Monthly Archives: November 2016

17 things I love about travelling solo

runner's sigh

“I wandered everywhere, through cities and countries wide. And everywhere I went, the world was on my side.” –Roman Payne

Have you been to a place where you know absolutely NO ONE. Yes, not a soul and it’s just you with your back-pack?

I have. And it is absolutely thrilling. In fact I must admit that the first time you travel solo, it can be a ‘butterflies in stomach’ kinda experience. Possibly, for many, it could be the first time in your life, ‘you only have yourself to rely on’ kind of experience.

img_20161001_041526

It all begins with small experiences such as nobody to hold your bag when you go to the loo. And then grander experiences like having no penny beyond the cab fare to the airport left in your pocket, starving till the flight attendant serves you food, being locked out of your hostel and having no where…

View original post 1,511 more words

Advertisements

17 things I love about travelling solo

“I wandered everywhere, through cities and countries wide. And everywhere I went, the world was on my side.” –Roman Payne

Have you been to a place where you know absolutely NO ONE. Yes, not a soul and it’s just you with your back-pack?

I have. And it is absolutely thrilling. In fact I must admit that the first time you travel solo, it can be a ‘butterflies in stomach’ kinda experience. Possibly, for many, it could be the first time in your life, ‘you only have yourself to rely on’ kind of experience.

img_20161001_041526

It all begins with small experiences such as nobody to hold your bag when you go to the loo. And then grander experiences like having no penny beyond the cab fare to the airport left in your pocket, starving till the flight attendant serves you food, being locked out of your hostel and having no where to go!!!

I have had all of these experiences over my years of solo travel. And I have cherished each one of these experiences…

Travelling alone doesn’t mean I am a loner. I equally enjoy travelling with friends and family. But travelling alone, well it feels like a cleansing experience. Generally travelling by itself is very cleansing, but travelling alone is taking it a few notches higher and a few levels deeper-like a deep tissue cleanser!!!!

But more than anything, it is such an empowering experience. You become the master of your soul during your trip alone, immaterial whether you are a man or a woman.

Here are my 17 reasons why I am totally in love with travelling alone, by myself:

  1. The journey to the travel is more beautiful than the actual trip: Because you are travelling alone, you invest extra time in checking, re-checking your hotel, the ticket is taken care-off by you. You meticulously check on the cheapest deals and the best prices. You become pro at filling Visa forms so much so that people call you to take your advice on what to write in a particular column on the form for their respective trips. You know the price range of the ticket rates to the cities you have traveled to, at the back of your hand. Mine do. Now, I am a little extreme. My favourite hobby is to go through the world map over the weekend and make plan to go to a new place soon!!!!!

    img20161007170156

    As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.” – Virginia Woolf

  2. You know much information about the place even before you land: When you travel alone, you are your own guide. It is immaterial whether you will find a guide there or no. Also, a woman travelling alone definitely knows to do her research well. You know the exchange rate well, the language, the way of dressing and the manner of speaking, the places to go to, etc.

    dsc_0284

    at Leh…

  3. You are well aware of the fact that there is no fall back plan: You need to manage your money very well. That gives you full power to spend and save the money that you have. You could use it wisely or spend it loosely- you have to bear the consequence of your decisions. I have landed in a situation where I only had the money to take me to the airport left with me on that particular day. And it was evident that I couldn’t afford to eat much and was my crankiest best. I was glad that it was my last day in that city and all I had to pay for was the fare to the airport.

    dsc_1287-2

    both in Bali and in Paris I had the last few bucks to pay the cabbie

  4. You can do whatever you feel like on your trip: ok, you are not into touristy things! Fine. Don’t go to touristy places. You want to get up late and just take a stroll in the local market? Go ahead. There is no one to make a plan for you on your trip. You make your own plan and execute it. Isn’t that liberating?

    dsc_1212

    at a local market in Sanur, Bali

  5. You meet new people and share new experiences with them: I have met the best of people on my travels and I continue to be friends with them. When you travel in a group, you tend to hang around and chill with those whom you are travelling with. But, travelling alone you tend to meet interesting people that possibly you wound have never encountered in your life. Like I met Fong Tsit from Hong Kong on my train ride to the Santa Claus village and I ended up having the most wonderful time with her when we reached the destination. Or I met Maurice Janssen from Netherlands on my trip to Nilgiris and it has been over three years and several trips of great times with him. Or meeting my room-mate Sokratis Zor with whom I attended a great concert in Stockholm.
    img20161005185654

