Doesn’t solo travelling sound like a great, inspiring movie and solo travellers the perfect heroes? Well, thank you people, but this post is about busting the myths about solo travelling. We are not the heroes, we are just lovers – so ardently and irrevocably in love with travelling that we stop seeking partners for travelling and planning trips to the last details.
If putting stuff in a backpack, booking some tickets and waving byes can lead us to the perfect trip, there is nothing that can stop us. Thus, we become the heroes that we are not.
We are lovers – us and travelling.
Here’s breaking the bubble for you –
1) Solo Travellers Aren’t Exceptional Bravehearts
Having done a lot of solo trips across India and meeting with other solo travellers, I’m very sure about this one. It might sound like busting the feel good bubble, but yes Sirs and Ma’ams, we are not typical bravehearts. At least five solo travellers (including me) I met confessed to having troubles staying in a hotel room all alone. While two of us sleep with all the bolts on the room doors latched and leaving the TV on, others had taser guns for company. We can be scared of a lot of normal things like stalkers and a lot of abnormal things like ghosts!
So yeah, we aren’t the reckless bravehearts as it might look. We are just so badly lured by new places and adventures that we take the risk, quietly knowing all the cons. So, you see, we are chasing the one great love of our lives – travelling – but we aren’t reckless or too brave. We are just normal braves!
2) We Are Iron-Nerved People, Often Labelled Stubborn
Okay, we do come across as very friendly, all accommodating people. But hell no. We are iron nerved people who’ll make sure to wake up before anyone else possibly can to watch a perfect sunrise. It’s only these nerves that can handle the pressure of a solo traveller’s free spirited nature. I’ve done things as stupid as visiting the Kinnaur and Spiti Valley in rains, just because I couldn’t wait for some more months for the roads to patch up. Stubborn is a harsher world though, for taking away our iron nerves would make us into travellers who don’t scoot off on whims and are zealous planners. So, hail our nerves.
3) There Will Be Bouts of Loneliness
You know how we all wanted to be something when we were in school; some wanted to be a doctor, or an engineer, or a teacher, a pilot; some would also talk about joining the army. Back then, I did not know what I wanted to be. Passions would come like fleeting clouds, a painter now and a musician some months later. I used to wonder how others had it so clear, so precise. Back then, I dreamt of strange countries, glaciers, gigantic mountains, lost river valleys, never realizing why I loved geography. Never knew that making those 3D maps for my topography exams would land me in those gigantic mountains and river valleys one day. Some call me a writer now, others call me a photographer, or a trekker, or a nomad – a word I should’ve known in my childhood. This is for all those who have harbored a dream ever – if there’s a dream that’s not letting you sleep, that’s what you want to be – live your dream. Photo taken by a fellow trekker as I hike towards Chandratal Lake. #India #SamsungPhone #travel #nomad #blogger #writer #photography #Himalaya #mountains #dreams #wanderlust #lake #nature #landscape #traveller #trekking #adventure #mountaineering #outdoor #hills #EatPrayLove
It has happened to me and I bet it has happened to every solo traveller out there. It happened while I was volunteering with the Tibetan people in Dharamsala. While there was a great group of fellow volunteers and kids to hangout with, exploring and coming back to a hotel room alone is not one of the things you can look forward to on all days. Not all solo travellers would confess to it, but yes, there are some serious bouts of loneliness and if we weren’t bitten by the travel bug, we would have given up. Confession.
4) But Then, There Will Be Rounds of Stranger Friends Too
That’s me and a friend; we met for the first time on this trip!
Don’t let point number 3 dissuade you from taking a solo trip, for there’s a very bright side to it. While I agree that solo travellers do get lonely at times, they make the best of friends too. Complete strangers bumping into each other on highways is the stuff dream friendships are made of. I’ve made quite a few highway friends and we have managed to stay in touch, journey together and discuss everything from the next trip to how we might just be running out of money for it and should travel together! Relations that are neither binding nor cold. So, yay!
5) We Are Multitaskers, Learn It If You’re Thinking Of Solo Travelling
Most of the solo travellers are multitaskers for the simple reason that they are dependent on none but themselves. So they are the ones who read maps, change flat tires, pitch tents, cook (I can’t), order food (big trouble for me), put alarms (with the knowledge that if they switch it off in sleep, they’ll waste hours), talk to the drivers, decode the ticketing procedures of different places, help the drivers by pivoting car wheels out of slush (I’ve done this) put all their stuff in one backpack that they can carry even into a loo (and still manage to clutch the door latch if it doesn’t work) and so much more. Think of a mix of any of these and that’s how we survive.
6) We Have A Lot Of Freedom that Comes With Implied Boundations
Just because we have chosen to travel solo doesn’t mean that we are absolute free birds. A firm line of control is already etched in our brains. So, we (usually) do not party all night, sleep with strangers, do drugs (!) or any of the shit that you might have fantasised about us. I generally end my days early, with a cup of coffee and great books and music for company. One reason of this being my liking to catch sunrises. So yeah, we are free birds with a very sure knowledge of the skies.
I wrote this post to simplify the concept of solo travelling to all of you. You too can join the troupe, going places, gloating in solitude. This isn’t rocket science.
If you too are a solo traveller and can relate to the blog, don’t forget to leave a comment and tell us how you cope with multi-tasking, loneliness or ghosts!
Till then, happy travelling.