The Not-so-curious Case of the Single Woman Traveler     

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14 Responses

  1. absolutely love this. 🙂

  2. thank you Larika 🙂

  3. Paras Gudka says:

    Boy, I do not want to bump into you on my solo travels! 😛 Enjoyed the sarcasm though.

    Now imagine the horror on people’s faces if apart from being a solo female traveller you also added ‘motorcyclist’ to that equation. That one is the most fun to read about.

    • haha you needn’t be afraid of running into me 🙂 glad you enjoyed reading. And i did use a quadbike for a bit 🙂

      • Paras says:

        Nice try, Namita, but a quad bike doesn’t count. I’m talking hardcore biker chicks with leather jackets, gloves, boots, tattoos, gang membership, the works. 😛

        By the way, if you think it’s only solo female travellers who get the “It’s very brave of you” line from curious locals/travellers, think again. In 2005, I did a solo trip to Sri Lanka to celebrate my 25th birthday and ended up bumping into 3 Dutch girls at the airport. In the conversation that ensued, it became known that they were part of a larger group of 10 girls doing the trip to celebrate a friendship of many years while I was there all on my own with no fixed plans. Guess how they reacted? “It’s very brave of you to be travelling alone…” Coming from a culture where women are a lot more independent and adventurous than here in India and that too said to a grown man who had just landed from SL’s nearest South East Asian neighbour and was completely capable of taking care of himself in spite of the language barrier, it’s strange, no? I guess travelling alone isn’t really commonplace in most cultures, that’s why the look of incredulity on their faces.

        Forget that, even travelling with friends isn’t something that many Indian parents are comfortable with. I was going to Goa with my college buddies in 2006 and my then 25 year-old Bombay-dwelling guy friend’s mother implored me to take care of him during the trip as he had never been away from home without family. Remembering that scene makes me laugh even today. 😀 It just proves that travellers are a special breed of people (i.e. those able to take off by themselves without needing company) and that we should expect the unexpected when on the road. I’ll definitely be practising versions of “you’re so brave to be travelling alone” to try on you if we ever meet on our solo adventures. *gasps for air*

        • Badass lies within, Paras. Not in bikes, leather jackets, gloves and tattoos. And being an Indian woman who grew up in India is no less badass than being ‘a hardcore biker chick’ as you put it, from all that I’ve known as an Indian woman. Also, I have to inform you, in the kindest way with all due respect for being a reader here, the word ‘chick’ in reference to women is highly diminishing and fundamentally sexist. Until the bizarre day when even men everywhere will be likened to fragile clueless poultry, in equal measure, I hope we can kindly refrain from the use of that word in reference to women. I’m pretty sure you didn’t mean to be sexist, and it may seem harmless and inconsequential in itself, but all the little things do add up in the big picture. Thank you.

  4. Not sure if its an act of bravery, but I will take the compliment. Thank you, Namita! 😉 Keen to do a solo trip as being with a fellow traveler usually puts me in a reactive state – adjusting and planning around others questions, desires and doing that bit extra to make everyone included. I feel that traveling alone will allow me to be more pure, more self aware in many ways… Almost like meditating I think if I can ‘just be’ while traveling. And its always good to disturb the status quo, and see peoples reactions 🙂
    Enjoyed reading your post! Cheers!

    • Haha you’re welcome Arjun 🙂 And yes travelling alone does make you more self-aware as you’re all you’ve got and you get to really know and be yourself minus even your own preconceptions of you. Here’s to more travel and disturbing the status quo and enjoying people’s reactions! Cheers 🙂

  5. Loved this post! I’ve linked this on my blog. Keep up the great writing and enjoy your travels!

  6. Sandra says:

    haha.. I still love reading your adventures as you travel on, Namita! If you wouldn´t have travelled alone last summer, I wouldn´t have had the chance to share a house with you and my picture of Indian women would be pretty short sighted.. Travelling alone sounds crazy to people that never had the experience of being alone, to be enough for themselves, so they don´t believe in their abilities to make friends within hours.. I think most people never question the friendships they have, how these connections would look like if they leave for a while or get to spend 24/7 with that friend for weeks or months.. more concerned about the neighbors etc. than their own dreams and needs.. when someone leaves that pattern they get scared for themselves and project it.. because they never dared to even think about their purpose of life deeply. Well, anyway, I m very happy that you spread so much happiness and enrich the lives of lucky people whom meet you <3

    • Thank you so much Sandra! Glad we met and thanks to both our solo travels for that! You’re definitely one of the most interesting people I’ve met on my travels. I love the idea of “being enough for ourselves” and the way our travels teach us that 🙂 Glad you enjoyed reading and see you someday ..maybe the coming year !

  1. August 20, 2016

    […] just over-hyped caricatures of themselves? What if I get robbed/raped/mugged/all-of-the-above as a lone woman exploring a big bad world? Was I running away from something? What was my deep-down purpose of travel (hoping I had […]

  2. October 5, 2016

    […] Namita Kulkarni: It would be definitely Bali. There isn’t a 100% safety guarantee anywhere so you might as well begin somewhere. And sure it’s a big bad world, but that’s as true in your own backyard as anywhere else. And speaking from my own experience, if you’ve grown up in India, you already have a black belt in badassery by shutting down chauvinism, patriarchy, and misogyny. Having retained your sanity through it all, going solo shouldn’t be difficult. I wrote an entire blog post addressing this so do read it here. […]

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