The buzz around travel and the overall explosion of people wanting to travel is on an all-time high. There are all kinds of travellers with different types of gear and there are new words like glamping being coined. People are traveling solo, in groups – families or women only or globetrotting on a budget and what have you. There are groups focusing on adventure while on a trip or a specific theme and the list is unending. Further, the 30’s solo travel scene is surely looking up. In all this humdrum and frenzy, what does it mean for a 30 something Indian girl to travel solo?
FAQs and Some Excruciatingly Painful Explanations
Yes, you have to answer a lot of questions which will mainly be asked by your family and the concerned members of your extended family. Things like –
- Why are you going alone ?
- Don’t you have to get married?
- Why aren’t you saving?
- How will you manage?
- Will you be drinking?
- Are you going to mingle with foreigners? This one generally is followed by a grave statement (which actually is advice in disguise) like – don’t talk to these foreigners. Stay away from them. Don’t know what they would do. They might cling on to you if you talk nicely with them. Smoking and drinking and what not. huh.
- Where would you be staying?
This is perhaps not even one fourth of the questions being fired at you at the mention of solo travel. And you have to take immense pain and effort to answer this string of questions. Luckily when I did my solo trip, I didn’t have to answer any of these, thanks to my way ahead of times parents and family.
You Need to Be a Little More Careful & Alert
Yup, that’s something we can’t afford to not be while traveling solo. I was careful to the extent of being paranoid during my first solo trip to London. The deal here is that you have to fend for yourself. There is not going to be anyone to take care of you. So you have to be very alert and careful. Take care of your stuff – documents, money, passport, etc. Don’t leave your bag unattended ever, even if you are clicking a photograph. There no greater fear than realizing that you can’t find the passport where you had kept it previously!
You Can Handle Things in A Mature Way
By the time you are 30 or 30 plus, you have had a decent experience of the world. You also have formed a distinct world view. Being a girl adds a different element to the mix. There is a certain level of maturity too, with which you can handle tricky situations or take quick decisions depending on unprecedented circumstances you might face. Whether it is talking to people at reception at a hotel or hostel or asking someone for directions, you can bring in your own life experience to get the best in a situation.
Be Prepared to Meet Concerned Aunties & Uncles
You are sure to encounter concerned aunties and uncles anywhere you go around the world – Prague, Singapore, London, Brussels. You will get to hear Hindi for sure. If it is a comparatively quiet place like cathedral or a museum, you would surely have one of those elderly ladies popping by you and asking “are beta, aap akele ho? kaha se aaye ho?” Are you traveling alone? Where are you from? They are most certainly awestruck when you answer ‘yes’ to the first question and then they may zone out and the answer to the second question most probably won’t be registered. But that’s where the fun lies, to see those bamboozled expressions on their faces.
Secretly You Want to Get To Meet Your Prince Charming on Eurail or The Likes
As clichéd as it may sound, thanks to the rom coms and other sources of being ‘worldly-wise’, you secretly desire to stumble upon your elusive Mr. Right on one of such trips. So many girls have found their special someone while traveling. Whether they are road tripping across Arizona or bungee jumping from a tower in Singapore or hiking across Andes. There is always this yearning to find that ‘special someone’ in the most organic and accidental way possible, akin to a fairy tale. But ladies travel to have fun and broaden your horizon. Don’t expect a hero-like entity to sweep you off your feet!
Loads of Goodies and Snacks
Being an Indian is not devoid of baggage and stereotypes- good and bad. The good is that your family makes sure that you are well-fed on your trip. They will insist you carry food which will last perhaps three or four more such trips. But then, it is all family, it is love more than anything else. “What will you do if you don’t find anything you like in a restaurant? Keep these laddoos. You will feel hungry on the flight. Keep these biscuits and sandwiches. You know while sightseeing if you feel hungry or have tea or coffee, what will you eat? You should have a packet of chips or the likes.” So one has to be ready to carry a good amount of food!
Overall, while some will have nothing but admiration for you for having the courage to go it alone, some others would throw sympathetic glances at you. While some would be happy to help, a few others may just ignore or dismiss you. But one thing is for sure, you will learn things which you would never, sitting in a class room in a school or college or reading a course book. What you will definitely get is a very tiny glimpse of one of the chapters from the book of life!