Travelling with people is a delightful opportunity to get to know them, but travelling solo can teach you a lot about yourself! On a trip where you are your own company, you discover yourself. You depend on yourself, you make your own schedule and you find courage to do things you never thought you'd do. Dining alone at a restaurant, making friends with fellow travellers and exploring a city at your own pace - you live life your own way. Sure, there will be moments when you'll miss company, but you realise that you can walk the path and get to the destination.
Oh, and the places you'll go with that kind of liberty. The list is never-ending. Hence, we asked a few travellers what they discovered about themselves on their solo trips and their experiences will make you wanna spend more time with yourself, away from your town.
“Solo travel can turn an introvert into an extrovert and a shy person into a someone who ‘free’. I have travelled solo a few times this year and here's what I discovered. Every time I was out and about and needed to take a picture, I would talk to anyone walking around. I didn't feel shy and miraculously my extreme introversion VANISHED when I wanted directions or wanted a picture taken. I could speak to strangers without any qualms in an unknown location. Another thing that I figured about myself was that I wasn't affected by stares and what people thought of me. I wore outfits that I wouldn't wear back home and didn’t care if people thought it was weird. So here's my ultimate discovery, travelling solo is liberating!”
- Kannagi Desai, Junior Beauty Editor, POPxo
“A cyclone warning and flight delays were how my first solo trip, to Spain, started out. I hadn't so much as contracted a common cold in years, yet my second day in, I went down with a fever. I was resting it out at my hostel. But in the middle of the night, my fever shot up. My roommates heard me wheezing and swept into action. Turned out, I was sharing a room with a soon-to-be doctor, a student of pharmacology, and a final year nursing student! We were from different parts of the world; strangers to each other, yet that night they became my family. The trio fussed over me; checked my temperature, brought me warm milk, extra blankets. Falling sick and being alone, air-miles from home can be daunting. I think it's every traveller's worst nightmare. But that trip taught me to have faith in the goodness of people; that things mysteriously have a way of working out. Now, over a decade later, we're planning a reunion at the same hostel!”
- Kiran Mehta, Travel Writer
“I'm a people's person and love to be surrounded by friends and family. I've always thought solo travel wasn't for me, after all, what's a trip if you don't have someone to enjoy it with? But that changed when I went to Europe alone for the first time. What I learned is that I enjoy my own company - so, whether I was eating an ice cream alone at a cafe in Salzburg, exploring Munich's main city centre, learning how to navigate through public transport or simply chilling, it was fun! Not once was I bored and the freedom to do what I wanted, whenever I wanted was exhilarating! When you travel solo, there's no need to coordinate with others about meeting at a particular spot or dividing the schedule so that everyone gets to do what they want. While I do advocate cautious travel and the importance of being alert, I have found that some of my best friends are those that I've made on the road - another plus if you're an outgoing person who is travelling solo!”
- Ananya Bahl, Travel Writer
“The biggest discovery is that you become okay with being by yourself. Travelling alone makes you your best friend. When we're in our comfort zone at home, we can't imagine eating alone, exploring places alone, just being alone, and travelling solo teaches you that.”
- Keerti Kataria, PR Manager, PR Pundit
“I would call myself an adventurous but cautious traveller. I love going on hikes, treks, the occasional scuba dive, kayaking and all sorts of low-key activities. I’ve never been much of a daredevil or inclined to try adventure sports. That all changed on a trip to Auckland (without friends or family) where I had the chance to skydive. I had no intent or desire to try it, but while at the skydive centre, I was intrigued by the excitement and asked myself, why not? Bad weather played spoilsport and that’s when I knew I really wanted to do this - the minute it was almost taken away from me. And when I finally jumped, I had the most incredible experience and asked my instructor the minute we landed if I could do it again. That’s the thing about travel, it brings out the daredevil in me and makes me realise I’m far braver than I knew.”
- Chandni Sehgal, Travel Blogger@Grabyourglobe.com
“Traveling solo has introduced me to a side of me that was long hidden under the ease and familiarity of my comfort zone. However well planned or seasoned you are as a traveller, every now and then, solo travel inevitably thrusts you into challenging situations you need to adapt to and embrace.
Concepts like 'introvert' and 'extrovert' get blurred when you're sharing a cold night in a tent with a total stranger. Everything you are before that first trip ceases to exist within your self-imposed boundaries.
For me, the most important lessons on the road alone have been that of patience and acceptance. I'm more open to change and less attached to plans and having things go my way. I urge you to try it once because life on the other side is nothing like you'd predict but a whole lot stronger, liberating and exciting!”
- Sharanya Iyer, Travel Blogger
"Solo travel gives you a perception of various aspects of yourself, which go unnoticed when you're travelling with someone. My first solo trip was to Coorg, renting a Zoomcar and driving through the beautiful roads during monsoon. Took tiny stopovers for a quick coffee, and befriending a lady who shared an umbrella with me and later breaking the bread together at a cafe. I was always conscious of speaking to strangers, little did I know that they are mere friends - just a conversation away.”
- Gunjan Sawhney, Food & Travel Blogger@Gluttonygoddess.com
You'll never know the treasure that's hidden inside you until you climb those steep mountains with a little cash in your pocket for chai and Maggi and a stick, by yourself. So, check your bank balance, make your bookings and get solo-trippin'!
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