Anumeha Gupta an MBA from XLRI, consultant by profession and traveller at heart. Here she shares with us her experience about travelling solo. Yes you heard it right!!! She tells us about the ups and downs of travelling alone. But like a true consultant, she leaves the question unanswered whether one should travel solo or not. She believes that it is a personal call and varies from individual to individual.
By no means, I am an authority or a specialist in any kind of travel, what to do or what not to do during travel etc. All I can say is that I am a travel enthusiast. Seeing new places, even the idea of seeing new places gives me a high. It is one of the pleasures of my life to think about my next travel, plan the places I want to visit, read about those places. Being a consultant, I am used to structure in things around me, especially in thought process. Hence I stated the assumptions in the beginning of the article like you do while solving a mathematical problem.
Now coming to the question of solo travel? Where does it come into the picture? What does it actually mean? Does going with a group of strangers in a pre-arranged tour/trek count as solo travel. Well on a scale of 1to 10 where 1 is completely introvert and 10 is extrovert, my score is 6. Thus, I find myself as a curious mixture of an extrovert and an introvert. I like talking to, meeting with new people but like to recharge myself by just being alone in my room while doing any random stuff.
So when the idea of travel comes I like to go with people I like, but as my experience tells me, it does not happens. Either the other person is not free or your leave dates can’t match. Also being a travel enthusiast I am hell bent on using the dates I have identified for travel. So company or no company I manage to go. At times like these, you can look out for pre-planned tours which I normally use for treks in Himalayas and Sahaydris because I am still not ready to shoot for Woman Vs Nature.
Then another issue you have with company is that you end up adjusting somewhere or the other. You are a budget traveler, wanting to stay at local hotels closer to market or bus stands but with your group you will be staying in a swanky palace some 10-15 km far from city in double the amount you might have paid in the first place. I am in no ways saying here that first is wrong or second is right. All I am trying to state here is that different people have different choices and you might like or not like the other person’s choice. So, solo travel comes with its freedom. You like ancient architecture? You can spend as much time you want with the guide with no one rushing you to go for lunch. You like chilling at a beach? No need to go beach hopping on a scooter.
But solo travel has its own pitfalls. It comes with its own set of responsibilities where you have to take care of yourself. Too tired to go and have a bath or to go out to eat? No one will be there to drag you from your bed. Also at times while discussing in a group, you come up with brilliant solutions which you will miss out on while travelling solo. Then you need to convince and get permissions from your parents to travel alone? Yes, that is tough, you being in any corner of the country or world. Any advice from me is going to be useless on that. Try your basic tactics of coaxing, cajoling convincing etc….
I have travelled solo and my last trip was with mom, brother, aunty and cousins. And we had an amazing time with my overenthusiastic mom and aunt and their contaminating energy. So travelling with family can also be a very good chance to bond with your family away from home and its responsibilities.
Travel has its own stages of maturity. On a scale of 1 to 10 where on 1 you are a tourist and on 10 you are a traveler. A tourist has everything planned from start to end of trip, which hotels to stay in, places to visit, cars to hire etc. Being a traveler is about taking decisions on the run and factors then and there. Again I do not want to say what is right and wrong. It is again about what kind of a person you are and your circumstances. I aspire to become a true traveler someday.