I am a gypsy. I love traveling. Most new places get me happy…. and I'm addicted to this happiness. It’s like a drug I need every 3-4 months. One shot at travel even if just for 3 days.
Most of my friends love the fact that I find ways to travel and places to travel to. Especially when I do so with my girlfriends (without my family) on trips which are becoming a ritual now.
Naturally, it’s not uncommon for women to travel in groups these days… Most women who are unattached, looking for a travel companion or looking for adventure can easily find travel companies specifically looking to make it comfortable and safe for them to travel. But more often than not these women are single or relatively commitment-free. I guess the awe or the "lucky you" sentiment directed towards me comes from the fact that I'm married and have a five-year old daughter and am still going on solo trips with friends.
Before I go into the trip that got Neela to ask me to write, let me say that any change is always a fight. You have been married for a number of years without your family having to accept your wanting to do an all-girls trip, far less actually doing so… and now you want to change the status quo? You have to convince a spouse, to get your family to accept that you need this me-time, explain to a child why he or she (or they!) can't come with you, and it is not easy. So before you go down that road, be absolutely sure that it's a fight worth fighting, for you! And that you really want to do it for yourself!
Naturally once all that is sorted out the financials need to be worked out too. If you, like me, like to self-finance solo trips, then you have to find a way to earn the moolah. Especially if you are a stay-at-home mom. Despite which you might hear an occasional stray comment from a cousin or neighbour about being irresponsible or about having your priorities mixed up, and you will have to thicken your skin and just keep a stiff upper lip. Fair warning. 🙂 So is it worth it, you ask me? Oh YES YESSS YESSSSS!
I cannot even begin to explain in words why… Remember those carefree school or college days? When you danced till you dropped, laughed till your tummy hurt and could just be whatever you wanted to be? Well, that's the closest thing to how you feel when you travel alone. And I haven't even started telling you about the places you'll go to or the sights you'll discover yet!
Coming to my trip to Spiti and what I felt… It was magic and love and faith and goodness all rolled into one. It was the almost-barren lands, cold winds, tough terrain and the most beautiful valleys beyond any words I can put together, ever. I was in complete awe and hugely humbled in its greatness. Spiti really was a different kind of love. Like I-can't-be-the-same-person-I-was-before-I-went-there love. And that excites me as much as it scares me. It was "fernweh" to the core. And as some of my friends warned me, I'm afraid the hangover is here to stay for a long-long time.
The serenity and beauty of Chandratal Lake, the trek to Dhankar lake… We were road tripping through streams, to road-less journeys on what is labeled the "World's Most Treacherous Roads". There were bumps and scares, hardly any smooth roads and an adrenaline rush like no other. 🙂 But ask me if I would give up a minute of that for any luxury in life? And my answer is a clear "No way!"
Road trips are magic. They let you forget the passing of time and make you forget all your problems. All you see is the road ahead (and sometimes the stream where the road should be! :P). The experience was akin to nothing I have ever felt before. 🙂
The travel company I experienced this with is called Jugni. It had the perfect blend and I loved experiencing it for ten unforgettable days. I'd easily recommend them to you… But the point really is not whom to do it with, it is to do it! Go out there and find the beauty in the world! So this is cheers to new places and new soul-touching journeys and to staying in touch with the gypsy in all of us!