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If you are looking for single minded happiness, solo travelling can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. It helps you grow and boosts your confidence. Most importantly it has many practical perks. You get to do what you want when you want; you’re on your own schedule, you get to follow your own interests, be it bungee jumping or combing archives. But, it also has a lot of perils if you don’t know where to start? Hence, I am sharing a few tips based on my solo travel experience.

Text: Sweta Shrestha 

Research your destination

In many movies, I have seen the main character travel across the world without any destination, living in any luxurious hotel that they find on the way.  As dreamy as it may look, it’s might not be possible for a budget traveller to not have a full-fledged plan and just wander off.

When I was selected for Solo Woman Travel Challenge 2018, my full-time job was to research about the place. I had to figure out everything from the hospital, clinic, army/police office, restaurant and hotels to beautiful places for sightseeing.  It’s very important that you are aware of your destination as you do not want to get lost when you are alone. Keep in mind to save contact numbers of local people who might be helpful.

Talk to strangers

There is a saying that you should not talk to strangers when you are travelling alone, but this is just a myth. One cannot get to know the place unless you interact with its denizens. You won’t get the insight of the place from any traveller accompanying you. Take every opportunity to talk to the locals, be it stumbling through bits of a barely-spoken language, communicating by pen and paper, or just sharing a smile. In a village named Daru Gaun of Bajhang district, I met a grandmother who was very happy to see an Eastern girl travelling all by herself in the Far West. It was very interesting to hear her story.

Trust your instinct

Always listen to your gut feeling. When I was at Khaptad, some people suggested that I not leave the park as it was snowing.  Whereas, other people were telling me that if it continued to snow then I might get stuck at the park office for days. I was in a dilemma but I trusted my instincts and decided to leave Khaptad National Park and move down towards Bajhang.  While walking, I almost got lost due to the low visibility. Once again I trusted my instinct again and took the right course which lead me to Bajhang.

There is a saying that you should not talk to strangers when you are travelling alone, but this is just a myth

Don’t worry about having a day off

You are a brave human being to travel solo. It is normal to feel fatigued. Just take a day off. Be lazy, lie in bed all day and get proper food. This would help you re-energise and regain your travel spirit. I came down from Khaptad walking all day through the rough snowy terrain. Then the very next day I took a bus to Attariya. These two days were physically and mentally exhausting. I felt homesick. I even considered quitting the solo travel and going back home to my family to celebrate Tihar. Instead, I took three days off from my travel giving a full rest to my limbs and mind. I was invited to a rider’s home (Bharat Shahi dai) at Attariya to celebrate Laxmi Puja. I stayed over for a day which was a much-needed day-off for me. After that I found myself recharged to travel again.

Make a note of your travel story

Always make note of your travel. You do not need to be a professional writer; you just need to keep writing each day.  I still regret not writing about my daily activities during the journey. Now, I exercise my mind to recollect those moments and scribble a few lines each day.

Sweta Shrestha is from Bhadrapur Jhapa and currently lives in Kathmandu. A lover of nature, she has completed her Bachelor’s degree in forestry, and has been selected for  the sixth female trekking guide course at Nepal Mountain Academy.