WHY I HATE THE GLAMORIZATION & SNOBBERY OF SOLO TRAVELING?

HOW AND WHY I STARTED SOLO TRAVEL IN 2010:

This blog is the part of my series on Solo Travel Across India. Links of related blogs on Solo Travel are at the end.

Disclaimer: Disclaimer: The pictures of me which I have shared here are from my group travels because I hardly take any self portraits on solo travel.

In 2010, I started my Solo Travels in India with a memorable trip to Chennai, Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram during the Indian festival Holi (Festival of Colors). I was working in Navi Mumbai at that time. I wanted to escape the Holi celebrations in Mumbai and use my vacations well. In South India, Holi celebrations are limited to North Indians celebrating in small groups. I was the person who would be apprehensive of traveling from Lucknow to Kanpur alone (1 hour plus on train) before this. I will soon complete 10 years of traveling solo across India. And its time I speak about it.

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Revisiting the temples of Mahabalipuram aka Mamallapuram 7 years after my first solo trip in 2010. It made me reflective.

However, my first actual solo trip was from Lucknow to Bangalore and back, in a sleeper class train in 2006. Though it was not a real ‘travel’. I was appearing for interview calls of the many M.B.A. colleges of Bangalore. I was selected in none. (Thank God!) but it did sow a dream in me. A dream to travel alone and see the world! I forgot about it. After surviving many life changing catastrophes in my life (2007 onwards), the 2010 solo trip to Chennai, Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram instilled in me a new found confidence and self belief. After all the hardships and personal loss I endured in this period, I had become more fearless and adventurous in life. I had become a person I never thought I would. To add, unlike 2006, I had a job in 2010 which meant I had financial independence. This life changing trip started a life-long affair with solo travel and travel in general.

FORGET SOLO TRAVEL. I ENJOY WATCHING FILMS & HOGGING SEV PURI ALONE TOO.

I was doing it at a time when it was unheard of at least in India (Perhaps the term was not even coined) In fact people ridiculed me and made fun of me when I told them I enjoy travelling alone. But then I was always like this. In fact even before I started traveling, I enjoyed doing things alone. For Example: I watched many French movies in a film festival in Fun Republic Mall in Lucknow for 7 consecutive days in 2007 sans any company. I would go to theatre in Mumbai before 2010 all alone and enjoy the plays. I would even go to restaurant alone. All this not because I am a social outcast or an aspiring social outcast! I love doing things alone because of many reasons which I have explained in another blog. (Link at the end of this blog)

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Pondicherry was one of the destinations during my first solo trip in 2010. Revisiting it after 7 years in 2017 as a part of group gave me perspective. Pic by: Ami Bhat

SOLO TRAVEL IS DEEP, NOT A CLOWNISH SELFIE CRAZED EXERCISE:

From being perceived as weird and eccentric, solo travel these days has been catapulted to trendy and cool status. However I enjoy solo travel not to sound cool but for its practicality and low stress nature. I didn’t even know it was ‘cool’ when I was traveling across India solo. To me it’s rather a selfish and self indulgent mode of travel. It pains me to see Travel Bloggers, Travel Companies and even reputed magazines and newspapers encashing and over glorifying the term Solo Travel. Solo Travel is much deeper than the frivolous selfie crazed trip which it is sadly evolving into. In fact, before travel blogging happened to me in 2014, I didn’t even take any selfies of mine. Most of my albums from my solo travels (between 2010-2014) are bereft of even a single picture of mine. I never posted live from the destination in those days. And I was more focused on clicking the destination than hiding it behind my massive body frame in selfies. These days, however, I have started taken selfies on solo travel but those are still limited. Nothing is wrong; nothing is right. Moderation is the key.

