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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

SOLO TRAVEL


Life changing moments seldom make their way into our worry-trodden lives in big dramatic entrances. It tends to slowly creep into your daily routine and one day you just wake up and smell the coffee to find that things aren't the same anymore, that you are not the same person you were yesterday. The recently discovered traveller in myself could be associated with something of that sort.

There's a certain thrill of discovering a new place with or without a whole new bunch of soul searchers just like you that drives one's need to travel. Of the many lessons I've learned during my travels in Europe, the one that taught me the most has been travelling solo. There's nothing like a blank calendar, and the flexibility of doing whatever you like in a city you've never seen before, seasoned with the little bit of loneliness and the fear of the unknown. It generates just the right balance to a memorable and exhilarating experience, with endless hours spent on reflecting on your decisions in love and life.

Coming from India, it's alien to think of even stepping into a train alone. Yes, times are changing, and risks are being taken, but us women will always be enchained with the additional burden of being cautious with every step we take in this country. This burden was released the moment I stepped into Europe; the easy atmosphere amongst people, of both locals & tourists alike, and their fascination with meeting new people paved way for the nervous traveller like myself to get comfortable. It's safe to say that the answers of life's most difficult questions are found when you're travelling.

With respect to the what, how & where of solo travelling, the first point would be to stay in a traveller's hostel. Share a dorm, socialise in the hostel lobby, join a walking tour. There's always a way to find someone to visit new places with, in case you're afraid of being by yourself or get tired of being alone (I met a girl who was amazed when I told her that I was travelling on my own, because apparently she tends to get sick of her own company!). Secondly, never forget to carry a good book with you, or a dairy to write in (I'd recommend fiction!). The story of the book becomes uniquely yours when the images and memories of the places you've visited are superimposed on the story as imagined in your head.

Amsterdam, being one of the cities that I visited on my own, is one of the gems in my collection of fond adventures. 

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