Solo travel has become immensely popular in recent times in India. Travelling alone not only rejuvenates a person but also causes them to feel more empowered. Solo travel, however, is difficult for women, especially in a country like India. The issue of safety often becomes a barrier for them, which they can only cross with the sword of accountability hanging constantly over their head. However, more and more women are choosing to break these barriers and expectations by choosing to travel alone. Here’s what they have to say about their experiences.
Travelling abroad often feels safer than travelling within India. Things are a bit more complicated here. - Arushi Tandon
The Fear Is Unavoidable
The most common response that we hear from women who have travelled alone is that it is often a terrifying experience. Travelling by yourself is definitely not easy, and the fear is part of the experience. Arushi Tandon, a Delhi-based twenty-three-year-old entrepreneur, says, “It’s always scary to do things alone, especially when you’re doing them in an unfamiliar place.” Safety is a big concern in India.
Anshita Agarwal works in the Human Resources department of her company and adds, “even at the age of 30, I don’t feel safe alone.” Arushi weighs in with her experience of travelling alone to Dubai in 2018. “Travelling abroad often feels safer than travelling within India. Things are a bit more complicated here.”
You feel proud of yourself for doing everything on your own. Even, and especially, little things likeboarding the train and checking into the hotel. - Prachi Singh
However, It Is Liberating
“Even if you’re scared at first, that slowly gives way to this sense of confidence,” says Prachi Singh, a 19-year-old college student based in Kolkata, who recently went on her first ever solo trip to Manali. Despite the fear involved in solo travel, most women claim that travelling by themselves is the most liberated and empowered that they have ever felt. Prachi adds, “You feel proud of yourself for doing everything on your own. Even, and especially, little things likeboarding the train and checking into the hotel.”
Arushi reasons, “We’re always so coddled and dependent on our parents, especially in India. Even if we don’t realize it, we depend on them for little things and travelling alone is a very good way to get out of that. When you’re alone, you have no one to turn to and you are forced to make decisions on your own. Having to solve problems on your own teaches you a lot."
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“Stares are a common part of the experience of solo travel,” says Preeti Sarkar, a 27-year-old teacher in Kolkata. She recently travelled to Delhi by herself. “People don’t expect a lone woman. They are used to families, men conversing with them. When people see a woman without a man, even today, they’re a bit taken by surprise. It feels good to know that you’re breaking stereotypes and expectations and having fun while doing so," says she.
We agree! A female traveller by herself is indeed breaking barriers, one trip at a time. She is doing things not expected of her, things no woman would have dared to try just a few decades ago. Kudos to every woman travelling alone!
Prapti is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv