This blog is about people, places and phases in my life....and I'm so excited to introduce to you someone who I think is amazing! Her name is Nisha and she hosts one of my favorite travel blogs. She is a backpacker and does not just write about travel, she actually does it!
She graciously allowed me to introduce you to her via an interview. I was not the one who did this interview, but I like the questions and her answers and I am sure you will love getting to know Nisha.
What was your family's/friends' reaction when you first informed them about your intentions to travel alone? Were they supportive of your decision or were they sceptical? Did you have to convince anyone?
For my first time it was a joint idea to let me travel alone. Later it became habit my parents were always concerned as any parent of a girl would have been. Post marriage, my first trip alone to USA was vehemently opposed by both sets of parents since it was for around a year and leaving your newly wedded husband behind was something they could not come to terms with. But my husband was and still is very supportive of my solo traveling. My mother still tries to dissuade me from traveling alone. :)
How many countries have you traveled to?
I have been to 21 countries, each of them holds some special memories. But I feel this world has so many things to show & tell through its people, culture and history that one lifetime is not sufficient to experience it all.
What is it about traveling alone that makes you do it again and again?
It can not be explained in a short answer but solo traveling is about the new challenges thrown at me on everyday basis during travel and also, it gives me a sense of achievement. Traveling alone tests my endurance level. In a way, it helps in building or enhancing my character. As I always say, it tells me about my strengths, fears and weaknesses.
What types of places do you choose when you are traveling alone and why?
Any unexplored place can be my destination, be it abroad or in India. It does not matter if it is a city or a small town in a remote place; a beach or a mountain. My wish list is quite long which includes overlanding in Africa, Siberian train journey from Russia to China, volunteering in Cambodia, single backpacking trip to cover major South East Asian countries in one go etc.
However, finance is the major key factor and I am open to sponsored trips too. :)
What are the typical activities you indulge in when you are traveling alone?
It is a mix of everything. After a few days of strenuous hiking in mountains or doing some water activities like snorkeling etc, I try to relax for a day or two and plan my next destination before moving towards it. It also gives me time to be in touch with my readers through my blog. Trips to cities are normally relaxed as they involve only sight seeing and walking around.
What types of trips do you prefer Backpacking or a well-planned vacation, when you are traveling alone and why?
Since I consider myself a traveler, I prefer backpacking. In my opinion, those who take well-planned vacations are tourists, not travelers.
What are the major challenges of travelling alone in India? If you have an experience of travelling to international destinations, please provide a comparison.
Travelling alone in India is more challenging than traveling alone abroad. Besides high crime rate; in India people still do not fathom a sight of an ‘Indian woman’ traveling alone to the interiors or lesser known places where nobody comes to receive/drop off her at railway station/bus-stops or accompanies her to find a decent place to stay.
What is the typical reaction of people you meet while traveling?
The most common question I have faced is “Which country are you from?” And believe me, it holds good in India as well, because in our country the words ‘Indian’, ‘woman’ and ‘solo’ don’t appear together so often.
What are the most important things you pack when you are going out on a trip alone?
The most important things are always just three… Passport/photo identity proof, tickets and my wallet. Rest all can be managed if you’ve forgotten some of them.
But it is always better to pack as per your travel plan & schedule. I have written about the things I had packed for my 48 days solo backpacking trip to Malaysia & Thailand. Here is the link http://www.lemonicks.com/Travel/2010/03/10/the-things-i-am-carrying/
And no, I do not carry a pepper spray ! :)
Any suggestions for travelers especially women when they plan their first trip alone?
Again, there are many points. But my one line suggestion to them is “Be confident & alert, keep your family informed of your whereabouts and enjoy your trip”.
What are the advantages of traveling alone over traveling with family or friends?
For me traveling alone gives me freedom to decide on everything (food, places, activities, plans etc) and responsibility to own up to those decisions, good or bad.
I believe, traveling solo helps me building or enhancing my character. It shows me my strengths & weaknesses and challenges me to improve upon them. I can say, I am a much more confident person after every solo trip.
What are the disadvantages of traveling alone over traveling with family or friends?
Your question invites long answer again. There are many disadvantages but the most common disadvantage is lack of company. It takes a lot of courage and self belief to do solo traveling, especially if it stretches into weeks or months.
*Questions and Answers are an excerpt of an interview with Nisha. Be sure and visit Nisha's blog.