“So when are we leaving? What days have you applied a leave for at your workplace?” I asked my friend Alok, 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 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 didn’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 for a short and fancy weekend getaway) but the 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 Motorbike Expedition To Spiti Valley: Home To World’s Deadliest Roads]
Initially, it can be a little scary traveling alone. But for me, not visiting places I wanted to, was scarier – hence solo travelling became a way of life. And over the time, I’ve realised that solo travelling can be more invigorating than travelling in a group. And I’ve my reasons, pretty strong ones.
I Didn’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 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 Try
I remember the first time I travelled 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?”
“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!
“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
Sure solo travelling is not for everyone. Some people return home soon after departing, while others stay in the frenzied mental zone of loneliness in solo travelling before finally embracing it. But you’ll never learn how well you can handle it unless you 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 Freedom
Solo travelling 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 don’t have to answer anyone or seek their permission. 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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