Travelling solo is never easy. Firstly, meticulous planning is key. I like to pre-plan my travels so that I can leave enough room for spontaneity and pitfalls.  Secondly, since I am intrepid traveller, I would like to add some form of adventure to it. Thanks to the three solo trips I completed in the last 7 months, I have become a more well-informed traveller.

Self awareness and intuitive safety 

Something inside us changes when we travel by ourselves. Even though I have always been a spatially sensitive person, there has been a marked difference in my behaviour after my first trip to Spiti. My instincts are doubly responsive and more receptive to my surroundings.  It gives simple gestures, like not being on the phone while walking or keeping an ear out while shopping, a whole new meaning.

Life jackets in Radhanagar Beach, Havelock
Life jackets in Radhanagar Beach, Havelock

Travelling light

My backpack never exceeds 10 kgs in weight. Even though 8 kgs is what I pack for 30 days on the road, 10 kgs is the maximum my back can take. Things are just things. The more we gather, the more it bogs us down. After each solo trip, it surprises me to see the number of material things I actually need in life. Whether it is clothes, toiletries, shoes while travelling or furniture, car, house in life; there are very few things that we actually need to survive. Whatever can’t go into a backpack is a want and not a need.

Strangers become friends

Travel has its own ways of making us trust people. It may start with a simple navigation query or a smile in a cafe but soon we find ourselves chatting with people we didn’t know minutes ago. I am an introvert and find it difficult to interact with everyone I meet. However, every time I have travelled by myself, I have met very interesting people and soon my travel acquaintances become friends.

With Shwetha who works in the Full Moon Cafe, Havelock
With Shwetha who works in the Full Moon Cafe, Havelock

With free wi-fi comes great powers!

We all know that internet is a great resource. It has come to my research and rescue in dire straits. More than once I have had to change plans and find alternatives when on the road. At those times, any place with free wi-fi has been the answer to my prayers! I know fellow travellers agree with this one.

Bodega at Sunaparanta Centre for the Arts in Panjim which has free wi-fi
Bodega at Sunaparanta Centre for the Arts in Panjim which has free wi-fi

The fine balance of letting go and enduring

Control spoils us. We want to control our lives and sometimes the unknown future also. A fail in this plan leaves us feeling dejected or cynical. Scuba diving in Goa taught me how to let go of my control and every baggage that comes with it whereas climbing the mountains taught me the beauty of endurance. The delicate balance between how much of life we can take in and how power can be eased off is only experienced while travelling.

The highlands of Langza, Spiti
The highlands of Langza, Spiti

This life is highly underrated

We seldom feel gratitude for where we are in life or tell our family and friends that we love them or have faith in the future. I feel tremendously lucky for every thing. Everybody has a special story and when I look at life from their perspective, it makes me feel happy and grateful. Trust me, every minute, we are living someone else’s dream.

~What are your experiences while travelling solo?

Amrita Das

I have been a travel and culture independent journalist. My bylines have appeared in many publications worldwide including National Geographic Traveller India, Lonely Planet Magazine India, The Indian Express and World Travel Magazine. A fellow of Media Ambassadors India-Germany 2019 program by Robert Bosch Stiftung and Centre for Media Competence, University of Tübingen. Currently, I am the photo editor for RoundGlass Sustain, a wildlife and conservation e-publication. I live in India.

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8 thoughts on “6 things travelling solo taught me”

  1. Nice to be on your blog! Great lessons learnt with solo travel. That ‘life is underrated’ one is so true!

  2. Great post! Wifi wifi where for art thou wifi? Only available if I’ve left my laptop at home! I’ve never been able to get my packing down to 8 kilos though! 14 or so is about as light as I’ve had it though I do usually carry a sleeping bag

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