So, as I pack my bags again to return to Kolkata from Odisha my mother asks me a question.
"You will be travelling alone in a night train."
I look at her and then the thought strikes, most of the time (99.9%) she does not know that I am travelling alone. The second line of thought is well she is my mother, if she will not worry then who else will.
When I look back in time, it has been over a decade of solo travelling. It started from the time I entered college and luckily this phase is still going strong. I read at places how unsafe solo travelling is for a woman especially in India. However, I believe I am lucky to be born in India and one of the reasons behind is that this country has immense beauty and enigma in every bit and corner (really... "Main toh tera jabra fan ho gaya").
Anyway coming to my point, there are advantages of being a solo traveler and I cannot trade it with company.
1. My Travel My Rules:
Have you ever tried going out with a group of people? There is a horde of complications. Some or the other Aunty (say bua, mausi, tai) will have too much of walking after just a kilometer of walk. Some or the other Chintu or Bubloo will have to take a leak or will be ever hungry. It means break at every few minutes and you may miss out on some moments.
Another huge issue is waking up early. I am an ardent early riser when I travel. Go with a group some or the other uncle will be snoring till early noon and you may end up missing moments like this:
|Just Before Sunrise|
When you travel alone you decide how much to walk, where to walk and most importantly when to walk. You can rest and put halt to enjoy the view. It gives you the pleasure to set your own pace and this brings to my second point.
2. Good things needs appreciation:
If you are like me then in all probabilities you need a travel partner of similar frequency. I like to stop and appreciate fine piece of art. I may spend hours in a museum or by a hill side to observe little details. Having a company in this situation can be fatal as they person might end up killing you out of boredom. If you love details lone travels is for you.
|Some small Himalayan Leaf|
3. Meet new people
As much as I love to speak less and be on my own, but meeting new people and observing them has its own distinct flavor. When you do not have a company to interact you become more observant. It helps you to notice mannerisms and little nuances. They in turn make you an excellent observer of life. So, next time you travel solo make sure you put your phone down and look up as the real world and people are waiting for you.
|A Child's Play|
I met this kid during one of my train travels. He was a little adult with whole set of opinions and mischief.
4. Food all the way
While I travel, I prefer local food joints and small portions compared to fixed lunch and meal. My general observation goes that when you move in groups or even two's many times you have to select the eateries. Your companion might not like your way of eating or rather snacking,
|Poha all the way|
I love street delicacies and look for local flavors while going out. The "Poha" while in Madhya Pradesh is an ideal breakfast for me.
5. Silence is the advantage
There are certain moments that require and demand silence. You just want to feel in the essence. Imagine a company who is constantly speaking out of excitement. Well I know you just feel to push him or her off a cliff. Well surprise when you are alone its all silence and all calm.
This was the moment of a lifetime for me. The sun and the ever changing hue of the mountain. I could manage just one or two clicks as I was awestruck and transported to some other realm. Silence and being alone helped a lot.
|The moment of a life time|
We live in a super busy world. We have a lot of noise whether from the people around or the social media. When you travel alone it helps you to unwind. You find answers to many of life's questions or situations when you are without noise and company. When you return, you are a new person.
Reaching at a particular height, say 8000 ft. above the sea level creates an enigma in you.I can find all my answers here. The simple flag and my time with them was some valuable introspection.
7. Karma Chanchal (Adventure)
Yes, that is what I found written on the Barabar Caves (more about it later). The place has history, nature and adventure combined. I went there and was the only traveler for the day.
Traveling solo has a sense of adventure to it. You have a varied array of emotions. It can be anticipation, calm and if you are lucky enough a sense of enlightenment. It tickles the adventurer in you.
8. Always a Traveler never a tourist
There is a difference between both of them. When you go in twos or group the chances are higher that you will end up being a tourist. You will pose, click pictures of famous places and that is it. A traveler on the other hand feels the place. He or she will explore the areas and avenues where no one sets foot. The person will know the place, feel its true colour and will have more than a bird's eye view of the place.
When I travel solo, I have a tendency to know beyond the convention. I ask local people directions (no, I hate using google maps). I plan my way erratically and even go for zig-zag walks.
9. You and the train.Indian railway fascinates me. When I travel alone I get to observe the stations, the scenes and the variants more. I can order any food from anywhere and no one stops. I can get down at nondescript stations and no one grumbles.Travel alone and romance the train.
|My Romance and the venue for a perfect date|
These are my reasons or advantages of travelling solo.
What are yours?
Do let me know.