Being a nomad, my family has hopped from city to city until I hit my 20’s. In all four directions across the country, we have traveled quite a lot of places. As I grew older, started college in Chandigarh, I realized there was just so much to explore in and around Punjab. So living away from home definitely helped in someway and next moment I think of travelling alone. At first, I really freaked out with myself thinking I could be depressed or homesick depressed getting these weird ideas. But today, I am really thankful that I chose travelling alone over just spending my boring weekends at college.
1. When travelling alone, you’re your own boss.
Trust me, if you’re someone who freaks out with the whole someone-being-too-bossy that it gets on your nerves, you must by dying to travel alone. When I am on my own at a place I am ready to explore, I’d really love that no one tells me ‘it’s time to wake up’ or ‘hey! we need to leave now’. So whether you sleep more or just stay out a few extra hours, you’re good alone.
2. Peace of mind, like literally!
I love to go ‘Buddha’ and no, that sure doesn’t mean fire-the-stuff-up! We all live in the hustle-bustle of these metro cities amidst our monotonous routine with so many people. Personally, I feel everyone needs a break from their routine and even the people. Whether you’re travelling alone to a beach or mountains, a few days to just yourselves will rejuvenate you like nothing else.
3. Connect with yourself.
You’re either tangled in your past or rushing to fulfill your future aspirations. And maybe that’s one reason why all those dark circle and wrinkles cramp up faster on our faces today. Spend sometime with yourself, do things you like while you’re travelling. For some, travel heals a broken heart too!
4. Befriend strangers.
When I was travelling to Manali alone, I realized I was not just the only one, there were a couple more people too. The bus ride from Chandigarh to Manali is a long one and I found a strange right next to my seat. The advantage: That bus ride became less boring and we still are friends! A few days back I also found out something called Contiki. They have trips for 18-35 year olds. You pick your own trip across the globe and Contiki trips seem very exciting. And of course, you get to meet other Contiki travellers! Hopefully, I will be on their trip soon.
5. Tick things off your bucket list faster.
Oh, mine is a long list and from my personal experiences, if you take short/long trips alone every year, your list begins to look accomplished. Like on my bucket list I have a lot of places-to-go jotted down and I feel I am really making a progress there!
6. Experience new things.
Every place has something special about it. Whether you’re travelling in a city or a small hilly town, try things like communicating with the locals, learning about a particular craft or eating the local specialties. All these things have just so much to tell about that particular place.
7. Handling challenges better.
Well, travelling alone to a new place, will always have its set of challenges. From language to the inability to find vegetarian food. But you sure will know your way through.
8. Challenge your fears.
When you have a clear mind and no one to really demotivate you for a few days, your mind will begin to realize what really matters. Indian parents are extremely protective but that can often create fears in their child’s mind. Like when I went out alone, I had a tough time explaining myself that it’ll be safe for a girl travelling alone. And the more often I went on my own, the easier it simply was. The mental block diminished and now I travel like a boss!
9. Save money!
Whoever says travelling comes with a huge hole in the pocket, they really need to try travelling alone once. Of course unless you plan on only staying in a 4/5 star property then definitely. But I prefer the minimal way. Here’s my way: Do some research, look for hostels such as Zostel or find a home-like accommodation from AirBnB . If none of the options are available, look for hotels on websites such as Trivago or Goibibo an find a hotel that comfortably fits your budget. I am more of a ‘mountain’ person and the places I pick are like remote small towns. So travelling is mostly on foot. Money saver there too!
10. Indulge like no one is watching.
Eat or hog as much as you like and drink till until you feel you could roll down, there’s no stopping!
11. Feeling responsible about yourself.
This one is what comes in handy increasing confidence for a lot of first time travelers. You could make mistakes, or there could be things that could have been better. When you know them the first time, you know what needs to be better on your next trip. So go boy! Yes, you have made yourself proud!
12. You have some real stories to tell!
My bus from Delhi to Lucknow had once given me a hard time, and this is one story which is hilarious even today to tell. Every time you are travelling alone anywhere on earth, it’ll come with a new set of experiences. And if you travel often like I do, you will have a string of stories for life!
Here are a few things that I think could help you have a great experience while you’re travelling alone:
- Always have a power bank. Or maybe two! You know why.
- Have a good first-aid kit with all your medicinal needs including a mosquito repellent.
- When going to a new city, try taking the local commute. It really adds to the experience.
- Pack like a pauper. Do take nice clothes but optimize your packing!
- Have emergency contact written in a pocket diary that is always in your handbag or pouch.
- Wear sport shoes where ever you can. I do a lot of walking so it helps.
- Enjoy and relax, it’s truly your vacation with you!
So now that you know what travelling alone can do, pack up and hit the road!
Share your stories of travelling alone in the comment section below. Also, if you enjoyed reading this and it encourages you to really travel alone, share to inspire your friends too!