    Swing ride with Fong Tsit in Santa Claus village

    img_20131224_133729

    Post trek with Maurice Janssen in Nilgiris

    img20161009235953

    With Sokratis Zor at The Cure concert

  6. You can modify and moderate your travel plans as per your wish: you wanted to go to place X but you went to place Y, fine. There is nobody to dispute your decision. Like when I was in Bali, a reduced to day from my stay in Ubud and headed to the beaches straight. Or my last few days in Scandanavia were completely unbooked!

    img20161009154525

    Did nothing but walked through the day in Stockholm

  7. You pack your luggage sensibly: You know you have to carry your own baggage through that crowded bus or train. Sometimes it is not affordable for a solo traveler to take a cab. Hence, public transport is your best friend. When you know that you are lugging around your own luggage, naturally you tend to take lesser stuff.
  8. You are suddenly aware of the small things around you, that you could have missed otherwise: Things like warm breeze against your cheeks, that musician playing flute at the corner of the road, etc. catch your attention.

    dsc_0051

    At a local market in Tel Aviv, Israel

  9. You are more cautious and responsible: You have to take care of your own passport, your own currency, that expensive jacket that you are carrying on your arm. You can’t afford to be irresponsible. yggvtbuoblqq92oov8sagkfowauwvwtgorke0w4qjdiw1024-h576-no
  10. The whole logistics of travelling alone is simple: Even for the best of travel planner, it can be challenging to coordinate a trip when it comes to managing a group of people. You have to take time away from your work match it with other’s date. You can definitely overcome the challenge by planning it way in advance. But, if you have less time, then planning a trip with a group can be super stressful. So if you don’t find a travel partner on short notice, well, it could be your time to pack your bags and travel anyway.dsc_0532
  11. You get your time alone to introspect:  Yes, travelling alone is a great introspective experience. You can just sit down by a beach, look within or just stare at the sun, without having the compulsion of striking a conversation with someone.

    img20161005190229

    In Northern Finland

  12. Your mind expands: For most part of our life we are confined to a finite way of living. Expected people, places, patterns, etc. Travelling alone can challenge this and open your mind to new experiences. You step out of all of these predictable things and step out of your comfort zone.

    dsc_0341

    At Yasser Arafat’s tomb in Palestine

  13. You own your experiences: Whatever experience you have during the travel whether good or bad, it is your own. Getting duped by a cabbie in Bali for double the amount of money is your own experience or getting food at night in the middle of a deserted village in Israel by two helpful strangers. These are your experiences, guided by your good or bad judgments and nobody can partake in that. There is no one to applaud and no one to blame either.
  14. You start trusting your intuition more: You will definitely sharpen your ability to judge in the correct manner, not just depending on facts but going by the gut feeling too. You learn how to read the situations better and the take appropriate action.dsc_1399
  15. Anonymity is bliss: Nobody knows who you are as you are not travelling with familiar faces. You can do all the experiments that you wanted to do without fear of having people around to judge. How about singing a local song at a karaoke?
  16. Meet locals and get to know about a place better: The experience that you have travelling alone is different from a guided trip experience. I tend to chat  a lot with locals than going through guide books for the required place. And from my experience, locals open up to a solo traveler more as compared to a group of people. Also, many times it has happened to me on my solo trips that I looked to act less like a tourist and more like a local because of getting a local guidance. Hence, you get a completely different treatment from many other locals.

    xj2vdc4wgtbha_ylwc7pmomelha36gcaxlaayti0qhqw350-h622-no

    In Monaco

  17. You come back home with the best possible travel stories which only you have to share and no one else. Isn’t that super awesome?
ojmfnv-jdhpupzgnclhxa3b0nefptgjwiongjxryluww1024-h576-no

Reaching Portofino in Italy after changing 2 flights, 3 trains and a ferry

“It seemed an advantage to be traveling alone. Our responses to the world are crucially moulded by whom we are with, we temper our curiosity to fit in with the expectations of others…Being closely observed by a companion can inhibit us from observing others; we become taken up with adjusting ourselves to the companion’s questions and remarks, we have to make ourselves seem more normal than is good for our curiosity.”
― Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel

Street art in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.

runner's sigh

I was supposed to head to Langkawi from Singapore but then a friend who had visited Penang told me about the Street Art in Georgetown. The minute I hear street art, eyes closed I rush towards that place and open them up to the work of artists who paint the boring looking walls of normal looking streets into something beautiful.

To begin with, streets of Penang are anything but boring looking. Throw in some street art, you have a feast for your eyes!!!

20160518_180431_002 In the fishing Village

I took a Tiger Air fight from Singapore to reach Penang, Malaysia and booked myself into a hotel close to Georgetown and ventured out to see the streets.

