in that freedom and infinite space of possibility, you explore yourself. You hit the limits of what you like and don’t like. There is no one to pull you in any direction. Want food? Have food. Want to leave? Leave. Want to go in a new direction, go. And trust me, there’s more to it.

So don’t wait for people or let them hold you back from your travel dreams. There’s only now – and if you don’t go, you might not go at all. Because if I had not stopped waiting, I’d still be there convincing Alok, or someone else.

Also Read: My Biggest Solo Travelling Lessons

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Shortly after my first real nine-to-five job, I left that lifestyle behind, and with it, everything that didn't fit in my backpack. I've learned that this world is too big (and too interesting!) to stay in one place. I believe that with a little courage and inspiration, everyone has the power to follow their dreams. Just as I've followed mine!

8 Comments

  1. Very nice article. I can relate to it a lot. I too prefer travelling/hiking solo because of the same reasons. I got tired asking and waiting for my friend to join me so whenever I feel like going somewhere, i just plan alone. My friends think it’s lonely, but i actually enjoy it a lot.

  2. Rajiv says

    Dev, just wandered into your blog and bro u r solid inspiration. Your budget travels seems out of the world, I always had a budget in mind while travelling but you have taken it to a different level. Cheers

  3. shiva says

    U r very encouraging to lonely hearts…..We r born alone…die alone…..why to expect someone with us always…..soul is there all the the time. …even in sleep too…..what else we meet

  4. Akhilesh says

    Just back from Solo travel from Spiti valley. Awsome experience without any plans in minds.

    • You did it solo? Good stuff. I’d suggest you to visit it again during winters and it will be a complete different experience. You can get a bus all the way to Kaza, all year long.

  5. ava shah says

    Happy adventures to you Dev. You are certainly a unique (and courageous) person among Indians. We will be following your travels on your blog.

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