Solo Travel: Moving out from the comfort zone and travelling alone to an off-beat destination is an exciting opportunity. It is not a common thing that we experience in India. Solo Backpacking is not a popular activity in India. Because of the family bondings and values, people still prefer to travel here with the family or the friends. But, just because of that, many people are not able to break their comfort zone to move out on the road. They abandon their travel plan, because their friends and families don’t have the time to join them.
Its not that simple as it looks like. You have a dream, you wish to explore a destination, you think about that all the time, you save money for your trip , you have approved leave to go on the vacation, but then, you are forced to abandon your dream, because nobody is there to accompany you. All are busy in their own life, own office, own schedule. Its really heartbreaking.
And, this is where Solo Backpacking comes into the picture. It gives you that ultimate sense of freedom to follow your dreams. You decide your trip, arrange the money, arrange the official leaves and ask to your friends, “ Hey, I am going to that place in that period. Are you willing to join me? “ and if there is somebody to join you, its well and good, but if nobody is there, then you can always say,” You don’t have time. No Problem. Enjoy at home. I am going Solo. There are thousands of people already on the road.” Once you develop an idea of Solo Backpacking, there is no need to look back and wait for others to pursue your travel dreams.
Why do I Travel Solo?
Frankly speaking, I never thought of traveling Solo. I just developed my interest in travel. And, after sometimes Solo Travel just started on its own. I didn’t have any company, all friends were busy in their own life, and I couldn’t wait more and stepped out on the road. I travelled Solo to Russia, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Macau, Egypt and many parts of India. I got injured in Bangkok after falling down from Second Floor to First Floor, My collar bone was fractured in an accident while riding my motorcycle in Rajasthan, I was trapped inside a train in middle of the Egyptian protests. On my first international trip to Macau, the immigration officer questioned me for one hour on the suspicion of drug trafficking and scanned my whole body under the X-Ray. There are many bad experiences and stories associated with my Solo Travel.
But, then I stood alone in front of the Giza Pyramids and The Sphinx, cherished every moment of that epic journey from Vladivostok to Moscow on the Trans-Siberian Railway, enjoyed the beautiful sunrise behind the temple of Angkor Wat, made many wonderful friends at the hostel dormitory in Cairo, walked alone thorough the tea estates in Kangra and Palampur, through the majestic ghats of Varanasi and many more. Those are some wonderful moments of the life. Traveling Solo is just about knowing yourself. There is a bit of excitement and a bit of fear during each trip, but at the end of the journey, I come back with the better understanding of my inner-soul.
Following are the main reasons, why I prefer to travel Solo:
1. To Travel Anytime, Anywhere : The first reason is simply the necessity to travel. I can arrange leaves and necessary money to travel frequently. But, other people don’t live their life according to my needs. They have their own life, own offices and own families, So, they are not able to join me on each trip. It forced me to travel alone first time, then second time, third time and then, again and again. Result, I am so happy with my solo travels, that now, I don’t wait for anybody to join me on the trip. I just pick my backpack and camera to move out anytime, I wish.
2. To Avoid Conflict of Interests: Another reason to travel solo is that it simply avoids the conflict of interests. I generally prefer cheaper trips, used to travel in sleeper class of trains rather than AC class, prefer to stay in hostels’ dorm, enjoy cheaper street foods and mostly rely on the public transport or prefer to walk to save money as much as possible. ‘Budget’ is not a dirty word for me. I know the definition of my budget travel and I don’t want to force somebody else to travel as per my budget. Other person may have a sense of luxury. So, its better to travel Solo to avoid such problems.
3. To Enjoy This Freedom : Traveling Solo is all about the freedom. I can decide my own destinations, own dates and own way to travel. Even the best travelling partners may not need breaks at the same time, get hungry at the same time, want to travel the same distance each day or do the exact same things. I remember my trip to Hampi, where I went with a friend. Due to the shortage of time, I wanted to cover as much as possible, but my friend forced me to stop at regular interval. At last , I had to leave him to take rest and moved ahead alone.
4. To Experience the Life beyond my Comfort Zone: Solo Backpacking is about testing our limits out of the regular cocoon. We really need to hone our basic skills like making a very good time-bound itinerary, gathering useful information regarding a particular destination, map reading and navigation, getting mix with the unknown person, weather forecasting and so forth. I really became much more skilled at all of these things when I started solo backpacking. There’s less room for error, so we are forced to become an expert.
5. To Explore the Unknown About Me as well as The Destinations: Solo Backpacking gives me more confidence, a sense of self dependence and a new sight to see the human settlement around me. It gives me more opportunity to study the culture and tradition of the different civilizations and their impact on our life.
Solo Travel has its own charm, own challenges, own advantages and disadvantages, but its definitely a way of life. You only need the first push to break your comfort zone for that first solo trip and believe me, once you embark on your first solo trip, you will never look at others to join on the subsequent trips. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone, move on and celebrate your life on the road. You are never alone. There are thousands other Solo Backpackers waiting for you on the road.