Ugly Truth Of Traveling Solo

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People envy you because your travel plans don’t depend on their schedule. People get jealous because you have travel tales that they can only dream about. People fail to understand how you maintain a steady balance of work and life. People aspire to travel like you but don’t have the guts to take the plunge. People will always say “You are lucky to live your dream” but will never try their luck.

 

As they say, grass is always greener on the other side. So is the case of a SOLO TRAVELER, especially, if you are a female solo traveler. Though there are many perks of being a female solo traveler like people generally treat you nicely, are happy to help and give you more attention than others. But there is an Ugly Truth Of Traveling Solo. So if you are aspiring to travel solo then read this post before embarking on your journey.

  1. Solo traveler is a bigger threat than ISIS: Whichever part of the world you might be traveling in, being single will raise eyebrows. Men will hit upon you. I consider myself below average looking but still I haven’t been to a single place (in India and abroad) where people have not tried their luck. In a developed country like Singapore I was asked questions like, “Why are you still Single? Why don’t you have a boyfriend? What is your age? Are you there on FB?” Etcetera etcetera. Back home in the Tamil quarter of Pondicherry I was refused a room because I was traveling solo. I couldn't take a stroll on the beach without the sight of a middle-aged uncle’s neck moving at a 180-degree angle synced with my movement.
  1. Lesser bargaining power: Everybody wants to earn more with less effort so you’ll be refused for a ride or asked to pay double. You can’t order too many dishes at a time because you’ll always have the looming fear of not to waste food. You can’t split your accommodation or travel bills with others. Even when you are traveling solo, your plan will still depend on others’ plan. During my recent visit to Pichavaram, I wanted to take a longer boat ride to not just see the mangrove forest but to see the Pichavaram beach as well, which is usually not explored by the tourists. After a long wait I had to convince random strangers to come along with me as no boat would take me alone or else I had to shell out lot of money.
  1. Dress not as you like but to avoid the creepy eyes: When you are in a group nobody looks at you with vulture eyes and microscopic lens. But when you are alone, all eyes are fixated on you. A creepy look makes you feel as if you are completely naked. A short dress is considered to be an invitation. You have to keep a low profile. You can’t hang out late at nights. You can’t get drunk. You have to pretend at restaurants as if you are waiting for someone to join you.
  1. Be prepared to get scammed: People will take you for a ride when you are riding solo. You will encounter many touts that would want to scam you by luring you to take you to beautiful places at very economical prices. One of my friends got mugged by one such group in the land of Gods – Uttarakhand. I too had a horrific experience. On my first day of Ladakh trip and in Manali, I was told because the group backed out therefore I am on my own and I should forgo my 50% advance.
  1. Experience awkwardness due to language barriers: Though language barriers can spoil anyone’s trip – a group or an individual, it impacts individuals more because they are literally on their own at all times and have no comforting shoulder to empathise. I was in Pulau Ubin, a remote island on the outskirts of Singapore, where no one understood English. First I got dropped at a wrong station and then while sight seeing I had to spend couple of hours waiting for the driver to pick me from the pickup point because he couldn't tell me that I don’t require a full day to explore that tiny place. 

There are countless more reasons that I can elucidate with examples, which would deter any new solo traveler. However, in spite of horrific travel tales the goodness has overshadowed the negatives. While solo traveling, the experiences which you will accumulate are unparalleled and worth gold. And I wouldn't exchange that gold for petty bad incidents.

So don't be scared. Be little more cautious and Travel See Write.

17 Comments

  • Amar says:

    Hi Archana – Thanks for the key points you mentioned in your blog, it surely gives an idea on challenges that a female solo traveler encounters in general. I think the key to stay out of trouble is Research. one can google about the place , language, available transport means and cost for accommodation. you cant really do much about creepy eyes except for being outspoken.
    Yes you cant order much food , cant share your bills but that is what solo traveling is all about, to experience how to get along with others , to understand good or bad people, to be able to explore your individuality.
    Trust me, being a boy the only discount i get is – i dont have to worry about people chasing me. else traveling solo has always been a fun, a great time spent with myself, and memories for life time.

    be informed, Travel safe!
    Cheers,
    Amar

    • Hi Amar,

      Thanks a lot for reading through the blog post and sharing your valuable feedback. I totally concur with your thoughts and trust me the fruit of solo traveling are far more rewarding than the challenges posed that’s why i love solo traveling.

