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Everybody tells you that travelling alone is one sure-fire way to discover yourself. It's not all that peachy, but it's still very worth it, says this post.
Everybody tells you that travelling alone is one sure-fire way to discover yourself. It’s not all that peachy, but it’s still very worth it, says this post.
There are a lot of things that people will tell you about travelling, especially about travelling alone. I agree with most of them. For instance, it gives you new perspective, makes you stronger, and introduces you to a whole new self. However, what they will not tell you often is that the first time you travel alone and find yourself in your favourite city, there is a good chance that you will be burying your face in a pillow with a cup of hot cocoa and tears. Been there, done that.
This year was magical. I got to travel to DC, New York, and London, and for most parts, I was alone. Travelling alone for the first time is difficult. It is more difficult because the maturity that “alone” is not “lonely” only comes with time. After giving my parents an inspiring speech about how I was a grown-up who could take care of herself, I found myself lost, alone, and completely terrified while I was travelling between Connecticut and Washington DC, because I had gotten down at the wrong station and had no idea where in the world I was.
I was annoyed, because I always believed that travelling alone would be about wearing ridiculously sexy shoes, living the night life, or going through life-changing experiences all the time. I believed that I would love each and every minute from day one. In reality, I spent a ridiculous amount of time asking the guy at Starbucks to slow down when he talks, because I could not understand a word of what he was saying. I spent so much time wondering who I could ask to click a picture of me, because I did not know anyone. I realized that I am very awkward at sitting at a pub all by myself and ordering a bottle of beer; it just wasn’t my thing.
Yet, I grew up gradually, and fell in love with the beauty of travelling with oneself.
I met a woman who barely spoke any English but kept me company on a long train journey in the USA. I made friends with a cupcake lady who started referring to me as the girl who wears “pretty Indian shirts” and I even managed to have a conversation with a homeless poet.
I got used to people calling me “Nadia” because my name was too difficult for them to pronounce and eventually, the Starbucks guy learnt to say “caramel” in a way that it did not sound like Latin to me.
Travelling alone is romantic, but you also need to remember that sometimes it is not as romantic as everyone tells you it is.
Travelling alone is romantic, but you also need to remember that sometimes it is not as romantic as everyone tells you it is. I got lost in the middle of nowhere without a phone and with a travel card that didn’t work. I watched a man snatch my bag and run away in broad daylight, and all I could think of was how this whole travelling alone thing was a bad, bad idea.
A man in Dubai asked me how much I would charge to be his “companion” and scared the living hell out of me. I also discovered that you need to say “without meat” and that they don’t make burgers that are magically vegetarian.
But, I don’t remember all of that as much as much as I remember the good parts. It needs some getting used to, and once you cross the stage where you are whining about how every girl in London except you seems to be getting flowers, you actually start enjoying it. I remember falling in love besides the Thames River under the starlit skies, besides a beautiful footbridge and thinking “This is it!” The one thing that comes to my mind when someone says London is that “Love is in the air,” and believe me when I say that it is infectious too!
I remember seeing New York for the first time and feeling completely overwhelmed by it all. The sky-scrapers, the people who had no time for pesky tourists, and the quirky sense of unmatched street fashion.
There is the good, the bad, and sometimes, there is the downright ugly.
There is also the simply magical thing about travelling alone that will blow your mind and show you this world in shades that you never knew existed, which is why I believe that every person should take a trip alone. We usually bring back a souvenir or a piece of jewelry from wherever we travel to. But, while travelling alone, it is not what you bring back home, it is what you leave behind.
I not only left a piece of myself in these beautiful cities, but also left behind a truly petrified girl who could not read maps or eat a meal alone for someone who values the beauty of spending time with oneself!
Pic credit: Image of woman walking alone via Shutterstock.
A marketing graduate from the Indian School Of Business, Nandhitha is passionate about writing. She loves to write about the world around her and also enjoys dabbling with fiction/poetry. read more...
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My house-help asked excitedly, “I am going for wedding. Can you let me wear your red & black saree? To be honest I was stumped for a moment; I didn’t know what to say but I still said yes.
I lent a gorgeous saree to my house-help for a wedding in her family. Soon I stated getting questions if I would wear that saree again or if I was okay to be seen wearing the same saree my house-help was wearing?
We are all so conditioned to give our used clothes to our house-helps but are we okay to wear the clothes they were wearing?
A few days ago she came excitedly to me, “I am going for a family wedding. I want to wear your red & black saree, Ill wash and give it to you after the function. Please can you let me wear it?”
Beauty is a very clever, very evil capitalist tool. It traps those who have it into hanging on to it for dear life and those who don't into mutilating, torturing themselves to achieve the unachievable.
I recently wrote a piece about MP Shashi Tharoor’s tweet in which he had shared a pic with six women parliamentarians tagging them and saying “Who says the Lok Sabha isn’t an attractive place to work?”
There was a rash of comments on the post shared on Instagram, which ranged from “chill, it’s just a compliment” and “stop overthinking compliments”, to (worried) men lamenting about “these feminazi”.
Here’s my answer to all those comments.
Travelling alone is liberating, and I learnt so much about myself and the world out there as a solo woman traveller, something I couldn't have otherwise.
Travelling alone is liberating, and I learnt so much about myself and the world out there as a solo woman traveller, something I couldn’t have otherwise.
Last year during my backpacking trip to Europe an Australian fella with three daughters and a gracious wife were seated next to me in an overcrowded eatery. We got talking and unintentionally the Australian man asked me, “So why are you travelling alone? Why is your husband not accompanying you on this trip?”
Now I have heard this more often than I’d have liked, but it doesn’t take the acerbic sting away from the words each time I hear them again.
When you travel solo, you are fully responsible for yourself. You are also not needed to look after others' needs so you can focus completely on yourself.
When you travel solo, you are fully responsible for yourself. You are also not needed to look after others’ needs so you can focus completely on yourself.
Discovering myself with a new set of eyes is the motto of solo travelling for me. We live in a judgemental society. Yet, my restless feet and curious mind helped me fight the judgments around me.
Also, having parents who believe in me more than the society helped me go on my first ever solo trip to Sri Lanka. Here’s a listicle of things that I learnt in the journey.