Love is in air and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner… What is better than traveling with the one you love?
Far too many people have begun to advocate solo travel. As far as I am concerned it is this western concept and like everything else that we tend to ape from western world, solo travel has caught our fancy too…
But why? Why travel alone? Isn’t it kind of bit lonely?
I travel alone when I have to WORK…as a travel blogger!
Most of my personal trips have been with my partner… My Valentine. Before I met him, I did travel… but I was always little too cautious, a little too worried… And mostly on my own obviously!
Contents Of The Post:
My Five Reasons To TRAVEL Together:
Laugh Gossip Drink:
Imagine laughing alone in a public space… Sounds weird to me.
Almost always during travel there are instances which may make us want to laugh out aloud or surprise us or sometimes even irritate us. When you have a travel partner such episodes become so easy to share…to laugh at, to gossip about, to snigger at or to vent out. With someone by your side, it is easy to be happy over a drink and talk to your heart’s content about everything under the sun.
Whenever I travel with my partner there is no dearth of moments when we laugh ourselves silly over most common things. Since it may not always be proper to laugh out aloud, we simply exchange looks and back in confines of our room we know what we both found funny! Gossip takes on a new meaning when it is between the two of you.
I remember our trip to Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, where our guide (poor chap!) had this strange habit of adding ‘bura mat maniye sahab’ or ‘don’t you mind’ before every small bit of information. The guide took us around the palace complex while we kept restraining ourselves from laughing. At one particular bathing tank, the guide informed us “Bura mat maniye sahab, yahan raja ki hazar raniyan snan karti thi(Don’t you mind sir, it is in this tank that the thousand queens of the king bathed)”. That was the last straw ; we couldn’t hold our laughter anymore. The guide was obviously offended but we had the most hilarious tour!
Look out For Each Other:
When I travel solo, the most common concerns are what if I fall ill or get in some trouble?
I was once travelling to Mumbai with a large suitcase. At some point in night, I suffered a strong flu attack; by the time I got down at Kurla station in morning, I was burning with fever and was hardly able to move. Cell phones were not a common thing then and I had to sit for a long time unattended, unable to call anyone, hungry and feverish at the platform before I gathered up enough courage to board a local train. Nobody around me had enough time at hand in the rush hours to ask whether I needed any help.
Another time when I was traveling with my husband to Modhera, Gujarat, an allergic reaction to pollen seeds of a shrub caused large red itchy welts all over me. The itching and pain were unbearable. But with him around, I could get immediate medical help and recovered soon.
Then once we were in a foreign land driving towards Niagara Falls, our cell phones and power bank conked off. We were stranded, lost and clueless to whom to turn to for a little guidance(nobody stops in America to talk to strangers). It was the company of each other that helped us find a solution to the strange situation.
With cell phones the world has shrunk in the palm and we may seek help at times. But unseen circumstances while travelling to distant places away from the familiarity and comfort of home may sometimes leave you drained and helpless. If however you are with a loved one, tiding over little mishaps is easier. It is good to look out for each other and fall in love with little gestures of each other.
Keep Loneliness At Bay:
How long can you read a book or watch television or connect with friends on social media when travelling solo? For me, the loneliness creeps in slowly when I am done for the day and much aware that friends back home are busy with their routine.
But travelling together ensures loneliness never bogs you down. A meal satiates much more with a companion by your side.
During one of my solo trips for Heritage Run at Ooty, once the walk began, few enthusiastic participants ran ahead, some were slower than me and were left behind. Almost all participants were either with friends or family. Soon when distances began to increase between the runners, I felt lonely many times and wanted to turn back without finishing the run. Except for a few friendly exchanges with fellow runners, I really did not have any companion by my side to talk or motivate. I even had to feel obliged to a fellow runner for taking my picture at the venue!
But when I am travelling with my partner, there is never a dull moment. Even the little disagreements keep the dreadful silence of loneliness miles away.
Hold Hands, Go Adventurous Or Make Love:
Switch off that TV, play board games, take a stroll down the beach, hold hands, snuggle up, trek, ski, go boating or just make love…whatever floats your boat really!
Isn’t solo boring….?
Nature has not made humans as lone rangers like tigers or bears. We are pack animals and our happiness chemicals; the endorphin, dopamine and serotonin depend on touch and feel. Those who insist that they are happy being solo and do not have to cater to someone else’s requirements are fooling just themselves. Who do solo travelers share their joys, discoveries, insecurities, doubts, excitement and successes with?