      Looking forward to seeing you more here.

      Cheers!

  • Zohreh says:

    Hi thanks for your post,I search everything but I fear start solo travel I fear from men!!I imagin solo traveling is dangerous for women
    I dont know what can I do

    • Hi Zoreh, Don’t worry about travelling solo. I have been doing it for a really long time. And trust me the love and experiences you garner during solo travel are far greater than the challenges. Just research a lot, be a little more cautious and have Plan A. B & C and you’ll be safe.

  • Zeeshan says:

    Very nicely written… people envy you but then will give meaningless excuses why they can’t or specifically won’t. Solo traveling is in true sense a double edged word

    • Thanks a lot Zeeshan for liking and commenting on the article. And you are right. people want to travel solo but don’t have the courage to do and that’s why they give excuses. However, that’s the beauty of solo travel. Your plans only depend on you 🙂

  • Prachi says:

    Totally agree with your experience… I too faced the same…always have to stay alert without letting others know tht u r scared.. N even in the most developed country people are so surprised to see single female without a bf n tht too traveling alone… Lol..i met an Israeli in my flight and he was so sad to know tht m single and is traveling alone… He started questioning about my lifestyle.

  • Prachi says:

    Totally agree with your experience… I too faced the same…always have to stay alert without letting others know tht u r scared.. N even in the most developed country people are so surprised to see single female without a bf n tht too traveling alone… Lol..i met an Israeli in my flight and he was so sad to know tht m single and is traveling alone… He started questioning about my lifestyle…. Lol…can’t forget the experiences n solo traveling stories… Memories 🙂

    • Prachi: I can so relate to what you are saying. I just came from a trip to Bohol, Philippines and there everyone just had one question, “Mam, why are you traveling single? It’s so sad. Don’t you have family?” Now I have got used to of these questions. They don’t bother me any more. There is a different beauty of traveling solo. The experiences which solo travel offers are unrivaled.

      Long live solo traveling!

  • Dhakkanz says:

    Hey! I guess the points that you mentioned here, concern all individual travelers, except one – we males do not get to turn ladies’ necks that much. Also, we men are rather looked upon if we travel alone, as if we have come out to hunt girls for dinner (I know, bad analogy!).

    But nevertheless, I have never traveled alone and would never want to 🙂

  • Param says:

    True all that you said. Actually I have never travelled solo, but can imagine all that. And I love to explore food, so wish when we eat out we could include a couple more people :p

  • amsang says:

    Well, what do I say. All those things can happen to normal people, right here in the heart of the capital city. So no worries. Travelling is fun

    • Hi Amsang,

      You are right, all these things can happen to anybody anywhere. Just that when you are traveling you are out of your comfort zone and insecurities are at their highest. But it is the the uncomfortable zone that brings out the best in a person. At least I am a firm believer of this theory 🙂

      Also, for me traveling is more than just fun. It is an important part of me. Can’t imagine my life without traveling 🙂

      Thanks a lot for sharing your valuable inputs on the blog and feedback on this article. Much appreciated.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers1

  • Rishabh Sinha says:

    Hello mam….
    Mam ..I’ve started my travel blog name “www.rishabhxone.in”
    Mam I want some tips to improve my writing n progress further

  • Varun Tyagi says:

    You are absolutely correct, I had interaction with few of my female friends who travel solo and they encountered the same problems. Unfortunately for men traveling solo the life is almost the same. (Except for the perverts) I remember security at Jammu Railway station checked my entire backpack. This was before the uprising in the state. I wonder when people in India would understand the fact that Indian’s can travel solo too. http://shutterholic.in/

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