*solitary here does not mean lonely, but by oneself or on your own
Being unencumbered of late, I’ve travelled around quite a bit on my own. I would even claim to enjoy it quite a bit (let’s say it’s grown on me, more out of necessity than of choice). Being a social person, given the choice, I’d rather travel with someone. So perhaps I would have a hard time doing something like a 21 day trek around the country on my own though I’m not completely closed against the idea either.
My recent wanderings in North India for example were not altogether unpleasant. I think the only time I miss a traveling companion is at meal times (it’s rather boring eating alone) and also when I want to share a particularly strong feeling about a place or something, but there’s no one to turn to and exclaim or rant and rave about it! Besides that, the advantages are that you can make your own plans, break them when you want, pretty much do what you want, and basically not have to worry about what another person thinks or wants to do.
The disadvantages however (in India, and moreover as a woman) are quite a few. One is traveling – especially in buses and trains – which I find quite disconcerting, especially when I get strange traveling companions. And it’s just my luck that I get the weirdest of them! I can remember numerous occasions when I didn’t really like my fellow companion at all.
Then there’s eating at restaurants, where people inevitably stare and make you feel uncomfortable. It’s not a nice feeling. You also can’t really land up somewhere and hope to check into any place (though I’ve known some people to do that). I would rather check the credibility of the hotel before I land up there.
Outside India, on the other hand, I had no such problems. Perhaps except in places like Paris where I wished I had someone to share a glass of wine with in one of those cute and cozy cafÃ©s. Or in Spain, where I wished I had someone to share my excitement as I walked down those beautiful tree lined boulevards admiring the gorgeous architecture!
Except for these moments, I’ve more or less enjoyed my solitary travels. I’m getting used to it now actually.
Yesterday, I was reading about a lady who organizes travels groups for women who don’t want to travel alone. Quite a swell idea, I think. For example, I really want to go somewhere next year, and it would be great if I could do it with some company at hand! WOW (Women on Wanderlust) claims to organize these trips within and outside India. If you want more information, you can visit this link or email firstname.lastname@example.org which I did and got a pretty quick response! You can also reach Sumitra on 09891655054.
It seems a good alternative for people like me and if you’re in the same boat, then it’s probably worth checking out.
The WOW Travel Calendar
August – Independence, monsoon trek
October – Sikkim, Kalimpong & Darjeeling
November – Egypt & Nile Cruise
December – New Zealand – a driving tour.
January – Mauritius
April – Himalayas – Camping
May – European cruise
June – Ladakh
July – Kailash Manasarovar
January – Sri Lanka with Maldives
April – Turkish Delight
May – Highlights of China
June – Central Europe
July – Ireland & Scotland with London.
August – Leh, Ladakh
September – Best of South Africa
October – Australia
November/December – Egypt with Nile Cruise
Sumitra also shared some of her background and details on WOW with me. You can read the interview here on Bangalore Metblogs.