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Who says traveling with friends is not fun. If you choose your company well, it is even better than solo travel. I had an amazing experience of Rann Utsav in Rann Of Kutch with friends. Incredible India! (This picture features my friend Rohit Rai)

THE SUPERIORITY COMPLEX OF SOLO TRAVELERS AIN’T COOL:

The solo travelers, off late are also looking down upon those who travel in groups or with friends. I don’t know what makes Solo Travelers a superior being. I was sick of seeing an Indian travel blogger making fun of people who travel with suitcase (and not a backpack). He also made fun of people who travel with families and not solo. And Oh, he also made fun of people who stayed in luxury property and not a $6 tiny room. I tried to show him the point many times on social media and I was rewarded with a block. I am delighted to not see his posts anymore in my feed. I am happy to see that more and more people are traveling solo. But I am equally aghast at seeing the ugly one up-manship and superiority complex amongst solo travelers. After I became a professional Travel Blogger, my travel style has changed. I now do a mix of group travel (FAMs/Press Trips/MediaTrips), solo travels and travel with friends and family. My priority from now onwards is to show beautiful places to my parents, who have sacrificed all their life to raise me and in the process not traveled enough themselves. I am ready to sacrifice solo travels. Even if traveling with parents makes me a little less cool. Because, I travel for myself and not to impress others! That said, I would still keep traveling solo as and when I have an opportunity. Solo Travel is my favourite style but I will never claim that it is the best style, ugh!

WHY LIE ABOUT SOLO TRAVEL?

I couldn’t believe when I discovered that some social media influencers and travel bloggers lie about their solo travels. As a naïve newbie in the world of travel blogging (but a much experienced solo traveler), I was amused at this tomfoolery. Why on Earth would anyone go to a trip with friends/family/journalists and show it as a solo trip? A careful look at their well coiffed hair (Solo Travel hair is different,eh! 😛 ), posed photographs (I can tell it’s not self timer) and facial expressions which are a product of a familiar company will reveal the truth behind their solo travel. I still do not understand why people lie about solo travels and even give tips to people on solo travel when in reality they have hardly traveled solo.

One more cute lie I have observed- Parents posting about their kids’ first solo travel to foreign shores. The kid of course is traveling with a group of 50 other students. I understand they are talking about the kid’s first trip without parents. Perhaps they do not know how to articulate it. I spare them my wrath. 😛

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Temples of Mahabalipuram aka Mamallapuram. Incredible India. I traveled here solo as well as in group. Personally, the experience of my solo trip was more immersive.

OBSESSION WITH DISCUSSION AROUND FEMALE SOLO TRAVEL:

It has also become trendy to over-discuss female solo travelling. It’s a good sign that more and more Indian women are traveling. Many of them travel solo as well. While I have hardly ever faced a threatening situation on my solo travels. But I can’t even begin to understand how safe or unsafe it would be for a woman to travel solo. Perhaps the more we discuss solo travel, the more it will benefit solo female travellers. But what irks me is an unjustified obsession with female solo travels. These days, I go to any travel talk event, the topic will veer off to women safety on solo travel after 15 minutes of its start. Even if the topic of the event was say, ‘Food Trail In India’, ‘Beaches or Mountain?’, ‘Offbeat Travel’ sooner or later, it will digress into the above mentioned. It is important to discuss that but ………..

Disclaimer: This is a male, Indian solo traveler’s perspective. A female perspective will be much different.

Do you agree or disagree with this opinion post? In case I missed any point, please share with me in the comments section below. I would love to hear your perspective as well.

Related Blogs:

10 Practical Reasons Why I Love Solo Traveling Across India? Part 1

11 Practical Reasons Why I love solo traveling across India? Part 2

SOLO TRAVEL GONE WRONG: STUCK IN PITCH DARK IN RURAL GUJARAT

SOLO TRAVEL TO OFFBEAT NAL SAROVAR BIRD SANCTUARY, GUJARAT

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I enjoy travelling with parents also. es, with big briefcases and not backpacks. I had an amazing time with them during a Budget Family Trip to Gangtok, Sikkim. Incredible India!

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42 thoughts on “WHY I HATE THE GLAMORIZATION & SNOBBERY OF SOLO TRAVELING?

  1. Very well written. It is good you want to take your parents along in travels.
    About solo travel somehow I donot like the idea. Travel gives me happiness what is the point in having it all alone? I want to share that happiness with somebody near and dear to me, that for me makes the travel complete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. LOVE this post! I actually had no idea people were lying about solo traveling- but I guess it doesn’t shock me too much. While I haven’t travelled solo in years, I do know how much traveling pushes me out of my comfort zone- even with a partner. I imagine traveling solo would push you even more!

