Mahima shares her experiences of travelling solo after her marriage. She also discusses her fears and demons, in the regular column, exclusively in Different Truths.
We met at a formal interaction during the early winters of 2004 over a cup of coffee at a media-management learning seminar. We both were students then.
Later, we met again, coincidently, at a common place of work. And connected with common hobbies: reading fiction, writing poetry, being a foodie-to-the-core…and yes, of course, travelling to explore hidden gems of India.
In 2012, we realised our love was way-beyond these common interests. And we decided to tie the knot against all odds and despite belonging to opposite faiths, since our faith in ourselves and our love, made us a 36-guna (attributes) match!
Our first honeymoon was in Goa – he calls every trip a honeymoon. After that, we went for two honeymoons every year, to the lesser known parts of India.
Before marriage, every time he would leave to travel for work or pleasure, my heart would fall into a pit. I had my own fears then, of not meeting him again, of being taken away by his people so that he cannot marry me or such others…perhaps. Yes, the country was not so much Modi-fied then, we have a law that allows inter-faith marriages. Still, our society had laid deep-seated fears inside our timid hearts.
After our marriage, in 2012, the need to ‘settle down financially’ as the man of the house started consuming his time, more and more. Not driven by the society but the need-of-the-hour, since the rebels don’t get a roof from the family as a gift in marriage (read sarcasm).
While I was working in a high-voltage news environment, where I was commanding four to five live news shows a day, he was doing a similar job, but in a much-relaxed zone. And thus began my craving for more travel to relaxing my stressed neurons. But he did not have the desired time.
And then I came face-to-face with my fear to not travel solo. He questioned me. As a husband. As a friend. As a philosopher. As a guide. I had different answers to each. And he reached one common conclusion. I had to overcome my fears.
As far as I know, my single-parent mother, who is fiercely independent, has always been a solo traveller. My younger sister, who is a country head of marketing at a top corporate, has been a solo traveler right after college and that too an international one. So what was holding me back?
“Your own demons, you own excuses,” pat came his reply. “What will you do, if one day I am not there, forever?” His question shook my persona – which was more like a coconut then.
It was 2015. We had been married for three years. And I was seeing a different side of him, a protective one, yet of a man who was uncannily an extension of my mother, when it came to raising a woman without fears!
Was I blessed? Yes, indeed I was, considering the fact that women at my in-laws’ side still need permission to venture out to even buy household goods; are still bound by traditions that need a man by her side in everything they do.
And here my man was pushing me out of the nest for a flight of my own! But more than that he was pushing me to be an extension of my mother rather than being her shadow. Mom reminded me how I had never been afraid taking a trip with my fellow NCC cadets. So why now? I had no answer, but only a resolve to prove myself, to kill my own demons, to excel in a filed un-known.
It was 2015 when I turned solo traveller. You might laugh if I tell you my first trip was to explore the outskirts of my hometown Jaipur. But you will surely be impressed if I tell you I have discovered two places that will soon be the first-ever-link on Google. Oh yes, I have started penning travelogues as well.
In short, since 2015 there has been no looking back. We have overcome external cultural biases, lived apart, lived together, explored the lesser known, made new friends, expanded our horizons and yet there is so much more to do.
We do travel together twice a year, but my ‘solo travels’ are only rising. And I wish to motivate more and more women travellers to come out of their shells and experience the joy I feel.
And this applies to a single-woman parent as well. I have recently come in touch with a few who often drop me queries regarding travelling to a place alone with their daughters/kids. The woman who was a timid traveller is now guiding others. A sense of pride. A sense of achievement. A sense of gratitude to the two most important people in my life who motivated me to achieve it.
Our anniversary is just a month away. We are not planning a hike since he is very busy. I have no complaints. Rather, I already have a travel plan ready; a travelogue is in the pipeline after exploring a hidden gem of India!
So will you join my zest to travel solo? If yes, do share your experience in the comments column. Also if you have any queries, feel free to drop a word in the comments. I will answer each one personally.
I leave you with an extract from one of my poems that I recently penned during a solo trip:
We are those fragile-looking blossoms,
That opens up in the wildest storm,
And flourish amid the thickest snow,
Because we are the women…Women of Courage.
Our courage doesn’t always roar,
But it always makes us soar,
So sky is our limit,
And flight starts from Horizon,
Coz we are Women
The Women of Courage!
Photos by the author
#SoloTraveller #WomenOfCourage #SingleParent #FightingDemons #Travelogue #FlameOnIce #DifferentTruths