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The solo traveller recommends

Do you worry how safe it would be to travel alone? Or that you might die of boredom? Or are your concerns more practical, like having to pay full price for a double room? Our suggestion: Give solo travel a shot. Think of the pros, like having full rights to your itinerary, including the decision to alter your day without having to check with fellow travellers, and allowing yourself some much-deserved R&R. We spoke to a few free spirits who are off to explore places on their own this summer.

Time to sever those invisible chains that bind you to your desk, and get packing! 

When: April
Why: To spot a snow leopard
Duration: 10 days
Budget: Rs 20,000 approx
WHO: Supriya Kantak (29), writer-photographer
Based in: Mumbai

“Winters are the best time to spot the elusive snow leopard. I was hoping to do this trip in February, but ended up going to Bangkok, instead. A girl who works at the Snow Leopard Conservancy in Ladakh got me interested in this. We will be going on tiger sightings. I hate to do conventional touristy things when I’m travelling. Doing the regular sights — Pangong, Nubra and the like — was out of question. The best part about travelling solo is that you are forced to meet new people and make friends. Plus, the barrenness of the mountains in Ladakh has always fascinated me.”

When: Mid-April and May
Why: To better understand her roots from a social-political-cultural point
of view
Duration: 40 days
Budget: Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000
WHO: Priyanka Borpujari (27), independent journalist
Based in: Mumbai

“My parents are from Assam. I was born there and visited Assam every year during the summer. I also did my junior college there. Though I’ve been to Guwahati and Jorhat, I have never seen Assam through the eyes of a traveller and a journalist. This time around, I am travelling with the intention of understanding the diversity of Assam better. Though I don’t have a fixed agenda, I am hoping to meet and stay with people who are working at the grassroots level in villages, as well as meeting people who reflect a Left-of-Centre point of view. I am able to travel alone because I look at the world positively. You also have to be confident, follow your instincts, know some basic words in the local language and just genuinely smile a lot. And no, you do not need a passport to visit Assam, people there do not eat anything that crawls, it is not filled with Maoists and it is definitely not a dangerous place where you will get killed the moment you land. I’ve been travelling alone to new places for the past five years. So much ‘bad’ could have happened, but I have only had beautiful experiences. You need to trust the world and desperately love travelling.”

When: April to July
Why: Because it’s Goa!
Duration: 4 months
Budget: Rs 60,000 approx
WHO: Sonali Shah (24), freelance writer
Based in: Mumbai

“I went on a solo trip to Goa last year, with friends joining in only during the latter half. That is when I realised that I can do solo trips and that I wanted to do an extended one. The whole vibe of Goa spells freedom, making you feel liberated from the constraints of city life. It’s also a good place to travel solo, since you are not quite alone all the time; you are constantly meeting fun people. I intend to continue with my freelance writing for the most part, though I also hope to catch up on my reading and meet interesting people from around the world.”

When: May
Why: To live inside a rainforest
Duration: 4 to 5 days
Budget: Rs 8,000 approx
Who: Rahul Divay (24), digital media planner
Based in: Mumbai

“Hulivana is a nature resort inside a dense rainforest, about 253 km from Bangalore. I read about it in a travel magazine and found myself thinking about how it was right up my alley. I love travelling to such places alone, because I can totally enjoy doing what I want to do — it’s just me and the great outdoors. Plus, I like travelling to places where there is no network on your mobile phone, and where you can go trekking. My to-do list includes going mountain biking and trekking to Jenkal Betta, the third-highest peak in the state.”

When: May
Why: To do an Advanced Open Water
Diver course
Duration: 9 days
Budget: Rs 1,00,000 approx
WHO: Aravind Murali (37), music composer
Based in: Chennai

“I prefer travelling to places off the beaten track. I read something on travel everyday, and happened to chance upon Nusa Lembongan on the Wikitravel website. It happens to be this spectacular island located to the southeast of Bali, in Indonesia. I have dived before in the Andamans and in Malaysia, and have signed up for a three-day course, as well.”

When: May
Why: To see a new country
Duration: 6 to 8 days
Budget: Rs 50,000 approx
Who: Arjun Rajagopal (28), consultant with an IT firm
Based in: Bangalore

“Singapore seems like an ideal choice for summer travel, since it’s not too far away and fits my budget as well. Travelling alone means that I have the freedom to do everything at my convenience and have space for introspection as well. I plan to sign up for some walking tours, ride the metro, perhaps even stay at hostels to meet people from different countries. Since Malaysia and Bali are close, I am planning to go there as well.” 

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