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  3. I feel everyone should travel the way they like to. I travel solo but also with my boyfriend or other members of my family. I like it all as each type of travel is different and a whole new adventure on its own! I hope you continue to travel the way you like best.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I travel both solo and with other people. Both types of experiences are rewarding in their own way. One is not any better than the other. Alone, you get to know yourself better and, with friends, you get to develop deeper relationships. All is good!

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  5. Haha I had a good chuckle reading this post! Everyone is entitled to their own style and preference of traveling, I don’t understand why some people have to look down upon others. No idea why anyone would lie about it and discriminate others! I’ve never gone solo traveling and will never do because that’s just not me. Perhaps one day, though!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s a good observation about solo travelers who are not actually solo travelers! How do they get those images if they are truly alone? One method I use to get unique pictures when I am solo is to go on an organised tour, but yes, some people are not traveling alone but claim to be!

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  7. Some good pointers there Abhinav. I think people need to realise that there is something called to each their own. Some may genuinely find pleasure in traveling with others and that is in no way inferior to a set notion of travel:)

    For me it’s rarely solo, unless I want it and crave for it. I love traveling with like minded people coz that helps me grow and learn and in no way is traveling with parents something to be ashamed of. They are the biggest teachers!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Certain genre of travel my guy doesn’t enjoy, there’s no point of taking him and making it miserable for both of us!!! So I do a mix! Sometime solo, sometimes with like minded group, sometimes with my guy and sometimes with entire family! I don’t understand what’s the point in lying about solo travel! Yes, women solo travel is getting way too much attention these days, but I guess its for good for now atleast, coz after knowing that I’ve traveled solo, some women around me have done it too. For now, its the way to inspire more & more people I guess.

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  9. We just need to respect each other’s way of traveling. There is a big market for solo female travelers nowadays. I have seen a lot of advertisements that are geared towards them. I am curious how these women have perfect photos even though they travel solo but it does not really matter. Traveling makes people happy.

    Iza c/o Fill My Passport

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Very well written account and one that I couldn’t agree more with. I particularly emphasized with your disdain for the modern obsession with solo female travelling. That is not to say that there isn’t something admirable about a lady getting out and seeing the world by herself but each time I read these articles, I feel a lot can be seem like scaremongering and perhaps would put some off the idea. Anyway, once again, great post and looking forward to reading more

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I travel solo, I travel with friends and I travel with family. I do not care as long as I am always traveling. Every kind of traveling comes with its own set of pros and cons. I am glad that you got blocked by an idiot who thinks he is superior to everyone else. No sense following such idiots. I love traveling with my parents because they are ones who gave me this love of traveling.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Very well described. You have framed such beautiful sentences about this sensitive topic. I can’t agree more with you that female solo travelling is overtly hyped but in a way it is also benefiting women travelling as a whole. Though I am not much of a solo traveler I like your way of traveling solo and with your parents as well. Wish you good luck.

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  13. I have never traveled alone, I have always loved company it was friends before and family now. And I enjoy relishing these wonderful travel moments with my family. I believe it’s always a personal choice where you wanna travel, how you wanna travel and with whom and it’s for your own personal happiness.

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  14. I must agree! I have noticed a huge shift in the way people speak about solo travel – to a degree of almost bragging. But I like the way you described why you enjoy solo travel…for the practicality and low stress nature. I couldn’t agree more. Yes solo travel might seem selfish, but who cares because you are travelling on your own so it’s ok to decide what you…and you only want to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. First of all, I think it was brave of you to speak up about a topic that you are passionate about. I think when it comes to travel, there is no right or wrong way to do it. If you like to solo travel or with a group, it does not matter as long as you are pursuing your passion. But I do get where you are coming from – it seems that it has become more of a fad and I blame that partly to social media! I admire your passion for travel, solo or not, and I hope you would be able to continue with that for more years to come!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You have covered a good topic about solo travel. I have also observed some of these but I didn’t dwell on them until I read your post. It didn’t cross my mind that some are lying about their “solo travels.” Now that you’ve mentioned it, it’s more noticeable.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: 10 PRACTICAL REASONS WHY I LOVE SOLO TRAVELING ACROSS INDIA – PART 1 | A Soul Window - Travel Blog from India!

