10 PRACTICAL REASONS WHY I LOVE SOLO TRAVELING ACROSS INDIA – PART 1

The circus that Solo Travel has become these days, I needed to voice my opinion on what solo travel is really like. This blog is a part of my series on solo travel. I am tired of answering people’s surprised questions on WHY I LOVE TO TRAVEL SOLO. I am also tired of people making Solo Traveling look ultra-glamorous and trendy.

Here are some really simple and practical reason why I love to travel solo and why I prefer it (Nothing Cool or Trendy about it, eh!):

  1. SOLO TRAVEL LETS YOU DO WHAT YOU WANT:

You get to do/eat/see anything at your own pace. While traveling or dining in groups I often let go of my personal desires to see/do/eat things so that the group dynamics are not hurt. I end up eating lackluster Paneer Butter Masala when it’s actually the mezze platter which I want to eat. But my co travelers don’t even know what it is. They are not even adventurous to learn.

Even if you are traveling with just one more person, you end up making lot of compromises. ‘I want to hike up that hill but she wants a lazy evening in the café’ kind of a thing! Also, you see/do/eat things without being judged. I went to Pushkar Mela and enjoyed many swings solo. Those were meant for kids but I did because no one was watching/judging. I ate more than 70 Idlis in 5 days in South India without attracting peeled eyes. I like doing things in silence. Without explanations.

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Nagarkot Saanjh in Thamel, Kathmandu. I enjoyed local music and dance here when I stayed in Thamel alone for a week after finishing Everest Base Camp Trek. Nepal is amazing solo traveler friendly destination.

  1. INTERACTION WITH LOCALS ARE DEEPER DURING SOLO TRAVEL:

You get more time to interact with locals and absorb their culture and life styles better. When you have a company, the interaction with locals is minimized. On my solo travels across India, I have met some amazing people on the road. I can differentiate because I have been to same location on solo trip as well as group trips. Chennai, Goa, Pondicherry were a much different experience on solo travel than group travel. You also observe more when you are traveling solo. Traveling in a company always distracts you from observing small things. I was once traveling with a group of 20 other journalists during a Press Trip to a gorgeous destination. I was afraid I would miss out on experiencing the place if I wasted time in frivolous conversations, drunk nights and maddening photo sessions. I could do that in my city. I activated the introvert in me and would always take the last seat alone in the bus, so that I could see things from my window seat.

  1. NOT BOTHERED ABOUT LOGISTICS OF A GROUP IN SOLO TRAVEL:

You are more focused on making yourself happier than your co travelers. The logistics on the group travel is overwhelming. You have to co-ordinate every one’s dates/preferences/whims/fancies/eccentricities/morals/budget so much that you end up closing the excel sheet, shutting down the laptop and find solace under the dark blanket. It’s scary to plan a group travel. I never even plan solo travel except make a list of places I want to see through pre travel research, both online and print. On solo travel, I never book anything in advance except the tickets. Sometimes, even my tickets are booked on the spot. I just show up at the bus stop/railway station and hop on.

  1. SAVE MONEY ON SOLO TRAVEL:

You are not compelled to spend on alcohol or on the non-vegetarian food which you will never consume. I traveled solo to historic ruins of Nalanda and Rajgir under Rs. 1510 ($24) including food, travel, sight-seeing, stay for 2 days (ex Patna). I did rural Olympics in Kila Raipur solo for 3 days at Rs.2,225 ($35) again all inclusive (ex New Delhi). On solo travels, I can live at dingy and dubious places. I have found rooms in India under Rs.300 ($5) whether it’s Goa or Rajasthan, Kochi or Maharashtra, including the big cities (central location) and unheard of villages. I once even came across Rs.30 (Less than 50 cents, yes) stay option in Jodhpur. That was the only time I chickened out.

During a trip to Velas and Goa, my friends insisted on drinking during the day. I craved to explore the place on foot. I have been to Goa 10 times. But till now I have been unable to see a sunrise in Goa because I had been drinking every night. Maybe I should plan an alcohol free solo trip to Goa soon.

