*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 cafés. 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 me@wowsumitra.com 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.

22 thoughts on “Notes of a *solitary traveller

  1. By the way, your disclaimer about the meaning of “solitary” — its very much in place. I can’t believe the number of people who equate solitude with loneliness. Loneliness makes you sad, Solitude gives you so much peace.

  2. Yikes. Busloads of crazy, shrieking, moody feminists conquering northern india. Now that’s disconcerting.

    President, Association for the Conservation of the Petty Indian Male Population (AC-PIMP).

  3. True, very true. Travelling alone is good except eating food alone and no one to talk about.
    BTW thanks for the great link. I didnt know about this organization.

  4. travelling alone is really nice, if you actually have low expectations and an openness to meet make friends along the way.

    But again, you are right.. A woman travelling alone is still a problem esp. in india.


  5. Awesome stuff on your blog… rock on!!!

    Just last week I happened to land this sweet deal on tickets to Malaysia!! I got it from :-


    Check it out.. it’s free!!! Trust me.. the best deals and nothing else!! You can get tickets from US to anywhere in the world!!! Ask everyone to register using this URL (its free for a Gold membership).

    Happy traveling…n joi !!

  6. Hi. I can’t find any contact information so, I’m going to post this as a comment. I’m writing you from the International Museum of Women and am trying to get in touch with female bloggers, writers, artists, filmmakers in their 20’s and 30’s about our exciting exhibit called “Imagining Ourselves: A Global Generation of Women.” Right now we are having a Call For Submissions, and after reviewing your very elaborate blog, I thought you might be interested in submitting some of your work. For more information contact me at iosubmissions@imow.org or visit our website.

  7. Nice post. That restaurant-remark is so true. It is harder for women in India, even when not traveling alone. Had been to Goa recently. Offseason and all. But each time a woman appeared on the beach, even if well dressed, 20-30 onlookers appeared from nowhere.

  8. shruthi: you’re welcome! and you’re right. in fact, i get asked this question often and its hard to explain that being alone does not necessarily mean you’re lonely!

    masala chaii: i agree 🙂 hopefully, i can try it out too sometime and check if it’s really a wow experience!

    arnab: go away you pest, and study for your PHD. what the hell are you doing here?

    hey twilight, i hope you’re going to protest or something!

    paavani: you’re welcome. i hadn’t heard about it either. it’s relatively new…

    vasu: glad we agree on something 😉

    gina: absolutely!

    thanks kathryn… will get in touch!

    pranav: true. you’re always under scrutiny…

    madman: was that pertaining to you? 🙂

  9. Hi
    Itwas wonderful to see that someone shares the passion of travel like I do. Ofcourse I do love to travel alone giving me opportunity to interact and adapt while my blog helps he speak out my feelings I guess.
    So until later
    Happy Journeys to exciting lands!!

  10. WOW sounds good. Unfortunately cudn’t open the link. moi aussi spends a lot of time wandering alone. and yes solitary doesn’t mean alone.

  11. Great post! I expect you to pay me a visit in Germany next year then!!!

    I don’t mind travelling alone, except when it comes to eating alone (as you said). Mostly I am visiting friends all over the world. I am planning to visit India (never been there yet) in November, but there is lack of cash, so I will see whether my project will work out! All the best and keep on blogging!

    Anja Mwende

  12. traveling alone even for a guy is little difficult with ppl asking lot number of questions as to why hes alone..
    somethings wrong with him, blah blah blah…

    you forgot to add one more thing.. travelling alone except when in the beach.. it really sucks when ur alone in the beach..

  13. Wow, indeed. Amazing concept. True, travel is one thing that is pleasanter in good company but for this offers the possibility for those who choose to or are forced to travel alone. I guess more women will now give it a try!

  14. Dear Anita
    grateful if you could update info on WOW Club, both on your blog and Metro blogging Bangalore. Please remove earlier ID and put in mine, as I will be responding to people who write in. my id is me@wowsumitra.com and cell is 9891655054.
    also, this is the new WOW travel calender for 2008:

    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.

    Great if you could please do the needful.

    thanks & regards


  15. hi Anita

    request you to remove the email ID mentioned in your story, (also in MetroBloggers, Bangalore)as it is not relevant.

    Please put in this Id – me@wowsumitra.com

    and my telephone number if possible – 09891655054

    thanks very much.


  16. Pingback: Prozac.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.