I never thought of writing about experiences and travel stories. I use to search on google, save details in my email or word files before my travel. While I was traveling, I used to keep these notes handy and use to write my comments on these for my reference. I also used to keep a diary, where I used to note down, what I did during the day, how I traveled and what was the expenditure. All this information was stored in my diary, rough notes, in word files or in different emails in my travel folder. Maybe I was too lazy to compile this information in form of a story or itinerary. Though after traveling for few years I started posting pictures of my sojourns on Flickr and later on wrote reviews on TripAdvisor but still the information was missing.
Sometime in 2016, I realized that I am planning & executing my/our trips so others in planning a trip because of a first-hand experience more trustworthy.
My school and college were very close to my home and I always stayed in comfort zone. When I joined a professional course at the age of 19 yr, I found myself in unfamiliar territory. I use to travel 59 Km one way every day by local train and bus. There used to be a lot of free time while I was traveling, this taught me how to make use of time or make friends while traveling. I also learned how to travel alone because many times due to strike or nonavailability of train or any other reason, I had to take a detour. When we travel alone and face situations we learn and grow. The small incidents help us gain confidence and later on these become our travel stories.
My first “solo” travel was my first international business trip to Paris. My office didn’t book a direct flight to Paris for some reason, I was put in a Delhi – Zurich – Paris flight. Suddenly I found that I am traveling with 2 big suitcase and 2 handbags. My flight from Delhi to Zurich got delayed and I was running at Zurich airport with my bags from one terminal to another like a headless chicken. Fortunately, I managed to catch my connecting flight on time. This experience had given me the confidence to travel on my own and I realized that I can travel alone. I can write a whole travel story with the incident happened during that trip.
That was my first “solo” trip but then it was an official trip. I just executed the itinerary which was planned and booked for me.
After this, I planned and had many trips with my friends. My earlier trips were planned and booked with the help of the friends but after that, it was me who was planning and bookings. My friends were comfortable with my planning and booking moreover it was hassle free for them. I traveled in a group of 4-5 and many times just me with a friend of mine. I still remember my trip to Rajasthan around 2003-04, when we came across people, who were a bit surprised to sees two girls traveling on their own (They will say “Aap dono akele” (You two alone),….Lol…. how can two considered alone ). I enjoyed one of my trip to Jaisalmer & Jodhpur when we were given special treatment because we were “just two girls traveling alone”.
My first solo trip happened in 2006. I traveled solo not because I chose to holiday alone but because my friend with whom I had planned to travel changed her mind at last minute. At that time I had two options – Travel solo or don’t travel. I chose to travel alone. I had many memories, done some strange things and had amazing time. I must write a travel story on that trip.
During my solo holidays, I realized it’s good to be on your own sometimes. You don’t have to depend on other persons to decide at what time you want to start or what and when you want to visit a place or what you want to see or where you want to eat and the list goes on and on. You are the master of your travels, sometimes fellow travelers can be annoying.
Some of my friends ask how I feel when I travel “alone” …..How can I holiday alone…. Don’t you feel strange traveling alone… and many more questions like these. and I tell them….. it fun as well as liberating. I don’t get bored and I can do things on my own.
Nowadays it very common for girls to traveling solo, it has changed a lot in last few years but back then it was not very common. Infect at times only my family knew where I am, they always have full details of my travel, places of stay or what I am doing on a particular day. I give them my basic itinerary and be in touch with them at least twice a day. I don’t believe in publishing or doing a check-in on Facebook.
When I am traveling alone, I take some safeguards, rely on my gut feeling and use my common sense. As a woman, I always take some precautions. The most important thing I do is that I leave a copy of my travel itinerary & hotel details with family and in case of any change in schedule, I inform them. It may sound orthodox but it’s better to be safe.
I have an interesting travel story, when while boarding train at 11.00 PM we realised our ticket is for next day because we done a wrong booking.
Traveling solo gave me freedom and confidence. Now compiling my simple sojourns in my blog gives me immense pleasure.