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It was fantastic visiting Jog Falls in Karnataka, all by myself, minus any distraction. Incredible India!

  1. SOLO TRAVEL ALLOWS YOU TO BE CREATIVE:

You can take 1 hour to click a single picture and no-body will be there to nag you. I have realized my shots during Solo Travel are much much better than the shots I achieve in group/couple travels. For hours, I can explore a single place and return with great still and videos shots, without the guilt of making others wait. My mother is very patient with my photography. Once when I was traveling with her in Punakha, Bhutan, I made her sit at a comfortable place under a tree and ran to take my shots of Punakha Dzong quickly. When half an hour passed, she finally lost her cool (She gets angry once in a decade) and reprimanded me, lol. Another friend of mine, Parnashree Devi waited for 5 hours patiently as I clicked and studied a single monument, i.e. Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh. I am obsessed with anything to do with the mighty Mauryan Empire of Ancient India. She had limited interest in the same. I made her sit under a tree (Not again,eh!) and bribed her with cold drinks, chips and inedible snacks (Not much was available). I  lost track of time in the October heat of central India. I was brimming with guilt when I realized Devi was still sitting under the tree, perhaps cursing me in her mind, but nevertheless uncomplaining. It’s hard to find shady trees all the time. Got the drift?

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My selfie from a solo trip to the offbeat Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary in Rural Gujarat. Incredible India!

  1. LOVE HAPPENS ON SOLO TRAVEL, OOPS!!

Solo travel allows you to fall in love with a stranger on the road. Just have an open heart and eye maybe!

  1. AVOID TOURIST TRAPS DURING SOLO TRAVEL:

You can avoid all the touristy frills. I have realized touts and agents harass me more with their offers when I have a company, especially a female company. No one really bothers when I am traveling solo. Yes, it’s a different game when I am roaming around solo with a backpack. I remember: as soon as I stepped out of the rickshaw with a backpack near Char Minar, Hyderabad, an excited agent approached, “Money Exchange? Money Exchange?” Surprised, I said in Hindi, “Arre Indian hoon bhai!” (I am an Indian, bro!”)  But without a luggage, I mostly blend in when traveling in my country India. And if I have a female company, it’s a nightmare walking in touristy places. I am inundated with all the offers from ‘nada’ (String to keep your pyjamas on your waist) to ‘Psst, psst…Lodge, lodge? They would particularly ask the ‘Lodge’ question so surreptitiously that you would end up thinking booking a lodge is illegal in India.

That said, Solo traveling attracts its own set of pushy vendors. Sample This:

“Shilajit? Shilajit?” (Aphrodisiac) – Manali, Shimla, Kashmir etc.

                  “Massage? Massage? Nice friendly girls? – Goa, Thamel (Nepal)

                  “ Drugs? I have got the real stuff” That man in a dark corner in Goa. Avoid!

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The kind of self portraits I end up with during solo travel. Shot in the offbeat Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, rural Gujarat. Incredible India!

  1. SERENDIPITY ON SOLO TRAVEL:

Dictionary meaning: the development of events by chance in a positive way. The chance of serendipity increases when travelling solo. So often, on my solo travels, one thing has led to other things and I have ended up meeting someone interesting, found myself in unusual situation, discovering a location out of guide book or map, even find home in a stranger’s home. (I have shared bed with many strangers on my solo travel.) When traveling with a company, the dynamics demand that the group should travel with a plan. So there…

  1. SOLO TRAVEL IS IMMERSIVE:

Solo travels are more focused, interactive, and immersive form of travel. You may end up staying overnight in the staff room of a wildlife sanctuary as I once did in Wild Ass Sanctuary, rural Gujarat. During my solo travels, I hop on to local transport and end up connecting more with the locals. I was once traveling with a daily wage labourer in rural Rajasthan who thought that a passport is required to visit Mumbai from Rajasthan. (Both destinations are in India) During solo travel, I absorb more. I can make a pit stop anywhere in the middle of a highway or a village or city if I find something interesting (from the window seat of my choice of transport). In Thamel, Nepal I spent 3 nights alone in North Field café and Nagarkot Saanjh and enjoyed live performance of Nepali folk music. After my trek mates from Everest Base Camp Trek which I did in Nepal left Kathmandu, I decided to enjoy it alone for more days.

