“So when are we leaving? What days have you applied for leave, at your workplace?” I asked my friend Ankit, with whom I was trying to partner up for a few-week-long motorbiking expedition in the Himalayas.
A long silence at his end was a clear invitation to the fact 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 and routine.
“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, the majority has cancelled their plan because something urgent always comes 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 me, I am going to travel solo.
[Update, one month later: I’ve completed the trip solo, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. You can read all about it here – Solo Motorbike Expedition To Spiti Valley: Home To World’s Deadliest Roads]
Initially, it can be a little scary to travel solo. But for me, not visiting places I wanted to, was scarier – hence solo travelling became a way of life. And over time, I’ve realised that solo travelling can be more invigorating than travelling in a group. And I’ve my reasons, pretty strong ones. These reasons, when coupled with the fact that people always call-off their plan, becomes the very reason why I travel solo!
I travel solo, because…
I Don’t Want Others To Hold My Back
To honestly admit it, I was never a born solo traveller. In fact, I was always very much afraid of it. 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 a few solo journeys that I learned that solo travelling is not as risky or boring as it may initially seem.
And then, from the very beginning, I knew that if I put off a trip because of other people, I can never travel and explore the world. So when someone called-off their plan, I still didn’t!
I Wanted To Give It A Try
I remember the first time I travelled solo, I had no intention of doing it. I was scared, but somewhere deep inside me, there was a voice reassuring and pushing me.
“What if I don’t like it?”
“You can come back,” returned the voice. And it sounded like a pretty strong assurance. I was not going to jail. If ever, I felt bored or realised that solo travelling isn’t meant for me, I can pack my bags and return!
“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
I mean I understand solo travelling 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 give a try.
So next time you plan a trip and your travel partner tells you they cannot join, take it as a challenge and leave alone.
Solo Traveling Gave Me The Ultimate Freedom
Solo travelling gave me the ultimate freedom I always wanted from my journeys. The fact that there is never anyone to nag on me or override their reasons, made solo travelling a habit.
When you are on your own, you are not obliged to do as other people want. Do you want to leave? Leave. Do you want to eat a McDonalds? Eat a McDonalds. Do you fancy a particular experience? Have it. And, there’s more to it (than just the freedom).
You wake up and it’s just you, and in that freedom and infinite space of possibilities, you explore yourself. You hit the limits of what you like and don’t like, and you understand yourself better.
Also Read: My Top Solo Travel Destinations
So don’t wait for people or let them hold you back from your travel dreams. There’s only now, and if you won’t leave now, you may never leave.
I mean if I hadn’t stopped waiting, I’d still be convincing Ankit, or someone else!
Also Read: My Biggest Solo Travelling Lessons