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Solo traveling had always been my dream, but I was intimidated by the hassles I might have to face while traveling unaccompanied. And so I caged my desires to travel solo until summer 2014 when one experience opened an entirely new world for me and solo travel has become a part of who I am.
It was summer 2014 when I planned a backpacking vacation across Croatia with my friend. I was picturing my dreamy Croatian laid back summer days, hiking amid scenic trails, cascading emerald lakes, beautiful cobbled-streets of Placa with historical buildings and secluded beaches. I was looking forward to it. My friend, however, canceled it in the last moment which broke my heart and also made me cancel my trip as well. I ended up regretting on my decisions later for not going on that trip alone. That day I promised myself that I am not going to rely on someone to embark on my dream vacations and within two months after canceling this trip I booked a solo backpacking trip to Spiti Valley, the cold desert mountain valley of the Himalayas in India, a destination which I had always been fascinated.
The moment I finalized the travel dates, I started gathering all the relevant information from every possible resource. Although the way to Spiti is through some of the most dangerous roads, this trip changed me as a traveler and actually empowered me to overcome the fear and see how far I can push my limits, especially with no one around. Only during such solo vacation, we realize our inner strength, and I have experienced that.
First and the foremost lesson I learned while planning my first trip is that when we are on a solo trip, we need to be equipped with maximum possible information about the destination. For many, an impromptu journey gives more kick, but I prefer to make a travel itinerary, though flexible enough to change it as per the mood and situation. According to me, this makes the solo traveler more confident and act as a safeguard for unforeseen circumstances.
While exploring the unadulterated beauty of the Spiti valley, I realized that it gave me a fresh perspective on myself, life, and the world around me. Whether to wander alone on foot or to take a local bus, I made all decisions and tried every new thing. Much of the time that goes in convincing your travel companions, and coming to a mutual decision, you save all of that and no clash of opinions. This gave me more freedom to do what exactly I wished to do, be it exploring the place, chitchatting with the locals or simply doing nothing, just taking a flavor of the life moving in and around me. My first special solo trip was a therapy for me, and it encouraged me to embark on more such solo trip in subsequent years. I met many solo backpackers in my next solo trips which have opened the cage completely. I was amazed and inspired by their journey and learned a lot from them, and made some extraordinary good friends.
From all these years of solo traveling I feel that solo traveling is a kind of liberation from set norms where I can explore something which I am not familiar with, be it discovering a place, people, culture or way of living. Meeting new people and their way of life made me way compassionate and a better human being. Also, traveling alone skilled me to be more meticulously organized, more equipped to make decisions, more confident to face challenges, adaptive towards new surroundings, culture, food habit, and people and above all being responsible.
About the Author
Jane White is one of our in-house travel bloggers. She is a traveler by passion and a writer by profession. In her own words, she describes herself as “Although I am a lover of nature, cooking and gardening, my heart skips a beat more for travelling and exploring world cultures”.
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