Why should you travel solo for at least once in your life?
In this post I will share my unique experience after travelling alone to an unknown country and tell you why you should travel solo at least once in your life if not more.
In my last 10 years of travel life, I always travelled with either friends or family. Even all of my office tours also had some companion, except one international tour to UAE. So as personal tour the Indonesia trip was my first SOLO trip. The people who generally travel with friend or family, this post is for you. I consider myself as a conservative person and unlike other extrovert people, I could never talk to the unknown person in my any train/bus journey alone. I always preferred to read book or listening to music while travelling (in any random bus/train journey to my home town mostly) alone. I was always feeling awkward to share my personal info (like where am I going, where do I live, what am I doing etc.) with some random person. So I always prefer to give a smile to my co passenger and then get busy with my staff.
This time I have planned a 20 days solo trip to Indonesia!! It was not only for merely to see the country but to know the country from the people there, know their culture. Thankful to efun Klaten & Mr. Ovik Budi Raharjo for giving me the wonderful opportunity to volunteer/ teach English in his Institute. I got such an unforgettable experience that I can’t express in words. The interaction with the students/teachers and other volunteers from different parts of the World (one from US and two from Germany and one from Malaysia) will always be an asset for my life. I have learned a lot about the people of different parts of the World. I was overwhelmed to see every Indonesian screamed out of joy when they came to know that I am Indian. I didn’t realize before, how much pleasure a person can get when he/she represents own country in a different country, share about own culture, religion, food, tradition, and know theirs.
This Solo trip will be an always memorable for me, as it was the first trip and at the same time I left my 2.5 years daughter first time for so long (obviously her dad and grandparents were there to look after her!!), it was very tough decision for me. Still I believe every one of you whether you are a teenager, or in your 30’s or 40’s, you should try solo trip once.
In my 20 days trip, I have interacted with so many new people, made friends and shared my personal life with them and knew theirs that I have not done in my last 10 years of all tours combined. In Jakarta I met Clarinda in a busway stop and we became friend after talking for few minutes. We went to watch a band performance and then she joined me in my next day’s city tour. I am glad to have her in my tour and without her help it would have been really tough to move around in the Jakarta city where most of the people do not understand English.
In Klaten I met so many good people and some of them became friends too. People in Indonesia are very helpful. I remember the conductor of the bus, who stopped the bus and personally walked at least 500 meter to get me a taxi while going from Airport to my Airbnb host’s place in Bus. Neither he understood English, nor I knew his language (Bahasa), but by seeing the extended support, I was amazed!!
In a lonely island Nusa Penida, when I was lost in the hilly terrain and two girls from Lombok (they were also travelling in scooty) guided me to the next destination and even offered tea after reaching my hostel place. To read my Nusa Penida experience anf to know to visit there with less than Rs. 5000 ($75), please read my post.
In Bali, I met with 2 Indian couples (from Bangalore), with whom I travelled from Bali to Surabaya. We all were stuck in the Bali International Airport as the Mount Agung eruption happened in Bali. Almost 1000 flights were cancelled in 3-4 days and people were stuck in the small island with no idea of when the airport will start operating. With the help of airport authority, when we started our journey to Surabaya Airport, I was thinking of Akhshay Kumar’s Airlift film!! It was 18 hours bus journey with a ferry ride from Bali island to Java island. It was supposed to be a painful journey but with the new friends, it was not. There were many unexpected situations where I got panicked but somehow I managed to escape. Check out some of the experience here.
Like these there were numerous experience, I had in those 20 days. So when you are a solo traveler and you ask somebody’s help, most of the time you will get more than expected.
There are some other benefits of travelling Solo as well-
- By travelling solo, you are the decision maker of your life (Trip). Wherever you want, you can go and stay, whatever you want to do, you can do, nobody is going to stop you. In my Nusa Penida trip (Nusa Penida is a small island beside Bali), while driving the two-wheeler in a lonely hilly terrain, where nobody ahead or behind me, I had to take all the decision to choose the road to go.There was no Google map or no sign board, only you can get villager’s help if they are outside. I have experienced so many adventures there. (Some I will surely cover in my next post).
- The tour can be cheaper when you travel solo, as you can use public transport such as Bus/Railway as a mode of transport, which is not possible when you are travelling with parents or kids. For getting information that how I have done Indonesia on low-budget please read my post: Things to know before visiting Indonesia
- You can stay in hostels which is cheaper than any hotel. Staying in hostels, that too first time at 33 years of age is another experience. I always stayed in hotels (where you have the privacy). This time I was initially hesitated while booking a hostel, but that was a nice experience. In Nusa Penida, I stayed with another 4 girls (2 from Germany, 1 from Australia, 1 from US).
- You can pack your luggage light, which is quite impossible when you travel with kids.
On the other hand there are some limitations of Travelling Solo-
- As you are travelling alone, so you have to take care of your health. If you fall sick, it may be a problem in unknown country.
- If you are married and having kids (like me), you will miss your family and kid terribly.
- May be sometime if you have no other option than to take taxi, it will be more costly, as you are the one who is travelling in that.
To know about the places to see in Yogyakarta and other parts of Central Java, please read my post: Places to see in Central Java, Indonesia