I was staying just for a night in Penang. From here, I headed to my beach resort in Langkawi.

Expect the unexpected

I was not really sure of what to expect in terms of the street art…

View original post 473 more words

Street art in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.

I was supposed to head to Langkawi from Singapore but then a friend who had visited Penang told me about the Street Art in Georgetown. The minute I hear street art, eyes closed I rush towards that place and open them up to the work of artists who paint the boring looking walls of normal looking streets into something beautiful.

To begin with, streets of Penang are anything but boring looking. Throw in some street art, you have a feast for your eyes!!!

 

20160518_180431_002

In the fishing Village

 

 

I took a Tiger Air fight from Singapore to reach Penang, Malaysia and booked myself into a hotel close to Georgetown and ventured out to see the streets.

I was staying just for a night in Penang. From here, I headed to my beach resort in Langkawi.

Expect the unexpected

I was not really sure of what to expect in terms of the street art in Georgetown, but I was open to surprises.

I put my sport shoes on as the map promised a long walk. Just then a local told me about taking a cycle-rickshaw. I was thrilled by the idea.

Be prepared to bargain hard and stage a  walk out with the rickshaw guys!!

The added benefit of taking a cycle-rickshaw is that the rider who is a local can be your guide. Although those riding the cycle rickshaw barely speak English, you just need their help in spotting the art as most of it is hidden. Hence, broken English works!!

20160518_170259

Taking a cycle rickshaw would be smart if you have a short stay in Penang

20160518_172339

Taken from the cycle rickshaw, through the streets of Georgetown

What’s the fuss about? 

Georgetown is protected as a UNESCO Heritage site. There are different artists that have contributed to the street art of Georgetown. But the most prominent among these artists is Lithunian Ernest Zacharevic.  Zacharevic was commissioned by the Penang Municipal Council in 2012 to create a street art project in Georgetown. This project consisted of painting several large murals in different parts of the old town.

Now, let’s see what the art looks like…

20160518_170226

This was the first painting I stumbled upon.

 

20160518_172935

‘Reaching Up’ You will almost miss this as the boy from far and the speeding rickshaw looks real

20160518_173932

Two children riding an actual bike

 

20160518_174317

Boy on the bike!

img_20160518_203403

You will find people standing in a queue to take pictures with the disused motorbike

20160518_170450

‘A giant girl lifting herself’. This painting is really huge and I love the way in which windows are used in this one.

 

img_20160518_214147

This is ‘I Want Bao! mural which is next to Ming Xiang Tai pastry shop’

20160518_175324

20160518_175238

‘Love Me Like Your Fortune Cat’

 

img_20160518_191748

Blue kitten just next to the fortune cat

20160518_175039

You can’t miss this huge cat for sure! She didn’t like my hair so much

 

20160518_171727

This one is by Australian artist Vexta. Is it hair or branches?

 

20160518_171202

My rickshaw guy was hungry it seems!!! 🙂

 

20160518_174617

This one is a part of 101 Lost Kittens project. ‘The Real Bruce Lee Would Never Do This’ is what it is called. There are 3 cats in this picture, one can be seen, two have faded!

 

20160518_170724

Please don’t eat me!!

These are some of the pieces of work that I loved clicking. There are many more to see. There are many artworks besides the ones listed here. I along with my ‘rickshaw guide’ tried our best to find as many as we could. If you have more do let me know. Some of the murals are already fading. Hence, do visit quickly before you miss out on the beauty!!!

Beyond Street Art…

Georgetown is a beautiful town to take a stroll in. The locals are lovely and helpful and the food is to die for. Here is leaving you with some more pictures.

20160518_183310

Local souvenirs

20160518_174050

Cycle through the old town!!

20160518_173951img_20160518_202907

 

 

 

In pictures, why Portofino left me mesmerised..

Portofino is a tiny sea village on the Italian Riviera. It is essentially a sea resort which is accessible by boat  (ferry) or train from St Margherita Ligure. St Marguerite Ligure is a station which is a part of the Italian Railway network and is closest to this port. There is no direct train going to Portofino.

This place boasts of ancient marine culture. It is also one of those spots frequented by celebs, artists of renown and writers.

The village is tiny and is characterized by brightly-colored houses.

This beautiful village left e completely spell bound. Why?

Let the images do the talking.

dsc_2563

When you enter Portofino taking a boat, this is the first sight that welcomes you

dsc_2571

I am standing at The “Piazzetta,” which is the meeting-up point

dsc_2638

My climb towards the famous Brown Castle (Castello Brown) the view from the path

dsc_2609

Brown Castle (Castello Brown) gives to best view to take pictures of the coloured houses