We live in a world where you’ve got to a) be yourself, b) be different, c) be extraordinary. Whatever you do, you’ve got to be somebody. Run of the mill won’t do. We’re constantly searching for an identity. Something to latch on to. Something that defines us just a little bit more. A new tattoo maybe? A different hobby. A rare profession. That stunning Facebook photo. A vacation to an off-beat place… like Mars, or the moon, or your grandparents’ room that is actually next door. We’re trying so hard to be one-of-a-kind, with our new-age names, our clothes, our hair — you get the point. And then somebody says to us — you are nobody. And the world comes crashing down on us.
Solo travel is the easiest way to become nobody. It is your passport to invisible. And that may not be a happy feeling.
The thing about solo travel is… it makes you invisible, vulnerable and it turns you into a nobody. And that’s why everyone should do it.
I’ve always been high on solo travel — especially for women. It’s liberating. It’s a statement to make to the world at large. But it is more of a journey within than outward.
In a recent work trip to Phuket (yes, apparently they do “work” there… don’t ask me how), I was forced to travel solo. The buzzword was enough to give me a high. An escape from the reality of a busy, cabin-filled, crowded, chaotic, workplace. An escape from being married to a man and his routine. An escape from the same mall and the same people. A week of just my company and a beach-workplace (still don’t know how that works, seriously). This is what bliss is about. This was the definition of heaven. It was “me” time in the most relaxed place on earth!
But the thing about solo travel is… it makes you invisible, vulnerable and it turns you into a nobody. And that’s why everyone should do it.
A week away from my “reality” left me feeling something I never thought I would. It broke me down to someone I was pre-people, pre-roles, pre-relationships.
A week away from my “reality” left me feeling something I never thought I would. It broke me down to someone I was pre-people, pre-roles, pre-relationships. I could be anybody in Phuket. While we all are struggling to find an identity and be “somebody”, I found solace in being nobody. I could be the hippie traveller from India, who loves to read while drinking a glass of wine. I could be the ultra-friendly girl who could talk to anybody and ask them about their stories. I could be the girl who just wants to experience a quiet sunset at the pier, all by herself. I could be invisible.
I experienced the same places that I had gone to with my partner on our honeymoon three years back and nothing had changed, except everything. I thought of wise words such as “Happiness is only real when shared,” from the book Into the Wild, as I saw couples hold hands and click horrible selfies. I felt a little sorry for myself as they offered to click me alone (in exchange for clicking them, of course!). But I learnt something about Phuket and about myself. I learnt to travel like an insider, as I walked through the streets alone, or hopped on to a bike taxi. I learnt that “nobody” is a great word full of so many possibilities.