Oh I know what you are thinking. Something along the lines of “oh god, yet another article on solo traveling”. Probably that wanderlust wala hashtag is going to make a cameo appearance too. How can it not?
wanderlust .ˈwɒndəlʌst/ A perfectly healthy English word now mostly making appearance on people’s Instagram posts and Tinder, begging for euthanasia to me made legal so it can stab itself.
…which leads me to the other one.
solo traveling . ˈsəʊləʊ ˈtrav(ə)l/
Umm. No. Nada. Nein.
Because as attractive as that person’s Instagram pictures look, or their Facebook statuses that go something like “OMGGGGGG! #solo #traveling #wanderlust #so #much #fun #thank #you #god”, the truth is that half the people can’t handle being in their own company. And that probably means one of two things:
a. Either you suck as a person, in which case by all means take a trip, good riddance. Or…
b. You are not a flying solo kind of person, and constantly need people around you (to pick fights, scream, and take selfies with, among other fun group activities.)
But the bottom line remains: solo traveling isn’t for everyone. Here’s why:
1. You have to spend a lot of time alone.
Me time is great. Yay for me time. But when you are sitting in your hotel room with nothing exciting to do and the silence of the surroundings start getting to you, you are at the risk of running amok with your hands flying in the air.
Seriously, don’t be surprised if there is a lot of talking to yourself involved.
2. Your introspection lasts about 15 minutes. Your reservation might be for 5 days.
When you have nothing to think about, you are probably going to start imagining troubles: starting with the basic, “Did I leave the stove on” to “Maybe I shouldn’t have dumped that girl in 5th grade. Who is going to marry me now!?”
3. You are alone. In all your hotel rooms, alone. Walking deserted roads, alone. Taking selfies, alone.
Eating. Alone. Can you handle that?
4. Solitude is not something that everyone enjoys.
Maybe you are the kind of person who always needs your girl gang around you, the woooo girls, the #squad. Or the kinda guy who won’t know fun unless his bwoys are around him chugging beers. Or that you have all of two and a half menial thoughts that you can’t brood on to save your life. It’s all cool.
5. You have to book all your hotels, tickets, rooms, beach chairs, tents, all by yourself.
Imagine the amount of research, patience and spending time on the internet that requires. Because god forbid if you be impulsive and visit a place without booking a hotel!
6. There is no one to talk to.
Yeah, no one to come back to the room with and talk about the entire day and hi5 with. Or constantly gossip with when you are going somewhere, no one to “share” an experience with. It’s all you, all by yourself, speaking to the different people inside your head.
7. Talking to strangers.
On the other hand, there are strangers to be talked to. You know, socializing? And we all know how freaky that can get. The last thing you want is get creepy in a foreign land and get beaten up. Or by present standards, lynched. Street smartness people! Get with it.
8. Coming out of the comfort zone.
Travelling alone, the entire experience of it, really puts you out there, and you come face to face with situations you may not even expect. New people, different cuisines, foreign lands; you are as far from your comfort zone as you are from your mummy-ke-haath-ka-khana and Ramu kaka.
9. It is not ONLY pretty sights and luxe travel.
Sometimes, it’s walking for miles because you can’t find a cabbie, or an auto, not even a unicycle. Sometimes, it’s sleeping in a dingy room with mosquitoes and a shared washroom. And sometimes it is getting lost because that 4G girl is a liar and the network doesn’t reach everywhere. That.
And if your brain runs at the speed of 100 miles/minute and you have unreasonable fears, traveling alone might not be very good for your anxiety.
10. And last but not the least, not everyone is street smart, and money wise to handle it.
You know that thing where they say ‘Quit Your Job & Travel The World. Because #YOLO (yuck!).
Yeah, that is horse crap. Don’t do it.
The thing about solo travelling is that it really pushes you, tests you, and drives you. Like everything good in life, it requires effort and grit. And if all of that is up your sleeve then the experience is going to be so rewarding. More than Instagram worthy pictures (which you will ruin with 30,000 random hashtags), it can truly bring you life altering, soul-feeding moments.
And if you can’t take that up, oh well.
You can always visit your aunty in Dwarka (that’s pretty much a trip on its own).
And if not that, you always have Netflix, eh?