My First Solo Travel Experience
Solo. Back in the days when I used to listen to other travelers and their stories on how they are able to go out to a different state all alone, a thought used to get stuck in my head that, ‘don’t they get intimidated and nervous about it even a bit?’. And then I used to wonder that how can traveling alone be fun anyway. Especially a case like me who has (or had) claustrophobia, never really thought of attempting going solo even for once.
For sure, it was something I never dared to do, nor I thought I would ever able to. But I love to travel and since no one was willing to go out during that time to Sikkim, I realized that I cannot rely on other people for my happiness of seeing unknown and traveling to unknown places. So I booked the plane tickets and decided to this on my own, to step out and test myself and my capabilities of taking care of myself, and it was the most fruitful experiences of my life that I will always cherish. It taught me a lot and gave me endless memories, but with you, if you are traveling to step out alone on a venture, I would like to share five tips on how you can take care of yourself while traveling solo.
To tell you about how it started for me, it was when I was sitting with my backpack in Delhi Metro all hopeless because my best friend couldn’t make it to the trip that we had planned for months, it suddenly hit me that I could go alone instead. To my unfortunate luck, I missed my bus that day but that is also when I decided to go on a trip alone. I wanted to test my limits. As I went to Sikkim alone for a duration of five days, I realized it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it to be.
Sikkim will always be close to my heart because it helped me to let go of my insecurities and fears. It helped me to overcome claustrophobia. Moreover, it taught me that life is so much more and when you go people will reach out to you to help you. You will start loving yourself a bit more. You will gain immense confidence. And apart from all of this, you will happily be you in a place unknown amidst a crowd of friendly people.
Don’t get me wrong, I was skeptical at first, especially when you don’t get much of a leverage as women’s safety is a critical issue, when you have hardly been allowed to go out of the house, alone, to far off places. And as you are suffering from claustrophobia, going to even another room all alone seems like a lost battle.
In the moment of this defeat, I realized how easy it is to trick your brain. And how you can do that? Befriend your brain, start talking to it, mumbling and maybe when no one is looking jump in the middle of the road and record yourself like you would do with your best friends.
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There were three stray dogs who started growling seeing an unknown, me, in their village. There were two Nepalese men who came running to chase the dogs away. There was a Nepalese women who helped me settle in with tea and maggie. And an old man who had never ending stories. Zuluk, you made it worthwhile. #traveldiaries2016 #soloadventure
Tips to Use While Traveling Solo
1. Be Alert
This is a no-brainer but honestly, this is the most crucial thing too. Trust your instincts. Keep your eyes and ears open and notice your surroundings before stepping anywhere. This will not only help you to gain confidence but you will also understand how to behave where exactly and where to be extra crucial.
If you think you don’t feel safe somewhere, walk away from that place. Notice the people. In traveling it is all about noticing, understand how the people are through your instincts and if you find something suspicious, just walk away.
2. Stay Confident
Staying confident is the key. If you will walk with your head low and chest bent, people would automatically know that you are nervous. But if you will walk around like you have a purpose, like you know what you are doing, no one would approach you with wrong motives. They will feel like you belong there.
Act like and be like you know what you are doing and where you are going. But moreover, this will also make you feel at ease. Everything will become natural to you and you will have the courage to go ahead and talk to strangers which will help you feel at home. It made me feel at home in Sikkim due to this and I am glad about it.
3. Gather Intel
What I usually do when I Solo travel is, I ask about a particular place to as many people as possible. I might go to a Tourism board, then also to my hotel manager, and then maybe to a local shopkeeper as well. I will ask the same thing to as many people as possible to know I have the best solution to my travel plans.
4. Inform Someone
Earlier, when my parents weren’t aware of my Solo travel, I used to give my itinerary and share my travel plan with a close friend. I tell him/her where I am now and in which hotel I am staying in. If I think something is not right, I give them a call to inform them about this. Basically, they are my travel book away from me who knows in and out of what I am doing. This will help them to trace me and help me in case anything goes wrong, which hardly does though. 🙂
5. Don’t Resist
Well, there can happen a few cases of bad luck on travels, right? The world is not a safe place, wherever you go. So what I am trying to say here is, if someone tries to steal things from you, don’t resist. After all your life is much more valuable than the valuables you are carrying. Let go of the things and succumb to safety.
Solo isn’t that difficult. I am the live example of this. In the end, ‘you are just one decision away to change your life.’ I just did, how about you?