To dropping the fear and learning to cope alone…
Break ties with the digital world (yes, that includes social media) and go live a little. You define your life, you know what you want! If you’re reading this, you clearly have been planning to go solo for a while. Then, what are you waiting for? Just go!
This post has been written to help you understand what solo tripping is all about and the How, What and Why of planning one.
Doubt and Fear?
Keep the How’s, Why’s and What’s aside. Just think, “Why Not?” and leave the rest to us. Read on to figure out if this is what you really want to do…
Going solo can be quite an intimidating task. As easy and carefree as it sounds, it might take people years to plan their first one. The first time is always challenging. More than anything else, it’s the fear of the unknown, of taking the first step and of questioning your choices.
Packing, dealing with last-minute itinerary changes, and commuting can be quite intimidating for some. Just stay calm and go with the flow…
Read my article when I went solo tripping as the new year began, and I’m glad I did so.
Hope you are all coping fine during this time of crisis. In the COVID-19 pandemic-stricken world, it’s important to stay positive, whether you’re in a lockdown, or an area without many restrictions, we hope you sail through with ease.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Positive!
- If not now, then when?
- You’re the one whose build your boundaries; you’re the one who breaks them. Step out of your comfort zone, try something new!
- Do what you feel like doing, do what you think is right, ‘coz what’s right for you, may not be right for someone else
- Don’t do it ‘coz everyone else is, do it if you want to try it!
- Don’t be scared (though it’s absolutely ok to feel so)
What does a Solo Trip feel like? <The bare truth!>
For those wondering what it’s like, this is what happens when you go solo:
- Random thoughts creep in
- You really need to be okay with solitude
- The unavoidable self-introspection begins
- You experience multiple emotions at once
- You’re overwhelmed with fear of the unknown, of being judged (but that’s ok)
- You figure out you’re go-to people, those who really matter
- You get time to connect with yourself
- You keep wondering what to do next
- It could get a bit lonely at times
and truth be told, this is how your pics turn out – ugly, out of focus, and hazy. Lol.
What you can do <to Calm yourself down>
- Make playlists that you can connect with. Download them in offline mode. Make folders for different moods.
- Break-up with Technology: Indulge in digital detox, not necessarily for the whole time, but for most of the time during the day
- Connect with Yourself: Introspect, meditate, or simply do nothing. Join a wellness workshop, go for a spa, register for a yoga retreat etc.
- Extract the most of Me time: This is your chance for the ‘me time’ you’ve soooo been craving to find Do what you like, carry along things that you love, catch up with your hobby, unleash your creative side. Simply carry a paper and pen, sit by the riverside or mountain top, or shore; and start writing. Write what, you may ask? Well, words will come to you easily…
- Enjoy your Meal: On normal days, you gobble up food and head back to work. Take time to savour every bite. 😀
How to Plan a Solo Trip?
I was taken aback when someone asked me ,“how do I plan a solo trip”? But, that’s quite a valid question. Here’s breaking it down for you.
The funda is simple!
First, figure out the purpose of the trip:
- Yoga or meditation
- Connecting with nature
- Honing your culinary skills
- Disconnecting from routine
- Pursuing a hobby or interest
- Digital detox and introspection
- Hands-on culinary experience
- Engaging in art and craft
- Diving into nothingness
- Learning a new sport
Check out my paragliding adventure here
Then, choose a destination to match your mood and requirement, around the following:
- Yoga retreat
- Stay at an ashram
- Escape to the mountains
- Head to a shopping destination
- Halt at some beach-shacks
- Book a culinary retreat
- Stay along a river bank
Yup… I stayed here, scribbled here, worked here, doodled here, ate here, drank here…
20 Bonus Tips for Solo Travellers
- Take baby steps: Going solo may sound frightening to most people, and it’s okay to be scared. Plan your first solo trip to a nearby destination or a neighbouring city, approachable from your home, where your family can rush to meet you or you can come back soon in case of emergency. Test the waters, and then deep dive. Once you’re sure, feel free to venture to a place that’s completely new – new culture, food, language etc.
- Stay safe: Your safety is in your hands. Avoid carrying expensive belongings, wearing flashy jewellery or other valuables that might garner attention.. Moreover, move around in not-so-secluded areas and try to return to your stop by sunset, if that makes you comfortable.