Me and my husband have had to live separately many times for long periods due to his job as an Indian Air Force officer. Recently we have been living apart since a year now. Believe me, when he comes home, it shows on his face…he sleeps well and eats well. Similarly when I visit him for a few days, I am in more relaxed frame of mind…I feel nothing could trouble me when he is around.
Travelling together and participating in fun and adventurous activities together helps you bond better too with each other.
Know Yourself Better:
So you think you are the most level-headed person there is? You are cool with challenges and stress? You better travel with someone. However if something irks you might end up not travelling with the same person again. But if it is a loved one…your sweetheart may be; chances are both of you will survive the ordeal and learn a great deal about each other….and even if you vent out what you did not like there are chances you would not lose your loving relationship.
Yes, I have been little difficult sometimes when I was too tired after sightseeing the entire day. I have snapped on my husband at times when I have felt exhausted travelling through the day in harsh sun. I know this and when I travel with others I am careful to not let my exhaustion become a burden on friends and acquaintances. But my guard is down with my partner who also at times shows irritation if some thing goes beyond our control.
But the thing is that we now know what works and what doesn’t for each of us and when we are out along with others we take care our reaction doesn’t irritate others.
Five Destinations That I Feel Are Perfect For A Together Time:
Rich in history, this town bathed in white is a must visit destination. The lake palaces are what the ultimate romantic dreams are made of. A boat ride on different lakes itself gives together time a new definition.
We stayed just for a day at Udaipur and I was smitten even though I could not visit all of it. I definitely plan to go again to the beautiful city which is among the top royal and exotic destinations in the world.
It seems ages ago that I went to Gulmarg. I went there twice in two different seasons and the rolling green is as captivating as the snow-covered landscape. It makes you fall in love again and again.
Make a snowman, walk in knee-deep snow, ski, ride in a gondola or cozy up in front of a fire.
With its architecture reminding of British era, Shillong is a quaint little town in Meghalaya. It is blessed with many natural trails, waterfalls, caves and living root bridges. The town is laid back and makes for a cozy place to stroll. Many homes offer sit-outs for home-made momos, soups and instant noodles. Its the kind of place which makes you feel like a teenager and offers adventures in its nearby forests too.
This is another of my favorite place. Botanical gardens among the bluish hills, a slight nippy weather, a UNESCO Heritage toy train, wood-fired pizza joints(that are way better than Pizza Hut or Domino’s) and miles to walk if you so wish….I could stay there for long!! What else do you need to spend time with your one love?
HAVELOCK ISLAND, ANDAMANS:
Though I am not much of a swimmer but Andaman islands charm you and I learnt to snorkel with help of my partner who held my hand all the time as I swam. It was adorable.
While I am at it and advocating a couple travel, I might as well list out a few fun activities which i enjoyed thoroughly and so might you.
Five Fun And Adventure Activities To Bond Better:
Snorkel or Scuba dive
Snorkel together or scuba dive or a walk in the belly of sea with your loved one(and a trained guide if you have never done that before). Adventures will bring out the caring side of both of you.
I was little afraid the first time I snorkeled in Andaman islands but my husband kept holding my hand. He realized that I was scared and every time he felt me tighten up he would distract me to look at something else and I could swim easily.
Go float in air in a chute….the view from above wrapped in arms of your love is fun indeed.
When we went to Diu on a holiday, we had had a lovers’ spat going on. Nagoa beach at Diu is popular water sports destination. We signed up for couple parasailing over the sea. Strapped together and soaring up in the sky the fight just evaporated. We had the most amazing time in a parachute floating in air.
For an adventurous outing there is nothing like trekking together. You can race up and compete with each other…and later tease if you outrun and win!
I end up being teased however…but its fun. I get to fake annoyance and get pampered. What is there to complain in vacationing together?
Ski or ride a sledge or snowmobile in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh where facilities for these snow sports are available. I haven’t ridden a snowmobile but have seen couples having a gala time. I instead walked in deep snow along with husband and enjoyed every fall in that soft snow. And if adventure does not lure you, you can always roll in snow with your sweetheart and enjoy a warm cuppa later snuggled together.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
I haven’t done a couple only balloon ride but why not? Agra the city which epitomizes love in the Taj Mahal has hot air balloon rides. You can view the Taj from air and refresh your vows to each other(don’t promise to make another Taj Mahal though unless you are a king or queen). Diu beaches also cater for balloon rides.