I am overwhelmed by the response I got to the SWBT (Single Woman Budget Traveller) project. On the day I announced the project on this blog I got about 143 unique visitors and the first 500 hits were received within the first 5 days. The site was Shared and Liked on Facebook by over 100s of my friends. Every single person who read it said its a great initiative and gave me courage and motivation. So huge was the response that at times I started doubting it all by thinking, “Are they just sarcastically cheering a scape goat?”
But no that wasn’t the case. People loved the fact that I am doing what they all secretly want to do but can’t because they are caught up with life. My male friends asked me if the project is only for single woman or can single men do it as well? A Facebook friend put up a blog post featuring SWBT on his long dormant blog.
There were some doubts and queries raised by some of my friends regarding the nature of the trip and I wish to clarify the same.
- The SWBT trips are not supposed to be long journeys. I love to travel but I am not completely job less and since no one is sponsoring my trips I cannot quit doing what I do for a living. SWBT trips are my ways of breaking out of the mundane and at the same time understand the nature of travel and tourism for single woman in India.
- SWBT trips are less about the beauty of a place so don’t expect beautiful photo galleries or romantic poems written while sitting by the river bed. It is about documenting my journey word to word exactly as I travelled so that it becomes a guide for fellow single woman traveller.
- By Single Woman I don’t mean you have to necessarily be single, it just means woman traveling without a male or escort or any escort for that matter. So even a married woman might be a single woman budget traveller.
- Interested girls / woman who want to be part of this project need not or shall I say cannot travel with me because then we won’t be single. But it would be great if girls / women inspired by this project start their own journey and then share their experience in this blog.
The next steps
I plan to continue to visit different places once or twice a month. Most of them are going to be short trips of 3-4 days. This month I am going to Pushkar Camel fair. Once I have done some good amount of traveling I would like to do a photo exhibition of my travel pics and publish a book with the travel writings. Let’s hope it all works out.
Inspiration and Creativity
The other day I was coming out of my classroom after a guest lecture at IIMM and one of my student said, “Mam I am hugely inspired by your SWBT idea. I think I should also go, I will most definitely.”
It feels great to come across people you have inspired. You feel like you really done something worthy and extraordinary. But I have never done anything with a prior understanding of it being extra ordinary. I do things out of my own need and sometimes utter frustration. For example my other initiative related to travel, the Let’s Go Forum in 2006 was initiated because I was tired of the search for good company for travel. I was tired of coordinating with my friends to come up with one destination, one date and one plan that would suit all. I realized too many people have too many issues and I just don’t want to deal with them. I just want to go. Once I knew what I wanted I thought perhaps there would be others like me who want the same things but we are not connected. How about a web platform where we could connect. And thus I created the Let’s Go group on Yahoo. In the previous posts I mentioned how SWBT started because my friends disappointed me during the holiday season.
The bottom line is that if we all just followed our heart and did what we really wanted to do, there would be a lot more creativity in this world.