Guestblog, Travel

How solo travel enriched my life [ Guestpost ]

How solo travel enriched my life #TravelDiaries #GoSolo

“Travel is like love, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” Pico Iyer

I first heard about solo travel a couple of years ago and it seemed very weird to me. How can someone enjoy being alone? What fun is it visiting places alone, eating alone, taking pics alone? I couldn’t fathom.

Then came a business trip to Hong Kong which was a life changing experience in many ways. I was 24 and hardly exposed to a foreign culture. I had the choice of staying holed up in the room or explore the country on weekends, I chose the latter and it changed the person I was in significant ways.

I became more comfortable in my skin- I wasn’t really bothered about what people thought.I was happy sipping my hot chocolate and eating my Panini alone at a cafe, taking time to savour the food rather than gobble it up.

The next solo travel experience came in 2017- in fact peeps as I type this post from my apartment in Zürich, I have begun to love this concept of solo travel so much as I see how it has enriches me as a person.

I got a chance to come to Zürich where the Swiss Bank that I work for is headquartered. It’s a 2.5 month long business trip which leaves me with 9 weekends (18 days) . This time there was no hesitation. In fact as it was my 2nd visit to the country and I knew how to get around, it was relatively easier.

solo-travel-tourism-shalzmojo-guestpost-vacation-destinationI travelled to various places like Lugano- the beautiful city which has an Italian flavour and is at the border of Swiss Italy, Brienz mountains and Interlaken by boat where I was completely blown away by the beauty of the picturesque surroundings, old town Baden and I still have a weekend to go- I hope to visit Geneva or Zermatt but haven’t made up my mind.

solo-travel-tourism-shalzmojo-guestpost-vacation-destinationI also had chance to visit Paris with my brother and his wife who were visiting and it was a beautiful feeling to see the Eiffel Tower – which I had only seen in pics.

solo-travel-tourism-shalzmojo-guestpost-vacation-destinationAnd how can I not mention the highlight of this trip- my first paragliding experience – 4000 feet above sea level, which literally took me to new heights.

I have travelled to Singapore Thailand, Malaysia on vacation with family but due to economy of costs and keeping in mind the convenience factor, we booked guided tours. The experience was horrible . It was more like wake up at 6 am, leave the hotel in a bus and stop at 5 different points during the day, take pics and move on. I never had the feeling that I got to know the city, its culture, breathe the air around and feel the place.

These experiences in Switzerland helped me realise that travel has to be all about breathing in the city, travelling in a local tram or train, having cheese fondue in a local restaurant, chatting with folks from the city- doing the non touristy things.

I deliberately chose non touristy places this time – like the Brienz mountains and Baden and I could feel the unadulterated joy in being in less crowded places and devouring the sights.

It’s best to plan things when travelling especially when you are alone. I am a meticulous planner and a very organised person. I planned most of my trips after coming here, talking to people around and using trip advisor which proved very handy.

Do not expect goof ups won’t happen. We had a one hour flight delay to Paris and almost lost our money – as we had booked tickets in advance to go up the Eiffel Tower. Similarly I landed up in Ascona which has been voted as one of the most beautiful cities and realised most things are closed due to winters.

These things happen, the point is how we deal with these goof up’s, misses and setbacks and make the journey enjoyable. No point in crying over spilt milk – make the most of what you have.

Travelling alone also means you are totally responsible for yourself- you need to be alert at all times, make sure you have checked out details for the last departure to the city, be accountable and awake.

The best part about travel is it helps you rediscover yourself as a person and get closer to your inner soul, understand it and speak to it. You don’t need to make adjustments or compromises for someone else- you do as you please. You learn to love yourself a lot more as you come home tired at end of the day but with renewed vigour to go and explore a new place the next day. You  get a chance to interact with more people during the course of your journey, at times your heart melts at the generosity of strangers like the woman who gave me a free apple or someone who gave me the brightest smile. You also meet unpleasant people but you learn to shake your head and walk off- you can’t waste your precious time on toxic people.

To be honest, I felt so connected with myself during my solo travel that I could feel a vacuum when I was travelling with company. I kind of missed doing “my kind of thing”.

With a 3-year-old toddler and a demanding job, I am not sure when my next solo travel will be, but I know I am going back with many memories and a greater connect with my inner self. I will treasure these and look for the next adventure.

Howdy folks! This december starts with a bang on my blog as I run a unique bloghop with 28 bloggers to write guestposts for me and each other all this month. I hope my readers will catch all the action and support this drive with their comments and feedback to encourage the writing. To know more about this blog hop in detail, you could catch this post here.

About Akshata

I am a Chartered Accountant by profession, someone who is passionate about her career and aspires to grow. My heart lies in writing- I write on varied topics ranging from fiction, relationships. women at the workplace, sexism, parenting stories. I love to dabble in micro fiction, writing a story in 33 words is a challenge but equally rewarding.

I was recently chosen by Women Web as one of the Top 10 Indian women bloggers to be followed. Apart from my own blog I also blog at Women’s Web, Bonobology, Mycity4kids, Sheroes.

