Table for one — yes, please!

Solo trips — ah, just BLISS. I am seriously craving one as I write this, and will hopefully find myself planning a (safe) trip to a beautiful beachy scuba-diving destination in the near future. But for now, I shall reminisce.

The way I took my first solo trip was sort of funny — funny because it was not intended to be a solo trip at all. Here I was, almost a year into my first job fresh out of university, as an Associate in PwC — I was learning the ropes, trying to make my mark in the firm, alongside pursuing my chartered accountancy (ICAEW) qualification attempting exams back to back with an aim to qualify as early as possible. Months just flew by, until I realised I was reaching a point of frustration and exhaustion (leading up to a dreaded Taxation exam in September 2016), and I knew I needed a break. Back then, Georgia was picking up as the ‘must-travel-to’ destination in the Eur-Asia travel itineraries of most, so I decided that’s where I wanted to go. Given my plans were so out of the blue, none of my friends or family were able to do a trip during the same dates planned as me. So in the spur of the moment, I booked myself the tickets, almost immediately thinking ‘umm, wait no’, but way too tired to even go back on that decision.

However, I am not exaggerating when I say that was one of the best spontaneous decisions of my life! Fast forward four years, and four solo trips later– Georgia in 2016, Paris in 2017, Bali in 2018 and Baku in 2019 — sticking to the promise I made to myself post the Georgia escapade to gift myself a solo trip every year, I can happily write this and only suggest that this is something everyone MUST do. And I’ll tell you exactly why:

1) It helps you become completely self-dependent. When you take a trip with family or friends, you tend to subconsciously depend (at least at some point) on your fellow travel buddy; it’s just human nature. Travelling by yourself pushes you out of your comfort zone and needs you to be fully aware of every moment and be consistently responsible, because you realise you have no one else to rely on but yourself.

2) You meet a lot of like-minded people, and the experience makes you humble. I have honestly met such warm and kind hearted souls during all my trips. I signed up for a lot of group activities/ tours as well, initially as an attempt to not feel lonely, but later to just meet new people. The fondest memories from my trips are with such travel enthusiasts I’ve met and had the most interesting and insightful conversations with. Listening to others’ life stories also shifts focus from ‘me’ and ‘I’ and makes you to look at things from a different perspective, and all in all is a very humbling experience.

3) You do exactly what YOU want to do at any given moment. You want to jog/ run kilometers to make it time for a sunset view? Okay. You want to have a laid-back afternoon people watching, bingeing on tomato and cheese baguettes? Okay. Want to spontaneously book yourself a ticket to Moulin Rouge and thoroughly enjoy it champagne-drunk? Okay. Want to go Bali swinging and then run across to a nearby temple to sit in silence two hours before your final exam results are out? Okay. Want to bar hop across the city riding on a scooter? RIGHT OKAY GIRL. (P.S. I genuinely did all of that!)

4) You learn to listen to and pay attention to your emotions and thoughts. All the alone time I’ve had during my trips, and even otherwise, has sort of forced me to sit back and really pay attention to what I’m feeling, and what I’m thinking. In the process, I have also understood myself better — my likes, my pet peeves, my goals and real desires— and has given me quality time to reflect on these thoughts, and understand what aspect of myself I wanted to work on make myself a better person every day. All of this has really helped me lead further on the path of self-discovery.

5) You learn to enjoy your own company. In this busy world, rarely do we get to sit with ourselves and simply be. Solo travel does just that — it teaches you to embrace solitude.

6) And best of all, you can, with complete confidence, approach a front office desk and exclaim, ‘Yeap, table for ONE please’, and feel completely great about it.

I am eternally grateful, first to my parents, for instilling this love for travel in me from a very young age, and second, to have had the opportunity to plan and take such trips by myself. While 2020 definitely has had different plans for all of us, it cannot take away my aspiration to travel every nook and corner of the world! So, what’s YOUR next dream destination? :)

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Financial services. Ardent traveler/solo-tripper. Wellness enthusiast. Sharing my honest thoughts and experiences — here to inspire!💫

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Madhumita Prabhakar

Madhumita Prabhakar

Financial services. Ardent traveler/solo-tripper. Wellness enthusiast. Sharing my honest thoughts and experiences — here to inspire!💫

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