(Confessions of first time girl solo traveler)
I finally did my solo traveling in India, which was long overdue. I wanted to take a break from my regular boring 9 to 5 and disappear somewhere in the woods. However, going solo for a girl, that too in India, is a bit of a challenge, reasons are not unknown to many. Which is why I chose a higher altitude, McLeod Ganj, it is a safe place and quite honestly, I am very comfortable with the hills and the people around the hills. I have a connection with the hills from my birth. Yes, I am from the hills and I am aware of the nitty-gritty about it. People are very simple despite the development in the hills; the essence of simplicity does not leave the locals. And so, for my first solo trip I had to be in the mountains, obviously. However, I wanted it to be a place I had not seen before. McLeod Ganj perfectly fit in my fairly new wanderlust checklist.
I had planned the place where I was going to go but, I am not much of a planner. I like to explore a place like a nomad; it gives me more perspective and sometimes takes me to unexplored beauties. Reaching McLeod Ganj is easy, just hop in a bus from Delhi. It is an overnight journey. There are various places to stay in McLeod that are budget friendly like small hotels, guesthouses, home stays and backpackers hostel. I choose to stay in a hostel called Shalom Backpackers. I like to stay in hostels as it is easy on the pocket as well as you meet likeminded people from all across the globe. I had booked my stay before I got in, it’s always better have a place ready than figuring out right there, it gets exhausting and eats up half a day, sometimes more…no point struggling there.
McLeod Ganj is a hub for Buddhist culture; there are lots of temples, monasteries, art and culture. My first day was mostly strolling around the beautiful lanes of McLeod Ganj. Since, I had traveled the night before I wanted to keep it simple for my day one, which is why I decided to explore around. I went to the local markets and lazed around in really cool and chilled out cafes. McLeod Ganj has lovely cafes, with good food and amazing vibes, you can spend all day just gazing outside, or reading a book. On the second day I felt more adventurous, so I went for Triund trek, with amazing landscapes, through deodar forest, the trial to the trekking spot is an experience, one can’t describe in words. I camped there at night under the fresh sky and twinkling stars waiting to light up your sight. It was the most soothing experience of my life, just in the wild and close to nature, rejuvenating your soul and spirits. After a goodnight sleep and simple morning breakfast in the middle of the hills and valleys, I came back to the hostel.
For the next few days I trekked to more such amazing scenic sites like – Bhagsu waterfall, Kareri Trek and other close by treks. To deliciously satisfy my adventurous appetite I went for paragliding in Bir Billing. With all the fun and adventure activities, I had some quiet and peaceful time at the hostel, with bonfire and lovely people jamming. What else does one need by the end of the day; some nice cool breeze, the warmth of fire and music by your side!
I also met really nice people from all around the world; it’s always good to interact with different cultures and communities. It gives you better perspective about various things in life.
As they say all good things come to an end! My trip came to an end too, leaving this mystical after taste. That left me inspired for more such solo travel diaries. There are two things I understood from this trip: one it’s never too late to start living your travel dream and secondly, it’s not that difficult to travel alone, it’s only the initial fear that keeps us from taking our first step. I am already planning on my next endeavor into the travel world; I plan to travel as much as I can from here on. I have found my solace as I start my journey as a solo traveler.
My adventure has already begun when is yours?