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42 thoughts on “How solo travel enriched my life [ Guestpost ]

  1. I too think that there’s nothing quite like travelling alone. It’s the best way to find yourself and discover the world. Thanks Akshata for sharing these insights

    1. You bet! It seems weird at first but as one sheds these inhibitions, the experience becomes enjoyable! You are well travelled, guess from your posts, do share your journey as well

  2. That’s awesome Aks and indeed solo travel leaves us with an enriching experience but many do not understand it until they experience it 🙂 I hope you cover Geneva / Zermatt or may be both the places before you take off from there 🙂

    1. Looks unlikely Keerthi with the weather not being the best and I have an invitation on Saturday for lunch which is a 3 hour journey! I would save some places for my next visit, thanks so much for your kind comments as always

  3. Your travel tales are very inspiring!! I have read your earlier posts too and thoroughly enjoyed the way you have described your solo sojourns!! Yet another interesting post Akshata!!

  4. Oh yes, for those who love traveling alone, there could be nothing better than that! I love the idea too and have often dreamt of going on one myself but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon. I love how you are savouring each moment and are enjoying your stay in a Switzerland. I hope you have a great time and have many more such solo trips to cherish in future too!

    1. Thanks so much Esha. It wasn’t so much by choice but by chance and given that I was visiting on work and al alone, I thought I should optimise this opportunity and the best part is I enjoyed it. I do hope you get to experience it someday and will wait for the post!

  5. I wish I was younger. I would have loved to travel solo. But then there were kids to look after and now too many health restrictions. But thanks to your posts Akshata, I get to travel with you. 🙂

  6. Travelling solo definitely is a self boosting exercise! Agree you Akshata that when we visit a place, we must breathe in at a pace that we wish to and not at the dictum of the day’s itinerary.
    Your first person account kept me engaged till end of the post!

    1. So kind of you Anagha! Yes its important to savour each moment and enjoy the place rather than take a few pics to put on Instagram and run away to the next destination

  7. Please do visit Zermatt…you will fall in love. It is cuteness overload, I tell you. Unfortunately we were there for just half a day and I have already decided on going back.
    Solo travel is one thing I need to tick off next year. It is such a boost to your confidence and helps you learn more about you as a person.

    1. Sadly I don’t think I will have time as I have just the last weekend. I did lots of mountains though and covered off Uteliberg in Zurich which was amazing. You are one glove trotter Aditi- solo travel is what I would highly recommend for a seasoned traveller like you

  8. It is always the first step that’s hardest. Once we step out of our comfort zone, everything seems to work in our favour. Travelling solo is the most amazing experience. It boosts up our confidence. Thank you for sharing your experiences. They are an inspiration 🙂

  9. For mothers of young kids, solo travel is a blessing indeed! I completely relate to what you said about goof-ups, having been LOST in Macau and Munich… but it is so much fun, I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

  10. I’m yet to take a solo trip and I must say, your post is tempting me to plan one soon. It sounds like so much fun. On a vacation I think what matters is not to scratch tourist places off the list but enjoying the vibe of the place. Enjoy your time in Zurich!

  11. A lovely post.. So happy you decided to seize those 18 days and live it up. Your advice to stay ‘awake’ really cracked me up.. But so true, plan in for sleeping and relaxing too!

  12. WoW post on solo travel, Akshata and sure teaches us a lot on new found independence, being free spirited and exploring life on our own. It feels like a lifetime. I normally travel solo and not because of single! I get to explore another side that offers me so much serenity.

    1. True that Vishal! Single or in a relationship, one should always take some time for themselves and solo travel is a great way of exploring and strengthening that bond with self

  13. Wow! Akshata, that is the most inspiring post I have read in recent times! Inspiring for me, because I have always fancied travelling alone, but never have tried actually doing it. There is a whole lot of fear nestled within my mind which stops me from doing what I dream about. I really need to read this post as often as I can. Maybe it will help the fear dissipate with time and infuse in me some courage and self-confidence!
    Thank you for this awesome post!

    1. You are always super kind and thats why I look forward to your comments- it leaves me with a mushy feeling. To be honest I dont think I would have done it by myself had it not been a work opportunity. Having got a fully paid trip to one of the most expensive countries and knowing well that there is slim chance I will visit again at my own expense , I choose to make the most of it. The best part is doing things alone made me feel happy. I do hope you do it someday – take your little parrot along! that could be fun 🙂

  14. Your post is quite inspiring. I have been constantly thinking of taking a solo trip, but i get really scared thinking how i would do it alone. I am going to try one this year for sure 🙂

  15. Although, it is exciting and rewarding to travel to newer places with family and friends, but there’s something incredible about traveling alone.It’s so empowering and enriching. Everyone must travel solo at least once and I agree with you when you say that it takes you to new heights and changes you as a person too.

  16. Incredible! I always looked up to your posts, and since the time these SOLO trip posts started coming up it’s like amazing. Solo travel is fun, exhilarating & re-inventing yourself. I got the chance to travel solo some years back – as spinster. I am sure you had a great time in Zurich and loving all the social media feed from you.

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