I’m not lost. I know where I’m going.
Yes, I’m alone. Doesn’t mean I’m lonely.
You think I’m gutsy? Thanks – feels good.
No I’m not traveling solo to nurse a broken heart. (But that’s a good idea).
No, I’m definitely not running away from anything.
No, I’m not rich, I know how to save.
Yes, I’m an Indian girl and I travel solo.
A little scared but excited, I hopped on a plane to travel solo back in 2009. My first hour was painful because I was frightened.
WTF, am I crazy to be doing this?
Shit, what if something happens to me?
The guilt of having lied to everyone in my family made matters worse.
Sorry Mom, sorry Dad, I should have been honest with you that I was traveling alone.
In the course of the next hour I became extra vigilant of my surroundings and suspicious of random people who innocently glanced at me.
All of a sudden, it dawned on me that I was about to embark on one of the greatest adventures of my life and I should make the most of it. In that instant, my excitement ate my fear and I was ready to conquer the world!
It did turn out to be one of the best trips of my life, even though it was a little short.
It’s always nice to see a solo female traveler, but for me, it’s bloody AWESOME to see an Indian solo female traveler.
Why? Well, because we’re rare.
We grew up in a society where it’s unheard of a woman traveling alone. We live in a country with a high rate of crime against women. Obviously safety is always a concern. BTW, check this if you’re planning on backpacking India alone.
I want to introduce you to 11 Indian Girls Who Travel Solo… Badass!
01 | Namrata Das Adhikary (Scattered Maps)
Hailing from a city of extreme contrasts, Calcutta, I have always been a fan of extremities: Madness and solitude being my prime aspirations.
In 2014, when I first made it to the Mount Kun base camp all alone, I couldn’t obviously believe it. It was not my first visit to the mountains, nor my first time with the snow. Yet, everything felt strangely different. I was in a strikingly surreal landscape, with a few adventurous locals and some likeminded travellers to give me company. My mind was as white as the snow surrounding me- reflective of thoughts, with my warm senses helping me acclimatize my body to the subzero temperatures. We started our trek from Gulmatongo (110km. from Kargil), the serving base camp for the ascending peak. However, due to extreme climatic conditions in December, we had to extend our days in order to cross the Suru river over a slippery, ice-covered footbridge. What I received in the end was a magically changed vision of inner myself: I come, I see, I conquer.
Solo travelling has given me a friend. I’ve learnt to befriend myself in the most difficult of all situations. The world is definitely not big enough!
02 | Sushmita Haldar
I wanted to travel and lack of company was not a good enough reason not to. As a woman you have to be cautious, but once you learn to follow your intuition you would know when it is fine to drink at a bar and sing with the locals, when a stranger genuinely offers you help, and when you are making a friend.
Each trip has helped me to find myself a little more – whether it was a trek to the mountains, exploring Bhutan with the locals, scuba diving in the Andamans, backpacking around Europe or trying to figure out what is it about USA. I won’t say solo traveling is always fun. Sometime you feel lonely and miss home. You just need to accept it and wait for another day. What it won’t be is regret. You will soon discover the community of fellow travelers. Each travelling for one’s own reason. Each trying to find one’s way, each unique with a different insight on life.
I have met many female solo travellers in the last one year, unfortunately hardly any Indian. All I can say, it may seem scary at first, the unknown, but a few trips, and you would wonder why you waited so long.
03 | Anisha Victor
I was born in Allahabad, raised all over the county (yup I’m an Army kid) and now l live in Bombay. (Sorry we call it Mumbai now). As clichéd as it might sound but I did not choose travelling, travelling chose me.
I recently decided to revisit Rajasthan on a solo trip. Convincing my parents surprisingly was not a problem. I hopped on the cheapest flight I could find to Udaipur (BTW Tuesdays are the best days to book flights. You can thank me later) as going solo means there’s no sharing cost. I started from Udaipur and traveled north to Ajmer and Pushkar from there I headed west to the beautiful city of Jodhpur (where I stayed for two years as a baby) and finally to Jaisalmer and San. I took state run buses to travel from one city to another – which was so much fun. I was sandwiched between two people most of the times but after a point it didn’t bother because they had interesting stories to tell.
I was skeptical about the entire thing because of safety issues but my doubts faded with every passing. Although people were very warm and welcoming but every time someone asked me about myself, I would make up stories! I was a newly wedded on my honeymoon, I was a second year college student on a field trip or a newly commissioned army officer posted in Jaipur. I thought it was funny!
The only problem I faced was when I had to use the loo and look out for my luggage. But who knew travelling solo could be so liberating. I’ve come back with experience, stories, a tan too and an appetite to just go and explore more…see more and travel more.
04 | Raksha Nagaraj (SoloPassport)
I am an Indian girl who loves to travel solo. My mantra is what Derek Walcott said ‘I read, I travel and I become’. Solo travel to me is like meditating. It provides me the control to calm my mind & bring stillness in my life, with an opportunity to do the most passionate hobby that I have – “travel”. Drama and I get along very well. All my travels have to be a tad bit dramatic. One such dramatic incident was during my first solo abroad trip to Dublin, Ireland. The lesson I learnt during this travel was that in Ireland, the bathrooms do not have water outlets on the floor and that they are carpeted for a reason. How did I get this knowledge? Well, by flooding my beautiful duplex service apartment on the first day of arrival.
Each of these dramas are ingrained in my heart as fond memories and experiences. These experiences make my life richer and better. And as they say “Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away”.