  1. SOLO TRAVEL HELPS YOU GROW SPIRITUALLY:

You get lot of time and opportunities for some soul searching, introspection and stealing some ‘Me time’ which is not possible in routine life. You have all the time in the world to think about your past, your ex, your life goals, failed relationships, stones in your kidneys, growing weight, your balding head, reflect on happy memories, assess your mistakes in life or just plain brood over nothing and grey your hair further.

When do you get this ‘Me time’?

  • While watching out of your train/bus/cab window into the vast landscape. 2
  • After the day ends and they are showing some trashy shows on TV in your room.
  • While you are waiting for your transport.

My mother says, I have greyed most of my hair, thanks to over thinking during my ‘Me Time!” So, perhaps it’s not an entirely healthy thing!

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:

11 Practical reasons why I love traveling solo across India? Part 1

WHY I HATE THE GLAMORISATION & SNOBBERY OF SOLO TRAVELING

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 traveled to Turtle Festival in Velas, Maharashtra in a group. The experience was not same as solo travel. Incredible India!

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30 thoughts on “10 PRACTICAL REASONS WHY I LOVE SOLO TRAVELING ACROSS INDIA – PART 1

  1. Pingback: WHY I HATE THE GLAMORIZATION & SNOBBERY OF SOLO TRAVELING? | A Soul Window - Travel Blog from India!

  2. nyc..n true.. solo is the best…
    i agree with all except me time 😄 i dnt think abt anyone in that me tym except looking at what is thr in front of me… (wide eyed staring at the scenary… happy n content
    (may b thts why i have fewer grey in my head 😉)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your post is so inspiring and I would recommend anyone to try traveling solo in India, as I have done it as a woman and I loved it. I remember that one time, when I just arrived in Jaipur, coming out of the train station and telling “no” to all the tuk tuk drivers around. One of them was very persistent though and he said he would take me to my hotel for free if I hired him for the day, for 500 rupees. So I did. I ended up having an amazing time, with him letting me drive his tuk tuk and take me out in the evening on the rooftop of a haveli for a beer, where there was a puppet theater. It was such a great day, and on the way back to my hotel he let me drive the tuk tuk again. This would have never happened if I would have traveled in a group.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Seriously the agents ask such weird things? I have been wanting to travel solo for a long time now to have my own fun. But I wonder if it’s possible with a toddler in life!! I still can’t believe there’re rooms for 30/-!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really, really loved this post and found myself agreeing with so many of the points you make even though I’m not a huge fan of solo travel myself! (Sometimes I think my tendency to be lazy and self conscious when travelling gets the better of me unless I’m with other people…) But honestly, you’ve inspired me to give it another go because yes, you can take your time and get to know a place better. I still love a good itinerary though! The thought of missing out on stuff makes me anxious haha

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love solo travel as well, for many of the same reasons you have listed here. You get a deeper interaction with locals, can do what you want, no compromise etc. Most of my travels are solo, whenever I travel with friends I kinda long for just being in my own company. Haha, I am a bit strange.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As one half of a long term travelling couple, I can definitely see the upsides to traveling as a pair but there is no doubt I miss travelling solo sometimes. Certainly, you are right about forging deeper connections with those you meet while travelling alone and not having to compromise is always nice. I always make a point of scheduling one lengthy trip without my girlfriend each year

    Liked by 1 person

  8. For me India is a interesting and lovely place for traveling couple. In here they could experience the different place together. And also they would learn to value the presence of each other. And would also know a lot about the character of one another along the road.

