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My First Solo Trip Left Me With A Hangover I Don’t Want To Get Rid Of

Posted: March 17, 2021

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I love spending time with myself and I love driving. My first solo trip gave me all both, and so much more!

Bangalore-Auroville-Pondicherry-Tiruvannamalai-Bangalore.

It has been forty eight hours since I returned from my maiden solo trip. The days and nights have been the usual since my return; there are the same daily chores and discussions, the meals of the day and night time routines. However, something is different.

I am not able to put my finger on it at this stage. Something definitely has changed within me. Maybe time will reveal it. For now, I am going with the flow.

This ‘flow’, is pushing me to pen down my thoughts, on how the five nights and six days were spent discovering myself in a new light.

How my first solo trip unfolded

The Drive

Under the shadow of the moonlit sky of the wee hours, I set out to experience my maiden self-driven solo trip. The adventure began from the word go, where I had to carry all my luggage, all on my own, from the second floor to the car. I understood the pain of my fellow passengers when I traveled. So I got to learn to travel light when traveling alone! And also, that I have always been a brat and need to change that part of me.

Reading maps, even on GPS, has always been a weak point for me. I have always relied on my companions for that job. I can comfortably say now, that with practice we do get better. And I did. After missing a few turns, I learned to apply the tricks and did not have any issues during the entire drive. I never had the confidence which I have now.

The long hours of the drive did not bother me at all, I loved every second of it. The playlist of songs which my loved ones had made for me, kept me company all throughout.

I turned Philosopher, zigzagging the car between the heavy vehicles of the highway.

I love spending time with myself and I love driving. The combination of the two, for six to seven hours brought in several thoughts. Since I had nothing else to do, I heard and acknowledged every thought. I’m sharing a few here which remained with me:

– I thought of the moment when I dared to dream regarding this journey, doing it all alone, the week-long trip, the drive. Nervous and jittery, it was a long road, from daring to dreaming, acknowledging it and finally taking action on it.

– On the highway, witnessing the pitch darkness of the night turn into beams of light slowly falling on the road, I thought, it is inevitable for the rays of light to step in, right after the peak of darkness in our lives. Nature shows us this every day at dawn!

– A self-uplifting thought also crossed the mind. Since the time I have come to a big city, I always assumed that being from a small town was a disadvantage. Now, when I am exploring life on my own, exploring places, especially in small towns, I see that I know how to thrive and ‘drive’ in these smaller towns. I know the mentality, I know what to expect and I feel so at home. The ‘disadvantageous’ thought turned to an advantage, and I felt I ‘belonged’ like never before in a long time.

– When I decided to do the solo trip, there were a lot of factors; my family, friends, people at work, etc wondered, were amused and confused (yes, these exact emotions). I had to convince them all of my decision. Eventually, over a period of one month of coaxing, acceptance set in. The day before the trip, a lot of feelings were consuming me. I wasn’t able to comprehend any of it. All this time I spent, in making others believe in this decision, I did not focus within myself, of my conviction with the decision. When I was packing for the trip all alone, the mind had tons of mixed up thoughts and feelings. I can now say that most of it was the fear of the unknown.

– This exploration of mine had all boiled down to figuring out what is on the other side of fear. Till the moment we take the leap, we do not know. It is only when we put one step forward that we come to know, that there was nothing to be fearful about. What lies ahead are just endless possibilities! We can Be, Think, Do and Feel anything. It was an alien feeling, and it was amazing!

– I had no expectations at that moment from myself and no one had any from me. How I wished to drive, where was I looking, where was I stopping, what was I eating…it was new. Being with myself, out of the comfort zone was new. New and beautiful. I was fiercely grateful.

How I overcame my fears

I can now clearly define the different kinds of fears I had before the trip and how I could overcome them.

Long car journey

What helped was:

– Preparation

– Knowing the vehicle

‘Managing’ food during the journey

There is nothing to manage. Just listen to the body. Eat when hungry, drink when thirsty.

Washroom breaks on the highway alone

A lot of convenience is provided for the benefit of the drivers

Fear of feeling bored

I started enjoying my own company

Fear of having nothing to do

Realizing that itself is an amazing thing

Fear of not being able to manage on my own

When it comes to doing things, we automatically start functioning on our own

Fear of being looked at weirdly

Realizing that nobody cares!

Fear of anything going wrong

Having faith and believing that everything has a purpose

I could understand and conclude that fear is not of a particular thing. It is only of the unknown. We are conditioned to be fearful of the unknown. What if we start believing that this ‘unknown’ has all possibilities, because it is ‘unknown’? It is not conditioned, has no perceptions. Anything is possible here; discovering, rediscovering, loving, enjoying, breathing, living or just being, doing nothing at all. But there is no fear in the unknown. In fact, it can be completely moulded to our liking.

Top highlights from my trip (in no particular order)

– Sighting a beautiful white owl looking straight at me, while sitting on the corner of the balcony of my room, on that Auroville morning

– Meditating for over half an hour with a peacock resting right in front of me, in Tiruvannamalai

– Seeing the sun rise right from the balcony of my room in Pondicherry

– Cycling for the joy of cycling through the Auroville streets

– The solo motor boat ride in the mangrove forest in Pichavaram

– The high energy Karaneswar Nataraja Temple near Auroville

– The evenings stretching till night, sitting at the beach doing nothing, with wind in the hair and a song in the heart

– The two wheeler ride on Pondicherry roads, without any particular destination to go to

– Sighting of the Arunachala hills and spending some quiet time at the holy town

– Attempting pottery and living the moment of creation, just with the fingers and clay

– Singing along with all the songs playing on the stereo, while driving along the long-stretching highway roads

– The ‘no need for pictures’ moments and also taking many selfies, recording videos of my experiences

And, many more inexplicable moments and emotions, which words will not do justice to.

Questions which I will answer for myself now

– How many things do we really do just for the joy of doing them?

– What do we need company for? And why are we still unhappy, if we do get the company of our choice?

– Can we be happy with others, if we aren’t happy with our own selves?

– Can I do nothing, and still be happy?

Someone suggested to me after the trip, various ways of how people travel solo. But, I could not relate myself to those. I feel I am not just traveling, I am seeking. Seeking ‘Me’.

For now, traveling seems like a natural instinct and I will keep fulfilling this ‘calling’, until something else comes along, and then something else. Till the time I get to a point, where I seek what is inside of me, within me. Till the time activities cease to be important. Till the time the heart is satisfied with where it is and this ‘seeking’ turns to ‘being’.

First published here.

Image credits Zeljkodan, via Canva Pro

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