6 feisty women who will inspire you to travel solo this yearPrateeksha Nayak
Your bags are packed and you are ready to leave for the girls trip you have been planning for years. Just as you pick your phone up to update a status on Facebook to let the world know, it rings. It happens to be the call we all dread before a trip. Your friend has ditched the plan. Now, this leaves you with two options: you can fret and fume and spend your holiday watching movies or now, Netflix,or pick up those bags and travel anyway, all by yourself!
With people opening their homes to tourists in offbeat destinations, travel portals offering lucrative discounts, and travel-inspired movies becoming blockbusters, travel was definitely one of the buzzwords of 2015.
What was particularly interesting to note was the different types of people who travelled. Apart from the usual families, honeymooners and gangs of friends, it was also the year that saw great gusto for solo travel.
Says Prisiliya Madan, cyclist and solo traveller, “I never felt alone or unsafe on the road. People used to come up to me and were eager to know about my journey, and many a time they persuaded me to visit their homes and motivate their women.”
Gone are the days when a woman travelling alone was a rarity. According to HolidayIQ’s Travel Trend Forecast 2016, in recent years, the number of trips planned by women travellers is increasing. Solo women travel is increasing and so are group, family and couple trips planned by women.
Here’s a list of six feisty women, who, through their tales and experiences, will inspire you to pick up that backpack lying in a forgotten corner of your wardrobe and go discover the world!
1) Gauri Jayaram
Popularly known as the woman who sold her Honda City to buy a bicycle, Gauri is the Founder of Active Holiday Company, which is an international adventure tour company that specialises in guided and self-guided adventure holidays. At one point in her life Gauri was not sure if she was bored of her job or was in the midst of a mid-life crisis, where she felt she had nothing left to accomplish. She started looking outside her work and home to stay inspired and started planning her holidays around marathon races.
Gauri’s travel mantra: “It will take me some place or I will take it somewhere!”
2) Rutavi Mehta
Rutavi heads Mumbai Travel Massive and has previously donned several hats of a hotelier, sales and marketing executive, social media strategist and Internet marketer. But if there was one thing that has been a constant, it was her love and passion for travelling. A popular travel blogger, she has been a part of various projects with well-known brands and groups like Royal Enfield, The Bikerni, Kerala Blog Express and the Everest Challenge, which is aired on NDTV Goodtimes.
Rutavi’s travel mantra: “You take so much from every destination, why not give something back?
3) Swati Jain
Swati Jain is a freelance PR consultant and travel blogger who quit a mainstream job to travel.
“I believe one of the main reasons we opt to travel solo is to challenge ourselves, to see how far we can expand, to try something different, which is out of our comfort zone,” she says on her decision to travel solo. Swati’s nomadic life has taken her to the northern, western and southern parts of India where she has covered about 20 States and two union territories in a short span of 18 months. She has been to remote places like Zanskar Valley in Ladakh and roamed the streets of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar solo.
Swati’s travel mantra: “The world is a better place and it needs to be explored in the best way. There is beauty, magnificence, splendour and all I want today isto be a part of it.”
4) Prisiliya Madan
Prisiliya Madan, a 22-year-old student of Masters in Computer Sciences at a city college in Mumbai, set out on her bicycle from Panvel, 50 km from Mumbai, to Kanyakumari, without any itinerary. All she had in mind were distances, and the gradients of roads etched in her mind, along with a list of people on the way who could help. She spent 18 nights during her 1,800-km pedalling journey not at hotels, but at homes of people, most of whom she was meeting for the first time. During the 19 days, which took her through some lonely stretches of the Western Ghats, she never faced any kind of threat though she was riding alone,
Prisiliya’s travel mantra: “It was going to be ‘a journey in self-discovery for pride’.”She wanted to illustrate the need for young girls like her and women to get out of the confines of homes
5) Parvinder Chawla
Parvinder Chawla was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when she was 15. A young girl who played sports, and was a certified Kathak dancer was bogged down by her wheelchair. She couldn’t walk any more, but her dreams stayed alive. Today, at 46, the free-spirited woman travels across the world alone in her wheelchair. The solo sojourner has travelled across 11 countries, including the USA, Jakarta, Bali, among other places.
Parvinder’s travel mantra: “I plan to work towards representing the needs of the physically disabled and gain the government’s attention to address these requirements.
6) Pintz Gujjar
A mother, biker and an inspiration to many, Pintz Gujjar‘s first expedition covered the coastline of Gujarat, one of the longest in India, in 2011. Dubbed The Gujarat Coastal Marine Pollution Awareness Bike Ride, it covered 1,650 km, from Lakhpat in Kutch to Umbergaon near Mumbai.In 2005, she covered a solo trek to the Uttarkhand Valley of Flowers in West Himalaya, too, and another to Har-Ki-Dun, in the Garhwal Himalayas. She also rode with the Bikerni, India’s first official female bikers’ association. Her expedition has also earned a place in the Limca Book of Records.
Pintz’s travel mantra: “I truly believe age is no bar and we are all entitled to our right to happiness whenever we find it.”
So, where are you headed? Do share your travel experiences with us!
Stand up for yourself and the world will stand with you – Life lessons from Sunny Leone
How Dream catcher Siddhartha Joshi is scripting a story in pictures