Elita Almeida quit her 9 to 6 job for her passion to travel and write about it. She has been exploring India since two years. In this interview she shares her experience about travelling solo...
When and how did you become a traveler?
Travel chose me though I'd like to think it happened the other way around. I happen to be born to parents who love to travel. Road Trips have been the norm within my family so I think it was a natural progression for me to begin venturing on my own at some point. And that would be 2012.
Which was your first trip? What was your inspiration?
My first trip was to the Trasi beach along the Konkan coast in Karnataka. I had annual leaves that would lapse unless I planned things out well (and in advance). As it turned out planning out with friends wasn't as easy as I'd thought it would be. So the only option I seemed to have before me was to plan my own trip. That's how I had my first solo travel experience.
Tell us about your memorable moments..
As cliched as it sounds every trip has come with a whole bunch of memories. Looking back at Trasi, it's been my only experience till date where I have had an entire beach all to myself (with the bare exception of the fisher folk for company in the mornings and evenings). Walking around the Harappan civilization site of Dholavira near the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat was surreal because it infused life into the history text book pages I recalled from school. Witnessing fireflies light up the entire night sky in a small village called Purushwadi in Maharashtra while living with the locals is an experience I recommend to everyone (after all once wasn't enough for me in 2011 so I went a second time in 2014)
Your favourite place in India? why?
My favourite place in India would have to be Ladakh because it's a place that has inspired me to travel and blog much more religiously. Since then I have reduced intervals between my travels as well as between my blog posts. It wasn't only the longer travels that would end up on my blog. Even a day's trip - like one to the Sula Vineyards towards the end of 2014 ended up as a blog post. Ladakh has also been the watershed moment of my life that made me realise how much inspiration I find when I'm travelling. It is for these reasons beyond the fact that Ladakh has a very beautiful landscape and the people are among the most warmest and hospitable ones I have encountered on the road.
Any place in India which you did not like to visit again? why?
I am biased towards cities - in that I do not prefer them over smaller towns or even villages in India. This is also because increasingly all cities are acquiring a homogeneous culture and one can hardly distinguish between them any more. As strange as it may sound, I begin to get a little restless if I am in the city for too long. I connect with my environment only once away from it.
Did you feel safe on Indian roads?
Safety is a state of mind. And travel - whether solo or in groups, whether female or male - demands that one is alert to one's surroundings at all times. The same holds true even on Indian roads (or any mode of transport in India). When I am not comfortable (i.e. my safety is of concern to me) I avoid overnight journeys when I'm alone.
What steps do you take to make sure you stay safe while on the road?
I try and make sure my bookings have been undertaken through a reliable source. If I am not sure, I inquire with others who may have traveled that route before. Once on the road, I strike a conversation with the conductor and the driver in addition to my co-passengers when travelling by road. It helps me relax in case I am feeling anxious about my journey. People have been very receptive and warm in my experience so far. I also keep family and friends in the loop on my whereabouts, the route, expected duration of the journey etc.
Till today how many countries you have visited? which was your favourite country, place?
I've been very keen on seeing and experiencing as many places and cultures within India before setting foot outside of it. That being said, there's been only one non-Indian destination that I have been to - Bhutan. Bhutan as a country amazes me simply by virtue of how stark it is in contrast to India given that we share the border. Be it the pace of life or the mannerisms of the people there one feels immediately drawn towards it because of its simplicity
What is the biggest thing you have learned about yourself while travelling solo?
I've learned how to surprise myself if I push myself out of my comfort zone. And I continue to learn and unravel things about myself on the go...
Any plan about your next tour
Not really -- as long as I keep moving
Her Blog http://nomadicthunker.blogspot.in/ Follow