There is a very strange but positive thing I have been seeing lately in India. That of Solo Travel… Young boys & girls in their 20s, donning the role & essence of “Backpackers” who are willing more than ever to travel & explore on their own. Yes, we as Indians, are late on this aspect but thankfully not because of our fears or incapability. There are reasons other than that, some of them relating to mental conditioning of having different bigger priorities in life etc.
So, Why I Do Solo Travel ?
Every traveler will have the same guiding principles to some extent but they may also have different reasons, based on what they have experienced. Below are my reasons why I started solo travel, why I keep doing it and why you should also give it a try:
Lone Wolf Always Does “Solo Travel”
Doesn’t matter if there exist differences of opinion, but I think your basic instincts & personality traits remain with you for your entire life. And it is these traits that pop up every now & then, to direct you to do what you finally end up doing. A LONE WOLF, from a human context, means somebody who prefers solitude or one who is absolutely fine when alone. Now, everybody likes to be left alone some times, typically when things don’t go as per their plan or when they are angry. A lone wolf, on the contrary, doesn’t seek bad times to be alone. He is all by himself any time, any place, any occasion. I have seen closely enough that if aloofness is your inherent nature, Solo Travel shall come naturally to you, you are much more comfortable when you go out backpacking on your own even for the first time. Others, who have always been a part of a group (honestly, who have sought refuge in other people – including family members & friends) or who haven’t simply don’t have this trait, tend to take more time, may get tensed… but they shall be fine too, experience after experience !
Hate Depending On Others
I remember the time during my college days around 2001-2003, when I had a group of goody-goody friends. The life then was very simple… Home to College to Home to Gym to Home ! Every single day ! I used to have some streak of going somewhere with them. But I quickly figured out that every time I spoke to them on venturing outside even for a quick trip, there were multiple reasons given as to how it should not and cannot be done. But may be, since I was also dependent financially on my parents, I let it go and didn’t pursue this in college. Started pursuing this after being financially independent. But even today, when good close friends are well paid in their jobs, I have seen it takes a lot to convince them, something or the other comes in between, they too have their own priorities. Eventually, I am like “it’s okay guys ! I understand & respect your time and how you want to spend it”. But hey, I am still going ahead with my plan.
Huge Freedom & Autonomy
Apart from my keen interest in seeking “Me-Time” at regular intervals, solo travel almost always means great freedom and autonomy to choose anything and everything you want to do, how you want to do and when you want to do it. Don’t get me wrong – I am not against traveling with family & friends. But imagine you are all ready to go capture the awesome sunrise, you share the idea with your fellows, everybody says YES, YES, TAKE ME AS WELL ! and then the next morning, some of the others members in a group aren’t ready… And it takes them forever 🙁 Simple delays or unexpected fuss may ruin your stake. Besides, when you are in a group, everybody’s opinion matters and there is always a WIN-WIN that works the best. With Solo Travel, no such WIN-WIN is required.
Solo Travel Means Much More
A lot of people go on vacation to some tourist place and immediately upon landing, they are eager to start ticking their tourist attraction spots one by one. It’s almost like carrying a pen & a paper, with all the attraction spots written on it. You reach, you tick… ! 🙂 I never felt the need to do it that way !
Most often, my first day of arrival in any new city is spent in my hotel room. I venture out only in late evenings, stroll nearby area, see the market & shops, eat local food street-side. I NEVER KEEP ANY AGENDA ON MY FIRST DAY OF LANDING. Travel for me is not about ticking places off, to then tell the world that yeah baby, I visited the place (for name sake). Solo Travel for me is all about exploring whatever I want to, my way… slowly… And I don’t mind leaving a few good places. After all, it gives me a chance to come back again 😉 To each, his own !
Low Tolerance For Drama
Imagine your best of pals and their spouses coming along for what-is-expected-to-be-a-great-trip and suddenly even before you realize, the spouses are not on the same page. They don’t agree with eachother. They aren’t getting along. It’s then as if it’s being forced upon them. Now the spouse try to stick to their respective partners, hand-in-hand. Man… Before you know it, the trip has gone for a toss 🙁 Can you visualize this ? That is awful feeling. And allow me to tell you this: I have been extremely successful in avoiding this situation till today. I got extremely low tolerance for any absurd behaviour. I go with people I find most worthy of my time and involvement. Till then, happy solo travel.
Control On The Budget
Most often when you are on your own, you yourself have the power to decide how you wish to spend the money. So, that plush coffee-shop in a 5-Star Hotel right next to the sea-shore in Sri Lanka… Very tempting indeed, for a cup of coffee, nice music playing in the background, may be it’s raining outside for that one day. All good ! But firstly, can you avoid it ? Secondly, you can do that anytime in your own country, where you are more aware of your own currency than that of a foreign country. You decide, the choice is your’s.
Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
Every time I am somewhere away from my wife & one-year-old kid, I realized I grew fonder of them. I started appreciating them more and their love of me, appreciate the fact that they never discourage me in achieving my bucket-list and for managing – for those many days that I am away – without me. Not all spouses can do that ! I am a first hand recipient of people appreciating my wife, for being such a sport. It is as if I could hear their pain – how they cannot do this and a distinct “I wish my wife was as sporty as Shaunak’s wife !” 🙂