Travel is like a magic trick, you don’t know what happened but you do know it was the craziest thing you’ve ever seen. However, taking a weekend trip is way different from being on the road for 6 months. It’s not exactly all laughter and smiles but is more of challenges and tears, but at the end of the day, it sure is worth everything. So here are a few lessons 6 months of solo travel taught me.
1. Money is as important as your journey
Unless you have a super rich dad with limitless credit cards on your name, money is a very important factor in determining your travel experience. How rough or luxurious our travel goes depends on how much we invest in it. So if you are a young solo traveller finding the life’s many truths hidden in those paths, you might want to keep a close track of your useless expense. We often want to capture our memories in an object from the place we travel to. But the more you spend, the lesser time you can travel for and as a result lesser memories. So put a blind eye to all those expensive crafts and trust your heart to remember the beautiful things you’ve seen. Live basic, but don’t compromise on important needs.
2. Patience is the key to long-term travel
You can’t be happy unless you’ve been sad, but often sadness lies longer than happy moments, in such times there is only one thing that makes the difference and that’s patience. Have faith when I say all things must past, and that’s true even for the biggest challenges that you face in your journey. Some days you are dancing with joy while others you want to take a bus back home. Realize that life is more challenging and emotional than when you’re living on the road and alone. But with a bit of patience, you’ll surely make it big.
3. Decide if you are ready
You take a trip to Manali and you feel that the ‘Yeh Jawaani hai Diwani’s Ranbir’ is you. What you forget is that learning a language it not so easy, trekking a snow peak doesn’t happen overnight or that a fruit cart won’t be enough to save you from the unexpected troubles. Realize that all the jazz of travel will disappear after a few days, so make sure you have a strong reason to travel, a need for your self-discovery. Because if you don’t, you still need a lot many short trips before that long backpacking one.
4. Fear becomes less scary if your dream is stronger
People often ask me, ‘Isn’t it scary, traveling alone as a young woman in India?’. Well, the answer is yes and a no, because life often gets scary but fear is a natural thing. Its bad for your journey if you aren’t scared of the unknown because then you become careless. As a woman, I’m more aware of my surroundings than anyone else and it not only makes me a more awakened observer as I make greater efforts to understand my environment but also helps me to get a deeper experience from even a small place. There are times when things go wrong and I find myself in dangerous situations but its my fear itself that gives me the strength to strike harder. Most importantly I realized that fear will never be able to pull you down if what you are chasing is stronger than the scary turns. We often confuse traveling with running from reality. Travel is to face life and run on its rough roads, if you need a break from life, take a vacation.
5. Your quick jumps have to slow down
Travelling is often seen as jumping from places to places, one bus to the other and a part of it is that. However, instead of just traveling for the sake of it, if you’ve taken the bold step of long-term backpacking, this little tip might be of some use. Whenever your heart says, Stop! do it, not forever of course for long enough to discover the reason you felt the need to not leave the place just yet. Try your hand at learning the local delicacies, research a little about the famous heritage site you just saw yesterday, interview the people who live in that place. Who knows they have a secret for you that can change your life. As for when to move on, its simple, you jump on that bus, the minute you get too comfortable.
6. Travelling is bittersweet, but many-a-times it’s only bitter
Everything becomes overwhelming while traveling, the joys are beyond expectations while the sorrows have the power to shatter you in pieces. You’ll cry more often while traveling than when you weren’t. There is no security of a stable place, a family or friends who’ll run to you on a small phone call. You have to deal with your conflicts on your own. So just remember that all your struggles are much-needed and for your own good as you face your real emotional side, you become more aware of who you are.
7. You feel lonely and lost but that’s okay
While everyone thinks traveling is all about meeting new people and always surrounded by friends, the harsh reality is that you do meet a lot of people but just like you, have to leave as soon as they came. Everyone who’s on the path of travel has different destinations and that wanderlust is more important than anything. Not to forget, you’ll meet more people who don’t speak your language than the ones who do and it can get really lonely sometimes. But learning to live with yourself is another lesson, traveling will teach you. Also, you can always hug a tree and talk to the rocks!!
8. You don’t know which way to go but that’s good
Travelers are often seen as lost souls with a big bag on their back, dusty clothes and uncombed hair. We all know how strange this image is to our parents. You are one of them and even though you continuously hear that you’re wasting your time and money, you believe in your journey. But there are many-a-times when plans fall apart and you are at a crossroad, with no clue where to head next. You start doubting your journey, thinking what if everyone who tells you that traveling is useless has some truth in it. You feel lost as you travel from city to city and some of them turn out to be a waste of time. But the important fact is, when you are chasing your dreams no stop is useless, each city or village has a lesson for you, just keep an open heart and take a deep breath. Ask yourself why you wanted to travel, when you took your first step and all your doubts will disappear.
9. Find happiness in the smallest of things
Happiness comes in small packages so make the best use of those little gifts. Pay a greater observation to the local kid who wants to play with you or the story that old woman is telling you. Soak in that beautiful sunset until it hides behind those mountains, listen carefully to those waves that you have seen hundred times. It is these things that come in small packages but will leave you with memories that can make you smile, even when you are not there. And if you wonder what about dazzling cities, then your favorite ice-cream can do the job just as good. You simply have to appreciate what you have before you .
10. Believe in your journey
There is no better teacher than travel, its gives you the test first and then the lesson. Those lessons lie hidden in your memory and jump out to save you of a difficulty in the moments you need them to and that can even be while you go back to your job or start a family. It teaches you to be humble, as you see the giant world and your small presence.You’ve learned to appreciate the struggle that is before you because, after a crazy year of traveling, you know that life itself is like a big road trip. It’ll make you stronger for the life you will go back to after your travels are over. The only key is to have faith and be open to what life throws at you.