Meeting Renuka, a travel writer from India
Today I am interviewing Renuka, from India, a freelance travel writer who loves to travel alone. If you are planning to travel alone in India on Renuka’s Blog you’ll find lots of tips about things to do and best places to visit.
Here below my interview with Renuka.
1) Tell us a bit about yourself. What you do in life and how has your passion for travel started ?
I always had an inherent love for travel. It just turned into a passion when I discovered that this was something that really mattered to me. Earlier I had a full-time job that didn’t allow me travel whenever I wanted to, but now since I have taken up freelance writing, I am a free bird and I can fly anywhere, anytime without asking anybody!
2) How was your first solo trip experience ?
It’s one of the most memorable experiences of my life so far. I went to Udaipur (Rajasthan). Although I had travelled alone even earlier, Udaipur was my first totally solo trip. I had booked my accommodation in advance, so it was easy for me to simply check in and start with my vacation. People in Rajasthan are extremely courteous and helpful. I went around so many places on my own. I even visited a village, which was a little away from the city. I couldn’t believe that I could have so much fun on my own and my trip rolled so smoothly.
3) What is the motivation for you to go solo? How often do you travel on your own ?
The first solo trip that I took was just to experience solo travel. I was curious to know what is it like to travel solo. I wanted to explore a destination alone. I had such a good time that I continued to travel solo even after that first experience. Another reason for travelling solo is that I don’t want any excuse to stop me from travelling. For instance, if somebody promised to tag along with me and couldn’t travel for whatsoever reason, I still travel. Solo travel for me is the most convenient thing to do. I don’t think much over it.
4) The biggest challenge, fear or weird situation you had to overcome in your solo travel trips ?
I must admit, there have been times when I have really got scared. Solo travel is smooth only when you are wise and careful. Well, I always take good care of myself, but certain things happen and you learn to deal with them. I think it’s part and parcel of not just solo travel but travel on the whole. I have been fortunate to meet good people on my solo trips. I’d say I haven’t faced any challenges per se.
5) How do you choose your solo travel destinations ?
I have not really made any conscious choices in terms of where I want to go as a solo traveller. Rajasthan has been my major solo travel destination by chance. I have ended up travelling solo to Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and the desert. It’s a fabulous destination for solo travellers. I have also explored Delhi and Mumbai on my own, which has been equally enriching and enjoyable. So, I am pretty much spontaneous.
6) Travel alone versus couple travel or group travel, can you highlight benefits vs downsides ?
The only downside of solo travel is that I have to click all my pictures on self-timer or ask a stranger for a favour. Of course, a couple or a group will not have to face that flipside. Solo travel can be a bit expensive too, because there is nobody to share the expenses. However, solo travel gives you total freedom and flexibility, which is not there when you are travelling with friends unless they are like you! Solo travel is certainly more rewarding and enriching in the long run.
7) The best encounter you made in your solo travels ?
Although all my solo travel experiences have been great, I’d mention a couple of them – my solo desert safari in Rajasthan unveiled a different world to me. It was nice to know the life on the other side – people who reside in the villages, who lead a tough life, yet they have more enthusiasm than most of us, who live such comfy lives. Another experience was when I went to Matheran, a small hill station near Mumbai – it was a monsoon trek. I, along with other tourists, was trekking through a forest while it was raining torrentially. I was going through mixed emotions of happiness, fear, sense of wonder and amazement.
8) What do you think are the pros and cons of travelling solo as a woman and how much does safety matter when on the road ?
Safety matters the most! Yes, even if I love to travel solo I make sure that I am safe. I think if a woman is travelling alone, she should ensure that she is not in a vulnerable state – she’s not alone in a deserted area where there are no tourists at all. There is absolutely no harm in travelling solo as long as you know what you are doing. Just use common sense!
9) What have you learnt from travelling alone over the years ?
I have learnt to deal with people and manage so many things on my own. When you are travelling alone, it’s you who have to take care of everything, take all the decisions in terms of money, place, food, people, etc. Thus, travelling solo makes you street smart.
10) Any plans, what will be the purpose of your next solo trip ?
I want my next solo trip to be a long and slow one. I don’t want it to be a typical vacation. I want to take up a short-term job, maybe work for a NGO and that way live in a new destination for a while and experience it closely.
11) Do you have any tips or destinations that you would recommend to a woman who is willing to start travelling alone ?
My one simple tip is to start with an easy destination – somewhere near. In India, Rajasthan is the best option for solo travel, and then Northeast India is also pretty inviting. All of it depends on your research and preparation for the trip. Travel wherever you want to, just make sure you are well aware of your destination.
Read more about Renuka’s tips on travelling alone India
Renuka is a freelance writer/photographer and a travel blogger from India. With her blog, Voyager For Life, she aims to inspire and awaken people to travel. She has been a native in four different cities in India and would not mind more city-hopping in the future. When she is not travelling, she likes to be a tourist in her own city.
You can follow Renuka on Twitter and on Facebook and on Pinterest.
Thanks Renuka for your insights and tips on travelling alone in India!
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