A FAILED CONFIDENT SOLO TRAVELLER
Looking out vacantly from the window of the moving bus, at the fading shades of green highlands and the Scottish summer sun playing its usual hide and seek while I sit feeling the infectious excitement of fellow travellers; most of them students from my university whom I have never met before, a group of elderly with binoculars around their neck and map in their hands and the sweet English guide getting our attention for his random commentary; well, some were funny. All of this at that moment moved me with elated gratitude at the fact that after a year of living in Scotland, I finally found the strength to embark on my first solo travel into the Scottish highlands. A feeling every first time solo traveller will relish for the rest of their lives and it is no less than a life changing moment; a moment of growth and self love. After a chain of not so fulfilling experiences of travelling with some “friends” to now doing it the way I want, learning about the place and culture on my own terms and spending my budget as I fancy was to the twenty one year old me, a brand new self-assurance. The thrill of solo travelling can be understood only if you have done it and now I can say do it somehow, small or big. My learning from this was; it is not as scary as a female to travel alone (depending on the place), strangers have your back when you need them and I do not need to succumb to the fear of my protective parents (especially my Indian father), instead made them believe in me one small step at a time. Just dive in, pave your own reassuring path; be brave, be strong.
In my eight years of travelling I have done twenty six countries and over hundred cities and towns; solo, with friends, with parents and with Gaurav. Some even more than twice because the first time it did not feel right, more so because of the company. Sometimes I let it go and sometimes the place keeps calling me back to prove it self and most of the time its just luring as a travel blogger.
A COUPLE BEST FRIENDS
The first time I travelled with Gaurav was to someplace where I could be myself and relax my nerves. I have been to Goa at-least 5 times before this and as dates came closer I grew more anxious. For me back then it meant that this would either seal the deal or break it. This would mean taking our friendship a step further and also, I will have another perspective to consider other than my own. I am sure it was travelling that lit the fire and till date every-time travelling together to a new place or old brings us a lot closer, we grow wiser together.
Today when I look outside that window, again a lot less vacantly because I am not as distracted, I focus a lot more not only at the hands that hold mine, but, at the changing landscape, notice things otherwise ignored look at things with two different perspective; his and mine and even interpret them better. Travelling has become a lot calmer, less stressful and a lot rewarding. After all, there’s a certain joy to sharing your best moments together. To me it’s emotionally stirring to be sharing these experiences (sans food!) with Gaurav at every step, today. A feeling that doesn’t make me miss my solo travel days, rather drives me to revisit Scotland all over again and relive those memories with him, because, I know it will only get richer and for better from here on.
If you have stuck around, by now you know my story, however, I am not done yet as I want you to know more about what and why I love travelling with Gaurav and why either of us prefer travelling together opposed to solo. From the experiences of a couple of Indian travellers:
- Travelling together has made us a lot patient towards each other, we are more understanding and have developed a BETTER COMMUNICATION. As we realise we have only each other in this new land and making the most of this time with one another is priority.
- We EXPERIENCE something new TOGETHER. This is something everlasting as a memory made together that is unique to us.
- We get to KNOW EACH OTHER better with every new travel. At home we are tied up with work, life and responsibilities, however, when we travel we reveal a better as well as the extreme side of ourselves to each other. There are no more ugly secrets!
- We LIVE IN THE MOMENT. We don’t care about the future and have doubts as we are busy capturing the intensity of the moment and making the experience rich and fulfilling. We are more appreciative.
- We have become BEST FRIENDS. You tend to get to know each other so well as we have only each other to turn to and stick with each other through challenges.
- We GROW WISER TOGETHER. Travelling offers a lot of opportunities to learn and educate ourselves and this learning experience bonds us together. Have an open mind and heart to the culture, food and new experiences with new places. And, as we travel more and more the lesser we care about the country number and it’s becoming more about the experiences.
- We CHALLENGE EACH OTHER to grow more and experience beyond our comfort zone. A thing that one of us likes and the other fears, we build each other’s trust and go for it to know better. In our case it has been challenging for Gaurav to widen his palate and in mine doing adventure sports like bungee.
- We share a COMMON GOAL. In the work world we have many different expectations and life goals, however, while travelling we have one purpose and that is to see the world together. We move in one direction and continue committing to endless adventures with one another.