How does it feel when you travel alone? I didnt knew it till this weekend. I planned a trip to Uncle Ho city with my roomie. I didnt really have any information about the city nor the country that I am going to visit. I was totally dependant on my roomie as he had some friends there. Last before the day we were supposed to travel he postponed the trip. As this was not the first time that this happened, I thought I shouldnt depend on anybody and took a bold plunge into the unknown world of solo travelling. When I planned the trip I assumed that I would be alone and took some tips from my friend who already visited the place. I thought it would be lots of hard work and pain to actually travel lonely. But once I reached there I felt I was wrong on all counts. I found out that traveling solo is very rewarding. There is a treasury of companionship out there.
On my second day in Uncle Ho city, I met a group of people who were from different countries with diversified cultures. They were all hardcore solo travellers. I learned a lot about travelling from them. I was there with no knowledge about the place. They were all so well prepared that I was totally shocked to see their knowledge abou the place and the surroundings. They gave me lot of tips about travelling.
The group was very interesting. There was a guy who quit his job and have been travelling for the past 1 and half year. Another guy was just a kid and was a high school passed out. He was about to go to University next year. One of the girl was a social worker from Holland. Infact she helped me bargaining the lonely planet vietnam book for me. She was in India for 6 months where she learned bargaining. There were over all 5 singaporeans, 2 Malaysians, 1 from USA, 1 from Holland, 1 from London, 1 from Germany and 1 from India and thats me.
We all shared our experiences in the previous tours and discussed about the next tours. Also discussed about the different cultures of their countries. Everybody was interested in India also. Similarly there were some real nice incidents that happened between us in the group. We finally had dinner and parted our ways by sharing the facebook IDs.
Some tips I got from them were:
1. Carry a Lonely planet book
2. Always stay in places where more independent travelers stay.
3. Try to Start Smart and a little organised.
4. Avoid Unwanted Attention by doing a flashy dressing.
5. Do Talk To Strangers, that is how you make friends
6. Wine & Dine Yourself
7. Avoid Romantic Destinations
So finally the statement of the day. It is better to BE alone than to wish you WERE alone.