Queen of the highway

SOLO SAFARI

Women traveling alone find it a lot easier today than they did two decades ago. So, go take that solo road trip and reclaim yourself, says Reethika Azariah Kuruvilla

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”  Life is a highway, and as much fun as it is to ride it all night long, you don’t need to be Jack Kerouac in a beat-up Chevy, breezing through Route 66 to understand the real freedom and thrill of being ‘on the road’ on your own.  Mother, spouse, sister and daughter you may be, but there is still a part of you that you need to reclaim as yourself every once in a while.  There’s nothing more rejuvenating than the feeling of wind in your hair and sand in your feet, with the idea of deciding what you want to do each day only after you have your first cuppa — a decision, that for once, depends on what you and only you want to do for the rest of the day.

Women traveling alone find it a lot easier today than they did two decades ago.  Conquering those initial apprehensions that naturally rear their heads up as you leave home are much simpler than you imagine at first.  All it takes is a firm idea  on where you’re headed and how many days you wish to spend on the road.  As the old jungle saying goes, ‘a little research is better than none.’ Route areas where you feel safe and stay connected with your family while you travel so that they know you’re doing okay.  However, while you do need to keep important things like phone numbers and emergency contact details at hand, these are the fabulous four ‘must dos’ when you travel on your own:

* Try not to pack for an army — travel light. Packing clothes and necessities most certainly doesn’t mean you need to lug a huge suitcase around wherever you’re going especially since you probably won’t get any help if you’re taking the stairs up in places where there is no escalator. More importantly, avoid taking every single gadget you own on your journey, considering you probably don’t wish to lose any of them.

* Get a grip on your imagination — it absolutely wouldn’t help you sleep at night if you kept imagining there are serial killers on the run, particularly if you choose to spend a night camping in the wilderness.  Make sure you have a good book and adequate music to accompany you for near-panic moments.

* Avoid talking to strangers — as farfetched as this might seem on a solo holiday, it does make sense to sometimes trust your instincts and avoid people who make you feel uncomfortable.  The fact of the matter is, this is not the hitchhikers’ galaxy, and it never hurts to take a bus or train instead of hitchhiking with a random stranger.

*  Learn to hang out with yourself — there could be days of feeling alone and wishing you had company.  Doing a road-trip with a friend a’la Thelma and Louise could work just as well, but there’s nothing more disheartening than traveling with somebody who complains their way through the trip.  Thus, instead of risking having someone wreck your days of sunshine, go it alone.  Test-drive your solo trip with meals alone in a restaurant before you leave; if you can manage a movie and meal on your own in your hometown, you’re going to be A-okay.

* Set your own pace and think your own thoughts — stop for a moment and rewind to what it used to be like when you were ‘you’ — get into the driver’s seat and take off into the sunset, even if it is for just two hours by yourself without your list of things that need to be done at work and at home. 

You might have a couple of pre-trip jitters, but you undoubtedly won’t regret your solo journey.  At the end of the day, ‘there’s nowhere to go but everywhere, so keep on rolling under the stars.’

 

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