Every once in a while, I look back at my travels and think of the moments that have changed something in me.
Come with me, for if you never step out that door, you’ll never know how far you can walk.
Here’s a confession: Even though I’ve been solo tripping for years, sometimes the idea of being somewhere remote by myself, without a known face or language, can send a shiver down my spine. My mind inexplicably conjures up worst case scenarios and I withdraw into my little shell of what the hell am I doing. The freedom, thrill and self-confidence of solo traveling is often interspersed with moments of anxiety, nervousness and fear. This is how I conquer them: Dreaming about the romance of solo travel. Our emotions tend to be a reflection of the thoughts in our mind. So to psyche myself when I’m off on a solo adventure, I focus on the romance of solitude; I imagine myself blissfully gazing at the snowcapped mountain peaks without a care in the world, or swapping life stories with a stranger who’s life maybe very different from mine but our souls sing the same tune. Indeed, before I left for Guatemala, my first tryst with Central America, I calmed my nerves by imagining chatting in flawless Spanish with a Mayan woman and becoming lifelong friends! (My trip …
There are some stories that I promised myself I would never write. Like the time I fell into an open drain in Rajasthan. Or when I was convinced a leopard was going to eat me alive. Or a painful trip to a hospital in ‘paradise’. In the crevices of my mind, I’ve been hiding away such memories. But it’s time to pen them, for these are the moments that keep travel real, and have gradually become good stories or memorable lessons:
The idea of travelling solo is often laced with thoughts of loneliness, and fairly so; we humans thrive in company and travel is no exception. Stings of loneliness strike at the most unlikely moments on the road – the nostalgia of a familiar song, a face that reminds you of someone you know, a thought that would’ve sounded better aloud.
Of late, I’ve been reading so many thought-provoking, eye-popping, jaw-dropping, smile-evoking travel posts from around the Blogosphere, that I’ve decided to start this ‘Wanderlust in Words’ bi-monthly travel section to collect the best of the lot, and keep myself from losing my sanity (and hopefully yours too). If all goes well, each alternate Monday, you can come back here to find inspiration for your first solo trip, go on a visual journey somewhere across the globe, open up to the idea of long-term travel, indulge in a minute or two of someone else’s reality, and read something stirring on Incredible India, which seems to be on everyone’s travel list these days.
This travelogue was originally published on Women’s Web. “Are you married?” she curiously asks me. I reply in the negative, without bothering to delve into my ‘I don’t need it’ philosophy. When I ask her the same, she excitedly tells me that she can’t wait to, that her family is eagerly looking for a suitable match, and that age has nothing to do with it.
As I awake from my slumber and look out the bus window, I’m transported back into a dream. Clusters of pine trees arise from amid the clouds and reach out to the Himachal sky. I instinctively turn left, but there isn’t anyone to soak in that view with. In my long battle with my parents on traveling alone, I forgot to think it might be intimidating. And intimidating it is.