After a long hiatus, we are back with our Wanderer series featuring fellow travellers and their experiences while on the road.
Meet 28-year-old Abhilasha Kale, a banking professional whose beagle Coco is the love of her life. Her hobbies include Indian folk dance, painting and driving. Abhilasha recently discovered the joys of solo travel and hopes to undertake many more solo voyages.
What got you hooked to travelling?
My job has its own perks like travelling to some 5-star destinations for award functions and many other non-monetary incentives. But those were very touristy and short trips. I always wanted to travel solo but never got the courage to go for it. I have never even liked the idea of eating a Pani Puri alone on the streets. So I really wasn’t sure if I would like a solo trip. A trip with myself… just my own company. The only fear I had was to get bored. Once when I questioned a friend about this solo trip idea, he replied, “How can you get bored with yourself?” That changed my mind and I thought of doing a solo trip soon. I luckily had 15 days holiday pending at work and I had to finish that before March end. I had saved those holidays for my wedding which was called off just 45 days before the date. After getting myself out of 4 months of depression, I took a random trip in March. What better way to find your happiness again and set your priorities right. I had heard a lot about Himachal from my friends who had already visited. So started off with my solo trip to Himachal.
This photo was clicked during my way down to Barshaini from Tosh. I decided not to take the cab and instead walk. I followed this local who offered to show me the way. This was my most memorable walk till date.
Which is your favourite travel destination? Why?
I have visited Udaipur, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Bhutan, Meghalaya, Himachal -Kasol, Tosh, Manali, Coorg, Punjab, Goa, Phuket and Phi Phi. Rest all the trips were too short to say that I have been there. Out of all these, my favourites are Bhutan, specially Paro city. If only I could fly in easily and cheap to Paro, I would go again. Next favourite is Meghalaya because of its greenery and tranquillity. I had stayed in homestays in Cherrapunjee forests and I can’t forget that experience ever. I have been a person who loves jungles, forests, trees and monsoons… and hence Meghalaya was a complete package for me.
Which is your least favourite destination? Why?
I am not a fan of mahals, palaces and historical monuments. So Rajasthan is something that I wouldn’t prefer.
This was the first photo that I took as soon as I reached the Manali Zostel. It was cloudy when I reached Old Manali and the weather was an absolute paradise.
Tell us one travel experience that changed your outlook about life
My recent solo trip to Himachal changed me a lot. I had healed enough before the trip but still had regrets, guilt, doubts, dissatisfaction and a lot of self-pity. I had wounds which had almost healed but had scars left behind. When I took this trip, I was already low on confidence due to events taken place in my life. I was a bit reluctant to talk to other solo travellers. But things started changing from the 2nd day of my trip. I started exploring places on my own, consciously smiled and manually made myself realise that it’s okay to travel and roam around all alone and it is not boring. In a few hours, I started liking my own company. This solo trip gave me a lot of time with myself. Most of the times, I had my breakfast and lunch all alone in some cafe… and I relished it. Self-reflection, analysis of daily things and understanding myself… knowing myself and my strengths is all that I could do in this lone time. I started loving my company… I realised I was feeling happier with time. I no more sulked or cribbed… in fact i soaked myself in nature, my own company and all that came my way. I interacted with the locals, fellow travellers.. heard their stories, learnt different lessons from each. At the end of my trip, I found my true self. Self-worth and self-love is what I learnt and discovered. My priorities were set and re-organised. Things around me seemed less complicated, my happiness was the top priority for me. All the daily unwanted things which worried me initially went on a backseat and I had found easy ways to deal with them.
Tell us your must-have packing items
Sunscreen, moisturiser, first aid, small sack since you might wanna leave the bag pack at your hotel or hostel and move around with limited stuff in a small sack. Limited clothes, if possible, 2 different sim cards from different network operators since there could be areas which wouldn’t support a specific network. In this case, the other sim has always helped me. I had travelled to a very cold place like the Himachal for the 1st time and I was lame to underestimate the weather. I was unaware that one can also get tanned or burnt in such weather. I just expected frostbites. Applying enough moisturiser and sunscreen even at such places is important.
Location: Pink Floyd Cafe, Tosh village. Had Lebanese food for brunch. Food was okayish but the view made it special.
Which is your dream travel destination?
Norway or Finland for spotting the Northern lights
Any upcoming travel plans?
If time and budget permits, then a solo trip to Europe covering Amsterdam, Giethoorn in Netherlands, Budapest, Prague. If in India, then its Bir billing, McLeodganj and Dharamkot.
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