  18. I travel solo a female but my reasons were..as i learned during my excursion that ppl would get irritated abt my spending long tym by stopping now n thn.. taking more tym studying the subj,clicking so many pic but not liking to pose or click frns (ya i dnt like wasting tym 😄 clicking frns wen subject is so interesting ..hehehe…) n frankly i had v few frns..n all were interested in photo journalism… n i didnt wanted to be disturbed while clicking on my trips… so solo happened. N i found solo is best for me… n it helped me alot .

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Pingback: 11 PRACTICAL REASONS WHY I LOVE SOLO TRAVELING ACROSS INDIA – PART 2 | A Soul Window - Travel Blog from India!

  20. interesting read and love your honesty in the post, I too, don’t understand why anyone would pretend they are travelling solo if they are with family or friends. People should travel however they feel comfortable – it doesn’t matter who with, just enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Ha! I was always wondering the same. I travel solo but I don’t get the allure of labeling. Solo travel, female solo travel – what’s next? Alien travel? I just want to be a traveling me! Alas, people like labels and boxes so sometimes I just have to say…if the shoe fits. The irony is though I never considered myself a solo traveler but now just wrote a book about solo travel. That made think, similar as to your description, that I like spending time on my own wherever I am and so I guess that does make me an innate solo traveler. However, someone was just introducing me in an article and said that I always travel alone – I immediately corrected them because I would feel like a fraught as I travel with others too. I just happen to prefer doing it on my own most of the time.
    Anyhow, long comment short – brilliant post, well thought and well said – can’t wait to read more from you!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Very honest and from the heart review of the current travel scenario. Its not all glamor but a lot of diligence, hard work and planning that goes into pulling of a successful travel itinerary. Keep em coming!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I have noticed this glamorization in solo travel. I personally feel there is nothing fancy about it. I traveled solo for work, in India and abroad but that doesn’t come under the solo category for me. My first solo travel for a week’s holiday was from Delhi to Chennai, Mamlapuram, Kanchipuram, Tirupati and finally to Pondy. After that, I traveled solo many times (Excluding when I traveled solo on the package).
    My first solo travel happened becoz my friend decided not to travel (Before booking the tickets), I had two options – either cancel the trip or travel solo and chosen the second option. That trip gave me the confidence to travel solo, now I travel solo becoz sometimes I don’t get a company or sometimes I just want to be on my own and do things at my own pace. Being a woman solo traveler, I have to select my options carefully and plan things in details. I stayed in hostel also for experience, it was a mixed dorm. Till date, I never faced any issue. I enjoy my solo travel, only one thing I hate about traveling solo is COST….. ha ha…
    I took my parents also few times and for those trips, I have to plan things differently.
    All the best for your travels.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. This is a very, very interesting topic. While I agree with a lot of the points you make, I also disagree or slightly veer away from sharing the same opinion as you in some cases. Like you, I travel solo because I like it. I always have, and I always will. I’ve tried travelling with friends and partners, but I always end up wishing I was alone. That’s the way it is. I started travelling solo at 18 and now, at 24, I’m still doing it that way.

    I totally agree with you when you say “solo travel is much deeper than the frivolous selfie-crazed trip which it is sadly evolving into” – oh my word, YES to this! Unfortunately, in most cases, it’s people from my own generation partaking in such activity, and for that I can only apologise on their behalf haha.
    When people lie about travelling solo just to seem “cool”, that also bothers me. Although in response to what you said about the photo — I often ask strangers to snap my picture when I’m solo, so it may seem like that with me too.

    When it comes to this “over-discussing solo female travelling”, I’ve not actually been privy to any ‘over-discussion’ as such, but I do see that type of traveller being represented more and more in social media with each day that passes. And I honestly don’t think that can be seen as anything but good. There are a lot of oppressed women in this world, there are a lot of women who have been told they can’t, there are a lot of women who won’t follow their dreams because they are afraid to break the mould their own society has nurtured them to think is the norm.

    I have been to several countries, India included, where I have stayed with families there, and I have witnessed the awe on some women’s faces when they hear I’m there alone. “But what about your husband?” “But what about your father?” It’s easy to forget that not everybody comes from the same background or culture, not everybody knows the world can be accessible to them. So, right now, I don’t think there can be such thing as an ‘over-discussion’ on solo female travel.

    But like you said in your post, yours is an Indian male perspective. Female perspective will be much different 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I think that blogger you mentioned is really shitty for making fun of families and for people staying at luxurious resorts. The resorts exist because everyone has a different style of traveling. Not everyone wants to stay in a cockroach infested place. I also like to travel alone because I can do whatever I want whenever I want.

