The solo traveler I am not

56 Responses

  1. Mabel Kwong says:

    It sounded like a nerve-wrecking experience for you, getting to your friend’s place. The end of the cab ride sounded scary but good that you managed to get to your friend’s house. In time like those in the middle of the night, you just never know what can come around. Though you might know where you are going and have it all planned out, one wrong turn or one change in plan can make the trip so different and very frazzled. For you, with no internet in the middle of no where it sounded like a test of all your resources and mental strength, and you came through 🙂

    I actually like solo travel a lot and like to plan out every part of each trip, and also think about how it can all go so wrong. For some strange reason I tend to get lost on short trips not too far away. Not to say I don’t plan as much. I do, but on these short trips I tend not to look at a map when going around, and wander around so much it’s hard to get back on track 😀

  2. That was definitely an experience to remember and not a pleasant one either! Solo travel can be glamourised online but the fact is safety is always on the top of our minds when we travel alone. I don’t mind traveling alone provided it is to cities or places I am familiar with. That said, I did travel with a toddler across to the US which was a totally alien country, 7 years ago. Having family to receive me at the airport made it easier of course.

    I think Rowan has done a fine job with the con-crit so I will just add that there are some places where you can work on the expression and grammar a bit. That’s my editor brain speaking 😉 With some effort, I can see the writing improving for sure. Good work, Parul.
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…How I’ve gone without yelling for over 800 daysMy Profile

    • Parul Thakur says:

      I agree with the safety angle. That’s what rides on my mind all the time. I did come back to India from Minneapolis alone and via Paris but it’s easy when you know things.

      On your feedback, I truly appreciate you being candid. Can you give me an example of the grammatical error? I’d love to know so that I can learn and improve. Thank you, Shailaja!

  3. Modern Gypsy says:

    That was a scary experience! But I would still love to travel solo. I have, in a way, in New York. Although it wasn’t completely solo because my sister lives there, but I did explore the city on my own many times. Luckily for me, I never had any truly scary experiences like this one!

  4. I do enjoy solo-travel even though there is anxiety associated with it. Your piece reminded me of the time I got lost in San Francisco and ended up in an area my friend had specifically told me to avoid as it was dangerous. Needless to say, I’ve never walked faster in my life to get out of there! 😀
    Sanch @ Sanch Writes recently posted…An EducationMy Profile

  5. Rowan says:

    Ha! based on your description I assume you flew into O’Hare. Getting from O’Hare to anywhere on transit is awful and not intuitive unless you want to go all the way down into the city and back, adding hours to your journey!

    Structurally, this story was at its finest in the couple places where you touched on a general principle about yourself and then used the journey to your friend’s house to illustrate it, and I would have liked to see you add one or two more of those little touchstones, using the generally linear “journal-entry” framing of the journey to keep the reader moving through, but adding those things you learned about yourself that can connect with a reader on a universal level.

    • Parul Thakur says:

      You are right! It was O’Hare and I should share that Minneapolis had better free wi-fi than Chicago.
      I appreciate the feedback and that point about how I could have made the story richer for readers. Thank you!

  6. vineeta says:

    So scary.
    You are a brave girl and managed anyhow. If I were there, I would have fainted. I don’t like to be a solo traveller.

  7. Ram Murali says:

    Nice account of your experience / adventure! I liked the fact that you captured the details that make an account like this come to life such as Uber India taking cash, etc. As someone once told me, our stories can be unique only if we add the seemingly incidental details that make it so. And you certainly did a nice job of packing in good detail without overdoing it.

  8. I am not good at traveling alone. It makes me nervous. I could feel your nerves too and I’m glad everything worked out.

  9. One of my biggest fears is getting lost. I hate not knowing where I am or what’s expected of me, so this really struck a chord with me, and a lot of your readers, I think. Nice job!

  10. Parul I wonder how in earlier days people would find the way to their destinations in far off lands. I would like to believe that you time traveled back to that era! Jokes apart, it was too adventurous..uff!

  11. Uma says:

    Oh Gosh, that was scary, Parul. But you did pretty well. I’m quite bad with maps..even Google maps. So, although the solo traveling bit fascinates me, I’m not sure I can try out an entirely alien place. Maybe, I’ll practice on local grounds, first 😉

    Con-crit: I liked the easy and crisp narrative and I felt like I was there. I’d use the last para as bits of internal monologues through the essay. It might be me but it feels like a summary of the essay which is not required given that the reader gleans this bit through the narrative.
    Uma recently posted…SpellboundMy Profile

  12. Courtenay B. says:

    I love that you called yourself a stalker when you were yelling up at your friend! I travel for work, frequently solo. It’s an acquired taste, for sure, but I actually like getting lost a bit.

  13. Stacie says:

    I’m glad you made it! I had to travel a lot for work. It’s so much easier now with Uber!
    Stacie recently posted…Stitch Fix #40 Review: September 2017My Profile

  14. Kala Ravi says:

    Gee, you sounded just like me. I am in fact terrible with doing anything solo. Maps and directions I simply cannot fathom!
    Liked the way you described the experience, realistic and vivid. Felt in the moment with you emotion wise. The end was a tad abrupt, if I had to really be critical. But I liked it just as well, not dragging and to the point. Cheers.