    Like

  9. There are a lot of good reasons why solo travel is wonderful. It’s always nice to share an experience with a friend but solo travel gives such freedom, as you mentioned, to do what you want, when you want. This was a good summary of why to take a solo trip. Enjoyed reading the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. There are a lot of good reasons why solo travel is wonderful. It’s always nice to share an experience with a friend but solo travel gives such freedom, as you mentioned, to do what you want, when you want. This was a good summary of why to take a solo trip. Enjoyed reading the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I agree to all the points you raised in this post. As an introvert, I am forced to interact more, especially with the locals. Traveling solo made me realize that a simple smile can break the ice and be the start of a meaningful conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Your take on Solo traveling is very good. Honestly, in India, I am not able to understand ‘What is called as Solo Traveling?’ Many times, not talking about you but in many cases have seen bloggers telling that they solo travel and yet they have perfect pictures for that matter even perfectly taken long shots and ‘in-action’ shots.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Solo travel has never been a part of my life….I traveled with friends and now I travel with my family. BUT, I can really relate to not wanting to be a part of a group – like bus travels. I did it once and just as I feared I always felt out of sync…like when I wanted to move on we had to stay because of the time, when I wanted to stay and linger, we had to leave because of the schedule. Hated that!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I totally agree with you that solo travel allows you to plan your schedule exactly the way you want, and it feels so much better than having to compromise everything because of even just one person. And yes, it definitely opens the opportunity to make falling in love with someone you meet on the road, way less complicated (been there, done that). Great post, thanks for sharing! I’m sure a lot of people will agree with these points 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Well, I am not a great fan of Solo travelling, especially in India but yes I am convinced with many of your valid points above. I love doing all of these when I am in some other part of the world. Solo means no compromises of any sort but for me company makes the trip all the more happening.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I agreed that solo travel allows more immersion, serendipity, and self-reflection in general. However, as a female, I am not sure how safe it is to solo travel in India. Maybe you can suggest some places in India that are safe to do so?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Your friend waited for you for 5 hours so that you could take pictures. That’s called love. Haha! I take photos seriously too but your friend might have been so hungry at that time. I agree with everything that you have said. I learned to be decisive when I started traveling on my own. I like to have time to explore and be open to so many possibilities.

    Iza c/o Kathy James (Walk About Wanderer)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Beautiful post! I have to agree with most points! True, it makes you wise and you can save a lot of money and form new friends.
    In my case though. I love company for photography, coz I like to be in the frame once in a while! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  19. There are some very good reasons here to make a solo trip. I agree with all your points and my photos are also better when I travel solo than with someone, simply because I’m not rushed. Another good point about being solo is that you become more approachable to locals. I guess your next trip will be a solo one!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Travel per se is a transformative experience and when you are traveling solo, the searchlight is diverted inwards and you learn and get transformed as an individual in more ways than one. The best thing about Solo travel, I feel, is the sheer freedom that you have to go where you want, to stop where you want and experience whatever is up your alley.

    Liked by 1 person

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

  22. There are a lot of positives to solo travel for sure. You are more open to meet new people and interact with locals. I agree that it is a spiritual experience in that you have more time to reflect and discover yourself. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Beautiful post and I agree with you on most of the points above – even if I am a female solo traveller. I’m 100% with you on the compromise part..whether you travel with one or 10 people, days are always spent waiting, agreeing & changing plans, waiting some more etc..
    Last time I was in India I wasn’t alone, but I am planning to come back to see it through my own and only eyes. I cannot wait!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Personally I would be a pit scared as a woman to travel across India, although I have already been. Reason would be because I love to go off beaten paths and I don’t trust myself being alone. Although, I do get that travelling solo can be quite amazing and stress free too.
    – mimi

    Liked by 1 person

  25. i absolutely 1000000% agree with all of these things! I went on my first solo backpacking trip last year and am about to embark on another one next month! A lot pf people have been asking me why I am going alone and these are the reasons! I hate traveling in a group because everyone is different and wants different things out of their trip and its hard to accommodate all that! Love this!

    Liked by 1 person

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