My Roman Holiday
My mother tells me that I entered the world after a rocky, rickshaw ride home while she was returning home from a tea party. Since that momentous ride, I’ve had a long journey seeing the world. And most of my journeys have thankfully not been that rocky.
I’ve traveled extensively in India and seen a fair bit of Europe. I’ve seen the game parks in Africa and the theme parks in the US. I’ve travelled by road, by train, by sea and by air. I’ve gone on family holidays to visit family . And during university I even travelled with friends. Surprisingly, I have even travelled with complete strangers when I won the Malaysiajao contest organized by Blogadda. But the first time I travelled by myself was when I went to Milan to bring home Anna Shetty and six month old Wow Dinga.
I’ve never really wanted to travel by myself – always content to have someone do the planning for me. And even though Hubby Dear liked to treat me like a moron by keeping my passport and boarding card with him at all times, I didn’t protest when he carried my bags and put them away in the over head bin.
Once, while watching a re-run of the Black and White classic Roman Holiday, I felt a deep desire to see Rome. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Renaissance Art, to throw a coin in the Fountain and actually have a Roman Holiday! And even though, I wasn’t the elfin Audrey Hepburn and I didn’t have a Vespa, if this was my only chance to see the eternal city, I was willing to take it.
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide
The moment I announced to the world that I would be travelling to Italy entirely on my own, I was bombarded with advice and tales of horror. One friend assured me that I would be robbed at the first opportunity. Another told me about her own trip where a gypsy distracted her with a fake baby in a fake arm while the real arm picked her pocket. Yet another told me about Indians being mugged for their jewellery so I shouldn’t even wear an earring even if it was fake!
Basically, everyone tried to discourage me from travelling by myself.
Naturally, I thought otherwise.
Thanks to the Internet, travel is easy.
Before Wow Dinga was born, I had done a small gig with an online travel portal called Mygola . Thanks to this, I became quite adept at finding out information on the net which is available for free.
So I carefully planned each day , virtually visited each tourist spot so that when I actually landed at Rome’s Fuimicino Airport, I was ready to step on to the Leonardo Express like a seasoned traveller.
The real world
However, I realized that the real world is quite different from the virtual world. Even though I relied on reviews on Trip Advisor and Fodor, things aren’t always what you imagine they’d be. For instance, my first hotel Giuliana that came highly recommended by Trip Advisor was not exactly what I wanted. In fact Anna Shetty who had been to Rome just two months earlier had stayed in a better , cheaper and more accessible hotel in peak season!
Similarly, I found that Rick Steves audio travel guides were hopelessly outdated when I used them!
The joys of travelling solo
But this didn’t really detract from my travels with myself. What I really enjoyed was the thrill of seeing a place at my pace. I love seeing a new city by the Hop On Hop Off Bus and I generally do the first round without getting off. I then stop off at the places I want to explore .
I could see the museums I wanted, visit the shops I wanted to visit and basically get a feel of the place. At times when I just wanted to sit in a park and watch the world go by, I could just go ahead and do it.
One of the joys of travel is food . I am quite adventurous when it comes to eating and love trying out new cuisines in new places. During my Malaysian trip I found it really difficult to even eat an egg because my co-travelers were vegetarian. And not only were they vegetarian but they only wanted Indian food!
Contrast this to my one glorious day in Florence where I just gorged on Gelato. What bliss it was to have no one to tell me what to eat, which flavor to have and how many.
The first time I visited Singapore with Hubby Dear, his Uncle took us to a Department store since I wanted to shop for some lingerie. The two men took me to the first floor and pointed out the bras and panties and told me to go ahead. Really? I was embarrassed enough as it is and couldn’t bring myself to even go through one rack knowing that their eyes were following my every move. But on my own in Rome, I could shop for whatever I liked without fear or embarrassment.
You can read more about my trip to Rome here
So while it’s lovely to have a travelling companion, someone with whom you could share a glass of beer or wine at the end of the day, I think everyone should travel by oneself at least once in a life time. This gives you the chance to not only think for yourself but also think about yourself.
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 Sunita Rajwade
I write at http://www.mumbaionahigh.com which is my personal blog where I share my experiences, opinions and ideas ( aka ‘tips’) on lifestyle, food and my millennial babies and their babies.
I also blog at http://www.foodities.com though I’m having issues with the domain etc so you might find it not existing at the moment.
I used to blog at http://nappytalesandme.wordpress.com but that has been dormant for quite a while now since Wow Dinga, Ms. Papaya and Little Po became my almost full time commitment. This is because I believe in doing ‘putriseva’ i.e. helping my daughters fulfill their own careers that they worked so hard to achieve.
In the meanwhile, I continue doing ‘nothing’ like most housewives the world over and enjoy travelling, cooking and eating, photography, meeting new people and old friends and telling and listening to a good yarn.
Linking up for #wordsante with Namysaysso for every post deserves some love