T.S. Eliot rightly said, “The Journey, not the arrival matters.” An important part of any travel is the journey that makes it possible. The journey is not only about packing your bag and heading out of your home with a ticket in hand. It could mean different things for different people. For many like me, it means gathering that courage to decide and get started on a solo journey that has never happened before. The moment you are in the transit, all alone except for your bag that is packed with everything that defines you, the meaning of the travel dawns on you in true sense. No matter where your destination, the fact that you stepped out, leaving behind a shackle (of any kind), already makes you an adventurer. The rest of the travel unfolds automatically under the new courage.

An important part of any travel is the journey that makes it possible. The journey is not only about packing your bag and heading out of your home with a ticket in hand.

I was brought up in a very small town, where the day begins with a rooster’s crow and small brawls at the vegetable vendor. It ends much before the Delhi metro gets crowded with people returning from work. Being a traveller in my town is either a waste of money by a prodigal child or a big question on the character certificate for marriage. However, my parents were experienced enough to send me off to Delhi to pursue my education and have big dreams.

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Women travellers (Pic by womentravellingtheworld)

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After completing my graduation, I headed to the railway station to take my first train journey alone. Travelling alone would have never been such a big step if the journey did not signify the difference I made by moving out of my town. It was a justification of the fact that having a liberal education and a broad mindset as a woman is not exploiting your character or your father’s money. I reached the railway station thirty minutes earlier than the departure time. While waiting for the train sitting on a bench, a number of questions flashed in my mind. How did I muster that courage to undertake a journey in which my parents were always with me? Will I be able to do it right? What if my ticket has an error, or I sit on a wrong seat? Will I be able to deal with complications in the train and that too like an educated person? While these questions kept stirring in m mind, the train arrived and the vibrating platform intensified my self-doubts. But since the journey had begun, there was no choice to go back. Without thinking any further, I climbed into the right coach and settled on the right seat after checking twice. Until then, I had no idea how the whole journey was going to unfold, except that the journey was a quest for my confidence and proof of right decisions.

After completing my graduation, I headed to the railway station to take my first train journey alone. Travelling alone would have never been such a big step if the journey did not signify the difference I made by moving out of my town.

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Within a few minutes, the train started to move. As the train left the city of my education and moved towards the town where I was born, all I could think about was what difference did my presence make in this every day running train. There were many compartments on the train, each laden with travellers of different identity and destinations. For each one of them, that particular journey had its unique significance. While a family was all packed up with jewels and fancy clothes for a wedding, others were enjoying the scenic beauty through the windows of a train journey back to hometown.  The sound of the wheels of train racing against the track slowly pacified my heightened emotions. I tried to dissolve myself in the to and fro motion of the train. I bought a cup of tea and absorbed the journey and its scenes with each sip. The best part of travelling alone is seeing the world with your own eyes and forming or reforming your perspective. Since it was my first solo trip, I could have both lost myself in the crowd and find in it.

Photo by Arfan A on Unsplash

But this journey, which was proof of a big change in my life, was meant to discover myself outside my books and daily life. As I crossed different states and stations, I felt an enigmatic joy and sense of freedom. This was not the same as moving out of my town in the first place, because that was accompanied by my father, both literally and metaphorically. Once having reached the city, I barely moved out of the locality where I stayed. Perhaps it was the same self-doubt that made me hesitant to take a step alone. Realizing these things in a flashback, while already moving forward, seemed like placing the pieces of a broken puzzle into order. I was no longer afraid of the journey anymore. This was a journey back to my town alone, possible only because I had new courage and achievement in my hand.

The fifteen-hour long journey was not only a simple solo trip to home. It was a decision strongly rooted in my confidence and achievements. The journey was a quest of self-confidence that was somewhere hidden inside me. It only made everything visible and fall into perfect order. It redefined everything that defined me.  Since then I have never hesitated to take a big step alone just because I belong to a small town. That journey ended up quite smoothly, with my father extremely happy that I did it. Even if the journey would have had obstacles by proving all my confusions about seat and tickets right, the confidence and freedom that I feel today would not be less. All that matters is that you step out to catch the train, as you will eventually end somewhere.

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Rudrani Kumari is an intern at SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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