I grew up believing that I could not travel alone. I thought that traveling was something you did with your significant other, family or friends. It was instilled in me by friends, family, and the news that that traveling alone was dangerous. As an Indian woman, this fear was ever present in my mind because of the number of violent attacks, assaults, and rapes that happen in India every year. India is considered to be the most dangerous country in the world for violent crimes against women.*
For years these judgments held me back. Although I desperately wanted to travel and had the resources to do so I was conditioned into believing that I was not safe.
My journey of self-discovery, self-empowerment, and ultimately self-love has taught me that I do not need others to travel alone. I told myself if I can raise children by myself, if I can run a successful business by myself, I can travel by myself too.
Many of you know I am a bit of a rebel and when I was a young woman I lied to my family and started taking secret adventures in my city and neighboring communities. During my marriage, my ability to travel was limited but my passion never faded. A few years ago after my divorce my wanderlust flame was re-ignited and I began planning my very first solo trip.
Too afraid to tell my family I planned in secret - I ensured that my children would be at their father’s, that I had close friends who could mind my home, and employees who could run my business while I was away. Despite wanting to shout from the rooftops that I was going on a backpacking trip to a place I had always wanted to visit I kept it to myself. The stress of having to answer their prying questions and defend myself against their judgments would have likely kept me from ever getting on the plane!
Since that time, I have taken a few more solo trips. Every time I travel I come home with a greater appreciation for myself and my independence. Every trip turns out to be a journey of self-awareness, self-realization, and self-empowerment. We develop confidence through our ability to overcome adversity.
There is nothing quite like getting lost in a city you have never been to, do not know the language, and your cell phone does not work to remind you that you are able to overcome just about anything if you put your mind to it.
If you are looking to take your first solo trip I encourage you to look into taking a volunteer vacation. It is a safe way to get into solo traveling as you will be working with an aid organization and be paired with others who you will be working and bonding with during the trip. Plus the best part of volunteer vacations is that you will be spending most of your time giving back!
Pack your bags and get planning friends!
Much love always,
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For more of Devina’s thoughts on traveling solo and volunteer trips check out this YouTube video:
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