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  26. Mahabalipuram was my first travel when i was in class 7th with my parents. Good you thought to take parents along with you. Also one query comes to my mind that when you are solo travelling who takes your photograph? Just kidding I need a partner who takes my photograph so i dont travel solo LOL…..

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  27. It is a shame people used to make fun of your for traveling alone. I agree that now so many people do it and its meant to be life changing for them. I have never done it personally so I don’t know. Just a shame that now it is glamorized but before you were ridiculed.

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  28. interesting take! Pretty authentic read and it’s good to see your POV on solo travelling. Especially learning about how some others fake it. A tad shocking but to be expected I suppose, since full time travel has become such a commercial aspect it’s like a photoshoot every time you see a “solo” traveller but honestly there’s a whole team behind every blog post or instagram photo. true travellers know aint nobody got time for that!

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  29. Loved the post and honesty in it. I have been travelling for about a decade, started out with a trip to goa- which was planned with a friend but she couldn’t make it last minute and so I went alone. I love travelling alone and yes there is a teeny tiny but of me that is jealous of those who travel as a couple/family and I hope to do that one day as well. For now, off I go to pack my bags and return home for a while..

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  30. I mostly do solo. I can’t believe some people fake it but when I think of it, I always wondered how people have such perfect photographs during solo trips. I almost have no photographs of myself. he he

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  31. I’m a bit indifferent about the “glamorization” of solo travel. If you feel like doing your hair, make-up and self-timed photos for that perfect picture, that doesn’t affect me at all. But, if you’re JUST trying to get that perfect picture, I don’t think you’re going to learn as much from your solo trip as you might’ve wanted to. I do agree with you about the “snobbery” of solo travel. I love solo travel myself as I’m an outgoing introvert (meaning I get energy from being on my own, but I’m not scared to strike up conversations with strangers). Solo travel allows me to pick and choose what I want to see and who I want to interact with during the day, without completely draining my energy. But, I also recognize that it’s not for everyone so I’m not going to tell everyone YOU MUST TRAVEL BY YOURSELF AT ONE POINT IN YOUR LIFE. My tip: let people be themselves, but if they’re being snobs about it, ignore them.

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  32. What a great post! I”m pretty new to the world of blogging, but I’ve noticed the same things. I am traveling solo (most of the times), but it’s more just a natural thing for me than a sales plan. I am in introvert, socially awkward with serious social anxiety. I go hiking by myself because being solo helps me calm down and rest. I love it, it’s my nature. I see so many posts on pinterest about how to avoid loneliness while traveling solo and I wonder – why would you do it if it bothers you and makes you miserable? Just b/c it’s a must now?
    Oh, and I hate the “tourist vs. traveler” stuff. So ignorant and snobby.

    Happy travels!
    Ioanna,
    A Woman Afoot

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Fascinating topic. I’m a traveling with kids now, but before them I always traveled with a dear friend. She and I had similar ideas on what we wanted to see and the pace and enjoyed our travels together. I can not understand why people won’t just live and let live when it comes to….really anything, but especially travel. Why should I care how you do it? Backpack – yeah! Suitcase – yeah! It’s all good. I wish others would take a deep breath and let everyone explore in a way that feeds their own soul.

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  34. Agree travel is an inner urge , solo travel need not be glamorized but a woman travelling solo is definitely a bold thing in our unsafe Indian context and maybe that’s why so much coverage is given to it compared to males .

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I agree with so many plusses of solo travel .This said , travelling solo is still a bold thing for an Indian woman given the unsafe Indian environment and her traditional stay at home roles .

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Loved to read this. I so identify with this in more than one ways.i have been travelling alone since 2011 but for a bunch of other reasons and started enjoying it.its less stressful , opens you more to exploring people other than your company, let’s me click as much as I want, and make it as flexible as I wish to. I never manage to plan trips advance cos I m bad at it so that is a huge reason in itself. Traveling sitting on the floor of d train or on the luggage rack all these dumb things cos I was ignorant to plan in details. It works for me….so I do it. But I like the occasional one person company of like minded person … That’s also good if you bond well…it helps take little more risks n stay out late. Best wishes and many more travels

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