Since I started MIRCHI KOMACHI, I have been consciously reading various articles and blogs for research & learning. I'm surprised at the huge number of articles about women travelling alone.
Especially for Indian women, travelling solo seems to be a 'breaking news' which provokes comments like "Alone? Isn't that boring?" or "Who protects you?".
When I used to make personal trips (now it's a luxury for me...), they were usually backpacking, at least for 1.5 months, and alone. I love travelling solo. I wish all the women taste it. Just one sip. Then you'd be addicted.
This time, I talk about the reasons why I love travelling solo.
Advantages In Travelling Solo
For me, there are three.
1. Easy To Become Friends With Local People
For me, the biggest interest in travels is to see the life of the local people.
Many people guess that it feels lonely to travel alone since there's no one to share the feelings with. But it's actually opposite. Oddly enough, I always ended up with almost no day without spending some time with someone. You can never travel without communicating (more than least required conversation) with someone (unless you travel in an uninhabited area).
People who want to sell something, like souvenir shops, hotels, or guides, approach to any travellers. But the foreigners whom 'normal' local people would feel like approaching are the solo travellers. If you are in a group of two or more, local people like families may not take the time to approach you, because groups look sufficient and happy with themselves.
Not even with local people, but if you want to talk to other travellers, you can catch them any time. The fellow travellers are very helpful to share the same feelings and exchange the latest information with.
You would be too busy to feel lonely when you are travelling alone. Trust me.
2. Everything's Your Business
First, before the travel. You don't face a trouble that you can't leave just because you can't find anyone to go along to this place.
And during the trip, you can decide everything on your own will selfishly. You can travel willy-nilly. The discovery of great places/people comes pretty often when you are just flowing with the tide.
When you love a certain town and feel like staying there more, you might not be able to do so if your friend is not enjoying as much as you do. When you meet a person who occupies your mind and want to know him/her more, you might care about your friend, and so as your friend about you.
Also, you can give all your attention to the surroundings/people/views when you are alone. When you're talking with a friend, you might miss things in your eyesight. At least I do.
As everything's your responsibility, when you didn't enjoy a day, you wouldn't need to blame on your friend (even in your mind) or feel sorry to your friend. You can just concentrate on what fun you can have.
3. One Can Come Face-to-face With One's Own Naked Self
When you travel alone, you face cases you need to judge or you never expected, one after another. Leaving your original environment where you are protected and deeply used to, your true self comes up to the surface. Your sense becomes sensitive and your emotion vividly reacts to various things. You discover how you react to things like someone facing hardships. By observing your own feelings and reactions, you get to know yourself better than before.
Advantages For Women To Travel Alone
Now, especially for women. Again I found three.
1. Likely To Be Invited To The Local People's Houses
I think it's a privilege of being a woman. When I travelled in Iran for 2 months, always some strangers offered me to stay at their places, and I ended up using hotels only a few nights in total. If I were a male or a group, not all these strangers would have let me/us staying at their houses. It is much easier for 'normal' families to invite a foreigner to their houses when she is a harmless-looking woman. And of course 'homestay' is the best way to know the country and its people.
2. If You're Not Trained To Make Decisions Yourself, You Will Be
For example, when someone invites you to his/her/their house like in No.1, you need to judge by yourself whether it's safe or not. There are lots of tips on the internet, but if you keep judging by yourself, you would develop your gut instincts.
There might be a lot of women in India who are so used to receive instructions (not only unwelcome ones) from others about what she does in daily life. If you're one such woman, you'd feel overwhelmed at first that you have to judge everything from trivial things to big things. But I think it's important for an independent mature woman to decide what she wants to do, how she wants to spend her time and money, what she does for her safety, etc, all by herself. You can be trained to do that.
3. You Get Confidence In Yourself
As a result of doing No.2, you will find yourself a little stronger than you were before the travel. And you would feel proud of yourself. Isn't that awesome?
Which Are The Countries Suitable For Women To Travel Alone?
It was even more surprising to find so many articles on this on the internet. Do you choose your destination from this point first? Then your options would be so little, no? And there's no guarantee for nothing bad to happen even in such countries anyway.
I think the more random your reason to choose the destination is, more fun your travel becomes. For example, things like, 'To visit the cafe in the film Bagdad Cafe', 'To see Rafflesia in the jungle', or 'To join Palestinian musicians living in Israel', etc etc.
Don't Stuff Yourself With Tips
It is such an amazing age, you can get heaps of information and tips on the internet about everywhere. But stuffing yourself with too much information and getting too prepared would reduce fun from your trips, in my opinion. And also, you would get an illusion that you can have a perfectly smart trip if you follow these tips, and when something doesn't go as planned, you might feel you failed badly.
Wonderful encounters pretty often drop in during the roundabouts or 'idle' moves. Trust me.
So this is it! Has anyone got some itchy feet longing to go somewhere alone?? Go go, don't think twice, go, ladies!!
"Calling you" in the title reminded me of this quirky but heartwarming film "Bagdad Cafe". If you haven't seen it, see it already! You'll love it. Trust me.