Things are getting interesting for single or solo women travelers in India. I started my single woman budget travel in 2011, and at that time I did not know anybody who was traveling solo let alone on budget. Last week I presented a paper on Gender and Public Space at a conference in Goa. My paper outlined my experiences of traveling solo on budget in India and the relationship of gender and space as I have observed during my travel.
The National Geographic Traveller India recently organized a meet up on the theme ‘On My Own‘ or solo travel. Several travel magazines, websites and tour organizers are talking about solo women travel. Though I still do not come across many of them doing budget travel.
Keeping in with the theme, the Managing Editor of Good Housekeeping magazine by India Today group recently requested me to do a story on solo woman travellers. While researching for the story I came across a Facebook group of globe trotting girls in India where I met many women who are traveling solo. I interviewed some of them and have featured them on the story. The story is now out in the March issue of the magazine and can also be read here on the India Today Wonder Woman blog.
One story cannot do justice to so many solo travelers pushing the boundaries, challenging the stereotypes and reclaiming the public space. I hope to feature each one of them on my blog. But for the time being, here are just a few of them.
Sweta Saraf, a Delhi-based entrepreneur who joined a trip organized by WOW to Jordan and, says solo travel changed her life.
Sahana Charan, 40, a Bangalore based freelance journalist overcame the mommy guilt and went to the Himalayas leaving her then five-year-old son with her mother. Sahana believes that all women need a break both from work and family and spend time introspecting their lives. In addition, traveling mommies raise great travel friendly children and future explorers.
Amrita Chaudhry, 37, a media and communication professional based in Mumbai, travelled solo to Europe believes traveling solo helped her reconnect with herself and invoked such emotions in her that she otherwise didn’t expect
Nimisha, a freelance script writer who completed a solo trip to the Everest Base Camp and went village hopping in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh. She finds solo travel extremely liberating.
Snehal Wankhade, 27, Nagpur, a banker, is a solo traveler who bikes around India on her TVS Wego. Recently she completed over 3000 kilometres in 10 days and plans to cover Varanasi to Kanyakumari at one stretch. Traveling solo has helped her restore faith in humanity and she learned to not judge people.
Diksha Gupta, 34, New Delhi, travelled alone to the so called unsafe zone of the North East;
Nishi Agarwal, 28, New Delhi, travelled to Tibet, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, US, China and India;
Swati Saxena, 27, New Delhi have been to Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Goa, Hyderabad and Delhi.
Remember, traveling solo doesn’t mean being unsocial or loner, most women who travel solo meet hundreds of interesting people on their journey and come back with great memories. So next time you decide to take a vacation, go solo. Put on a pair of comfortable shoes, a funky hat, a tacky dress in loud colours, and be the eccentric person you always wanted to be, because there’s nobody to judge.