Why I started solo travelling and you should too!
Plus: How this little adventure gave birth to Metanoia Expeditions
“Vasu, did you book your ticket?” I asked as we sat in a coffee shop
“No, I changed my mind”
“What?! This was our pact for years. We decided we'll go to Bali after our MBA and now you are saying no?
“Yeah, I don't feel like going now. We’ll go some other time”
Over the weeks, I tried to get him to reconsider but he was determined. And our big post-college adventure was off!
And none of my friends wanted to replace him, they had their own excuses. So if I wanted to travel, It would have to be on my own.
This was it. I furiously packed my bags and left for Bali in 2018. It was the trip that changed me forever, that planted the solo travel bug in me.
I realised if you want to go somewhere don't wait for others, don't let someone else stop you from chasing your dreams. Just go by yourself, yeah it can be scary if you haven't done it before. But, not experiencing anything you wanted from life is even scarier.
Travelling solo is all about getting out of that comfort zone, much like launching yourself into the deeper end of the pool, too scared to do it and can’t do without once you have experienced it.
There is no better way to test your boundaries than to travel solo and what's better? It's great fun.
It gives you the freedom you've never experienced before, having to push your boundaries you discover there's so much more to the world than you thought and that can be pretty empowering. Your mind opens up to new possibilities and you begin to feel like the world is your playground. Anonymity frees you to do whatever you want without the fear of being ridiculed and looked down upon and all of this on your own schedule.
It helps you discover yourself. You get loads of time to reflect and declutter, you find yourself becoming increasingly aware of who you really are, what you seek and what makes you happy.
Solo travel makes you confident and enhances your problem-solving skills. From figuring out where to go, how to reach and how much you can stretch that rupee, you learn lessons and make better choices. And this becomes true for most things in life, you grow and become better at making those decisions and eventually gain confidence in your decision-making skills and it’s great help in the long run.
Solo travel can heal the pain, whether you had a bad break-up or lost your opportunity at your dream job. It pushes you out there to meet new people, create new experiences and give a speedy recovery from heartbreak. Being all alone, you absorb your surroundings like never before, going back with memories as vivid as water.
If I hadn’t taken that trip to Bali, I would be a whole different person altogether. I wouldn’t have met Gerrit from Germany who gave me the courage to eat alone at restaurants. I wouldn’t have met Naomi, who I think is the sweetest person in the entire England. I wouldn't have met Danny, who showed me you don't need money to have fun. Heck I wouldn’t have even started Metanoia, which I only did to make people feel what I felt on my solo expedition. And now which has now grown into this really cool community of young travellers from all over India.
So stop waiting & get out. No matter where you go, just don’t go with anyone you know from before. I know it takes courage to travel solo for the first time, I faced it myself. But you now have options like Metanoia Expeditions, where you can just sign up and forget about the logistics or if you will meet people or not. That part is already taken off, the only thing you need to think about is whether to say hello or hi!