First things first. Why travel solo? Well, I can use a string of adjectives to describe the feeling that comes with travelling solo. Empowering, enjoyable and invigorating are just some of them. Frankly, it is the single greatest gift you can ever give yourself. Try it once and you will be hooked forever. Here are just a few reasons for you to consider travelling solo -
1. It offers you freedom of choice - If it is freedom you hanker after, travelling on your own is the best way to taste independence. You eat what you want, you see what you want to see, you take as much time at a place as you want and travel the way you want to. There are no compulsions and no strings attached. It is a very liberating experience. Imagine having to wait for your companion to get out of the bed or bathroom, arguing with them about the route, attractions or timings, wanting to walk -- all this when you have to cover a destination in a limited number of days.
2. It boosts confidence - Nothing boosts your confidence like being on your own in an unknown destination. When you have no one to lean upon, you learn to face up to challenges, make your decisions and come out a winner. You learn to hone your survival instinct and that paves the way for bigger things in life.
3. It allows you to be your true self - travelling solo comes with 'no baggage' guarantee. I don't mean the 'baggage' in literal sense. All it means, here, is that there is no need to pretend. You can dress the way you want, eat what you want and let your hair down. There is no need for adjustments to others' tastes and opinions. Imagine not having to offer justification for your food, dress or behaviour, suffer criticism and tolerate disapproving looks even when you look like something the cat dragged in. Imagine being comfortable in your own skin.
4. It offers you an opportunity to move out of your ‘comfort zone’ - Travelling solo allows you to move away from the set patterns in your life and you learn to take the bull by the horns. When there are no companions instructing you on the next step, you learn to challenge yourself and come up with solutions. It doesn't mean that everything will fall into your lap. There will be roller coaster moments but learn to deal with them. It is all part of the learning process.
5. It is cathartic - Travelling solo can be a cathartic process. If you are going through a loss or a heartbreak, facing challenging career changes or dealing with emotional upheaval, it will prove to be a healing experience. Take a leaf from the protagonist, Munmun Menon, of Solo in Singapore, who escapes on a solo voyage to get over her breakup.
6. It is a great educator - Nothing teaches you as much as travelling, we know. But travelling on your own does that even better. You learn patience, know about the culture, tradition, cuisine as well as the locals at your destination. Sometimes, you can pick up a few words of the language, too. Learning to live in a place completely different from the familiar one, comes with a host of benefits. Most of all, you learn about yourself and your capabilities. You learn how resourceful you can be.
7. It makes you fall in love with yourself - You are the most important thing in your life and travelling solo reinforces that belief. All of a sudden you realise that you are far better than the women you envied back home. You have been able to do the things they might just dream of doing. You are confident, capable and resourceful. You can only grow from here.
I could list a dozen more reasons but I don't think you need any more reasons to take a call. So do it! Embark on a life changing voyage, now.
Some safety tips -
1. Choose destinations that are known to be safe for solo women travellers. Some safe destinations for solo women travellers - Sweden, Denmark, China, Dublin, Amsterdam, Canada, Singapore
2. Know about local culture, custom and tradition and dress accordingly.
3. Learn a few common sentences in local language to help you tide over emergencies.
4. Keep your family and friends informed about your travel plans.
5. Make copies of your travel documents
6. Don't flash your valuables
7. Avoid night time travel to deserted areas. Stay alert.
8. Carry maps and do your research.
About Tanushree Podder
After eight years in the corporate sector, Tanushree quit the rat race to wield her pen and found her calling. On the heels of successful books like Nurjahan's Daughter, Escape from Harem, Boots Belts Berets and On the Double, comes Solo in Singapore, published by Harper Collins.