    • Parul Thakur says:

      Appreciate the feedback. I’ve heard that I can work on ending the writing not so abruptly.

      On traveling, I’m good with maps but if I have someone with me, I end up shining more.

  15. Haha I love going exploring and am a solo traveller, a happy one at that.. luckily have a calm head on the shoulders so it has been smooth sailing so far..

  16. Shilpa Garg says:

    I can imagine the panic and the anxiety with no internet and no one in sight and late hours too. Though I have been traveling alone for more than 2 decades, such a situation would give me jitters too, but that wouldnt stop me from traveling. It’s ok to feel this way. And even if you are well prepared, mishaps do happen. Glad that it all worked our well for you in the end. Have you realized that such incidents make for great stories!! 😀

  17. Natasha says:

    I travelled solo early this year to Goa. But I was solo just for a day, till my bestie joined me. And like everyone I shall tell you it was liberating. But I had a place to stay-my friend’s pad and a car to drive me around, so no such deterrents about being in an unknown land. I’m sure it can be pretty daunting if one were to be in a situation like yours.

    As always a interesting piece Parul, that looks at solo traveling in a different light. Thank you.

  18. Bellybytes says:

    I can understand your frustration at facing snafus all by yourself. It is daunting to travel solo but it can be fun if things go well for you… I myself have travelled solo several times but only once on holiday – most times they were journeys to a place where I was meeting with someone.

  19. Amrita says:

    Some people enjoy it and that’s awesome.Some have little choice and thats their only choice.But not for me.I would be bored without someone to travel with and forget to get down at stops or be too chatty with wrong people.Glad you were safe.Different strokes I think

  20. G Angela says:

    I have travelled solo within southern states of our country and few in the northern parts when i was in my 30″s . Now its been a long time since I travelled. I do travel but with my friends and family. Now thinking of solo traveling I feel very insecure and anxious. I Admire our courage and the risk you take to take travel solo. Thanks for inspiring me today:)
    G Angela recently posted…Gratitude Post-November, 2017My Profile

    • Parul Thakur says:

      I would say India is easy. We have phones and people we can call up. But that doesn’t mean I don’t admire the fact that you traveled alone.
      If that’s what you like, you must do it!

  21. Soumya says:

    Oh anxiety would kill me in such situations. I’ve never been fascinated by solo travel. More than the safety aspect, I think it will be really boring for me to travel alone. I have traveled alone on work before, and hated it. I need a partner, someone I can keep talking to.

    I’m glad you stayed strong and figured your way out here. Proud of you for that 🙂
    Soumya recently posted…A Break From Reading With The Book Lover’s TagMy Profile

  22. I get you Parul and I feel the same. Rather than solo travel I’d like to have a favourite person to travel with. That said, I have to admit it would be pretty liberating if I could do it – a sense of achievement perhaps. Also, one might get better at handling emergencies if one were do do it regularly.
    Obsessive mom recently posted…Eat Seasonal, Eat LocalMy Profile

  23. Rajlakshmi says:

    Oh my.. Getting lost at night is the worst. It sends me in panic mode. i have got lost a nunber of times, but never in a foreign country so that must be so stressful. But hey, now you got an awesome story to tell 😀

  24. Shilpa Gupte says:

    I have NEVER travelled solo anywhere outside my city. I do keep reading these inspiring tales of women travelling solo and I wish I could do it, too! Sigh. I have no idea when I will be able to gather my courage and bring my dreams to fruition!

  25. Sara says:

    Being without an internet connection is like being without your legs.Glad you reached your destination safe,Parul!
    Sara recently posted…You don’t know herMy Profile

  26. Balaka says:

    I understand your concern… however irrespective of all the uncertainties I would anyday prefer solo travel over anything. I have been in similar situations but that didn’t deter me. Solo travel makes me feel free. I loved the way you wrote the post, I could almost visualise.

  27. arv! says:

    Solo traveling…female solo traveling …female solo traveler…

    These seem to be highly marketed words in blogs & Instagram, of late. Whether using this translate into happy feelings or quick fame…I don’t know.

    Landing in a new country without internet or phone connection is not scary but worrisome especially in US where there are fixed systems and there’s no way around it. A smart traveler like you should not have too much of a problem. The only worry is not landing in a bad neighborhood. I generally download google map before landing in a new country & use it offline because in many countries prepaid SIM is not available in the airport or it’s a hassle. I’m sure there are other options too, but this is what I prefer.

    • Parul Thakur says:

      You are right that if I was prepared, it would have been easy. But I wasn’t. Downloading google maps is such a simple thing but never crossed my mind. Apart from bad neighborhoods and bad luck, things should work.
      Oh yes, I agree about the marketing bit!

  28. Anonymous says:

    I am not skilled at Solo Travel either. The last time I traveled alone I ended up on the wrong train in the middle of Amsterdam, in a snow storm. I still have nightmares.

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