Travelling solo

Women's History month meant nothing to me until a few years ago.

Travelling solo
Photo by Markus Winkler / Unsplash

Women's History month meant nothing to me until a few years ago. I was a cog in the wheel of patriarchy, twisting, turning, churning and confining myself into the tiniest of spaces, having little hope in emancipation of any kind. In 2023, I did my third solo trip (first was in India circa 2016, second was in a small town in Germany in 2021) and it was wildly different from the earlier trips I had planned or envisioned for myself.

My unrushed solo trip started on Women's Day (March 8th) exploring Denmark. The trip was full of beautiful people, new writing material, great food, lots of unexpected decisions and happy memories.

Travelling solo is an expression of agency, especially for women. Enough of us don't explore the idea of aloneness just to rejuvenate and recuperate from the everyday hustle. In many women's cases, they're constantly told they can't or they're "not allowed" to.

It started with a lot of trepidation and uncertainty, some worries about not feeling safe enough, about getting robbed, scammed or roofied. I first booked my tickets, but for days, a fear niggled me alive. Each night I'd think of cancelling my trip and sinking into the sofa with a warm book and tea instead.

I deliberated on accommodations so much that I didn't book it until two days before the day I was set to leave. I watched all sorts of YouTube videos (keep a checklist, have a money belt, don't talk to strangers, cry in front of a mirror before leaving, apply soot on your forehead, kiss a rat etc.) and decided to follow none of them. In hindsight, I'm glad I went with my instincts. This time I learned a great deal about myself than from my earlier trips.

One thing is for sure though: "The price of safety is always higher than the price of comfort."

During this trip, I thought a lot, and concluded what a solo trip means and is. Nesting at a friend's place to explore a city is a visit, not a solo trip. Tagging along with someone I already know is a catch-up session and vacation, not a solo trip. Travelling solo means I travel by myself, stay at a place I pick, know not a soul in the city and make new friends even if I don't ever see them again. I mean, these aren't the general rules. These are my rules for myself, to discover myself better. It's an expression of myself. Women, if you have the opportunity, please travel solo.

You will know what I mean.

Today, Women's Day, the history of women empowerment, rights and movements have a profound impact on who I am—when women are safe, powerful and content, the world gets better.