“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.
I 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.
I 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.
And 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.
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 www.akswrites.com I also blog at Women’s Web, Bonobology, Mycity4kids, Sheroes.
Linking up for #wordsante with Namysaysso for every post deserves some love