- Save up: Like any other trip, a solo trip requires money too. You have to start putting a small amount aside every month for a few months, unless you maintain a travel fund that you can readily use. Budget trips too require some money.
- Carry cash: In an era where going cashless is the thing, you should keep some cash handy, but scattered in places – some in your wallet, remaining in the locker and emergency stash in your travel bag, notebook etc.
- Break-free from your routine: What do you feel like doing on normal workdays that you can’t actually do? Well, this is the time to get back to that hobby or pursue your interest, be it catching up with reading, writing, trying something new, heading out on a new venture, hike around the town etc.
- Travel light: If you pack light and carry just the necessities, you wouldn’t have to bother about leaving valuable back in the room or lug heavy bags all around. Carry a smaller backpack, good enough to dump a water bottle, sunglasses and wallet, which you can move around with, during the day.
- Set important reminders: Set an alarm for meals, especially if they’re included in your package. Besides, if you have a flight to board or bus to catch, ask the hotel to give you a wake-up call. Other than that, go reminder-free. Do what you want to do, when you feel like doing it.
- Digital detox: Disconnect from technology. Click a few pictures if you want to, and fight with the urge to capture every moment through your lens. Enjoy the world through your eyes. Smile. But inform your loved ones once a day that you’re alive! 😀
- Don’t over-expose yourself: Don’t update everything on social media on a real-time basis. Don’t share your exact location. I generally come back from a trip and then start posting online. Back-dated updates are the best. That way, you live the moments too.
- Stay in groups: For the less daring (and that’s totally fine), you should move around in groups. Don’t venture completely out of sight. Engage in conversations and planning with fellow travellers, and don’t venture out alone if you’re not sure. Inform someone at the property that you’re stepping out.
- Emergency contacts: Make a list of emergency contacts with their phone numbers and hand it over to the hotel reception, just in case. Additionally, let 1-2 friends and family members know about your whereabouts.
- Fuel your impulses: You’ve thought twice all your life before doing anything daring or drastic. This is the time to feed your impulsion. Just do it, just go!
- Me Time: You’ll get ample ‘me time’, enough to cherish for the next few months, until you need a break again. It’s your time. Make the best of it.
- Meet fellow travellers: Meet random people and socialize, unless you’re on the trip just to be by yourself. Make new friends, exchange stories, understand different travel mottos, and widen your network of travel buddies to loop in the next time as well. Plus, kill the boredom! 😀
- Stay within means: Splurging at solo trips using credit can be very easy, especially without having anyone stopping you. Think twice before you spend, pre-book your hotel, flights, commute and meals if possible. Carry cash for unforeseen expenses. Don’t over-indulge.
- Research your commute: Know your local transport well. Talk to the concierge, do a research in advance and figure out how to get around the area via taxis, local modes and fix your airport transfers in advance.
- Carry the essentials: Don’t forget to carry extra power back-up for your laptop or phone, emergency medication and a basic first aid kit. These can come in handy when you least expect it.
- Prepare well: A lot of it about being unplanned, at the same time, about being smart as well. Be prepared for no network zones. Carry your own Wi-Fi dongle, just in case. Don’t forget to pack your book or journal. Download offline maps, translator apps, currency convertors etc.
- Be comfortable: In your new skin, of course! Yes, while it’s ok to be a little anxious, smile, enjoy and be happy. After all, you’re doing what you’ve always wanted to do. 😀
- Recharge to restart: Rejuvenate thoroughly and get ready to start again. Look at it this way – when you’re back from the trip, you emerge happier and are ready to cheer people and spread that toxic happiness all around. And, you’ve got endless stories to tell.
Recent Solo Encounter
I’ve gone solo a couple of times earlier as well. My recent solo stint got me thinking…
- Life is actually very simple
- We overthink, overdo, and overreact to complicate life
- Locals have brilliant survival skills – there’s a lot to learn from them
- Sometimes, we need to slow down a little and enjoy the moment
- People are humble and modest at their very core
- Everything revolves around your choices
Surprisingly, people still look at going solo as a disruption of some norm. Fellow travellers, especially families, were curious to know who I was with and why on earth would I travel alone? So… no, I didn’t break up with my hubby or fight with my family to go solo. I just did so because I wanted to! Why, you ask? Go try it once… and find out for yourself!
You hear more, react less
You listen more, speak less
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