05 | Priyanshi Singhal
My journey started when I opted to study architecture. My wanderlust was further fueled by continuous site visits and educational tour. I had no one to travel with, so I decided to pursue my passion alone.
My first solo expedition was the Rann of Kutch followed by Mandvi and Bhuj. I decided to explore Mandvi on my own by walking. After walking for miles, I stopped to rest and realized I had reached a graveyard! I opted to stay in a family run guest house, who showed me with their generosity and showed me around. My next solo trip was to Varanasi. To my surprise, the locals there started treating me as a foreigner and soon I realized it was because the only people that were travelling solo there were not from India. I met a local Tibetan there who showed me Buddhist Monastries and Sarnath town.
06 | Pankti Shah (www.crazywanderer.com)
Brought up in a very small village in Gujarat. I never stepped out of my home since childhood. Traveling was a scary stuff for me from childhood to teenage. I just had a dream cradling in my mind, I wished to explore the world. My travel expedition began after my marriage. With support of my husband and parents in law, I started travelling solo.
Rishikesh the Indian city of Yoga was my first travel destination. After my first solo travel experience, I was bold, confident and independent. Until now, I have traveled all major tourist destinations in India. Some of the Indian states I covered are Gujarat, Kashmir, Leh Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Kolkata, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Orissa, Maharashtra, and Punjab. I am sharing my travel experiences and solo travel stories via www.crazywanderer.com
07 | Aditi Roy (My Dream Travels)
I am a 30-something solo female traveler and yes! I am an Indian (against all odds). In December 2013, I decided to give up my “stable job” and travel the world. I set up a blog to document my experiences even before I told my mother what I had planned. It took me a lot of courage and rephrasing of my so-called “I want to travel around the world – solo” speech. I can never forget what my mom said to me after I was done explaining everything (took me a few hours) – “Don’t die and don’t get AIDS”. Thus, I started my first ever solo travel mission. In the past few years, I have travelled majorly around India (without getting killed or raped or molested or robbed) and I have loved every bit of my journey. I have met amazing men and women and children along the way, and heard brilliant stories. Last year, I took my first international trip and volunteered at a school in Chiang Mai for 5 months as an English Teacher. I was the first Indian expat in Chiang Mai (everybody said so!) and I seriously wish more Indians would know about the concept of Volunteering just as much as I would love to see more women travelling freely and extensively.
08 | Sahithi Pulivarthi (Just A Girl Who Travels)
I’m a 20 something traveler from Andhra Pradesh. I have travelled to 17 states of India. Travelling opened up my mind. It made me realize that I really don’t need much money in life to be happy and life is all about experiencing different cultures and meeting different people having nice conversations. I don’t even think about getting settled. I want to travel around and experiencing life in different countries.
When you can’t see a way out of all the chaos, when it no longer makes sense. ‘You climb a mountain…’. Trekking to Savitri Temple was one experience that really helped me clear my mind, as when I came back I couldn’t recall the chaos, felt like I lost it along the way, it definitely worked for me. It doesn’t look like much but the route to the temple is quite troublesome, regardless I can assure you this the view is worth all the struggle, the temple is bestowed with spirituality beyond bounds. So when nothing makes sense or you are in chaos…Climb a mountain. People often ask me, ‘Aren’t you worried when you travel alone?’ and believe me when I tell you this, it is one of the weirdest questions I come across, the answer is obvious who isn’t? But the thrill of it gets you going, the yearning for adventure gets you going, the possibility to make it yet another wonderful vicinity makes all the worries worth it.
10 | Shubhra Sharma
My solo first trip was when I was only 26 to visit my dad in China. Over the years, I have traveled solo quite often and have realized it is not just travel that makes you a different person – it’s what you go through during your travels that make you into a stronger person.
On my second trip to China, my return flight got cancelled. With 30-40 minutes to spare, Air China gave me another flight and asked me to check out my luggage and check it back in. I literally ran from one point of the airport to the other only to find out that my bag had been taken to Lost & Found. So spent another 15-20mins trying to find my bag and then ran to the gate to catch my flight which thankfully I was able to. These are the experiences I enjoy more as they teach me lessons on human behavior and how much strength I have to either accommodate myself to a situation or to fight for my rights. I ALWAYS believe my gut instinct. I don’t talk to everybody (old people and kids only) as friendliness, especially coming from a young woman, can be misconstrued very easily and I have made enough mistakes to know what to do now and don’t.
11 | Amrita Chowdhury (altertrips.com/blog)
My first solo trip was to Paris. I didn’t know the language, didn’t know the city and had to place to stay when I arrived. On the first day I was very aware and super careful of everything, since I’d never traveled alone before. I couldn’t understand what the shopkeepers were saying. I walked down Blanche on my own, and a Frenchman with a thin mustache who was all dressed-up, caught hold of my arm, whispered something and planted a kiss on my lips! And yeah, I understand, many women in my place would have freaked out. I was just stunned for a second. And burst out laughing when he just winked and walked away!
Don’t you think they are awesome? Let’s spread this post and encourage other girls to travel solo too!
The world definitely needs more Indian girls who travel solo.
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A hippie travel writer with flowers in her hair, Sonal Kwatra Paladini should have been born in the 1960s! Bitten by the infamous travel bug, she has an itch to explore resort-free destinations, offbeat islands and small villages. Join her and her husband (Sandro) on their journey as they hop from one music festival to another and explore the beautiful world that they are in love with! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.Sonal Kwatra Paladini