According to me, solo travel is empowering because we face a lot of challenges, from which we learn a lot. Challenges like safety concern, being a girl which is a very big challenge while traveling solo. So, I have managed it like I earlier explained, pre-inform to family friends, make review based bookings, research places, and keep pepper spray etc things with you.
Retro Kolkata : First of all, thanks a lot for accepting our invitation for an interview. it’s a great pleasure to have you as our Guest. Let’s start from the first question… Let's jump into the past. How did you get started with traveling? What inspired you to start solo travelling?
Surya : I have been travelling from my college days, as I wanted to travel and explore every place, culture, people and their stories from my childhood. So, in college days I got little freedom from my family and earned some money through tuitions etc ; Therefore, I got an opportunity to execute my passion and then I started. India is a country where women are not exactly safe according to media and news and daily incidents. So, I thought why not explore this fear and then I started solo travel.
Retro Kolkata : Have your family and friends always supported you? How do you handle it when perhaps some people close to you don't agree with your decision to travel?
Surya : I am a small town girl whose parents never accept these things and never allow for solo travel etc. So, I have handled a lot, I have convinced my parents, showed my journey and also proved to them that now I am successful in what I want to do.
Retro Kolkata : What are some of your favourite places you’ve visited?
Surya : I have explored India mostly and I like all the places in India because every place has its own charm. But yeah! I love the monsoon in Maharashtra, Snow & Autumn in Kashmir, spirituality and peace in Banaras.
Retro Kolkata : How do you stay safe when you travel alone? Do you have particular safety tips that you stand by?
Surya : Whenever I travel solo, I make sure of a few things for safety like informing family and friends about the trip and location ahead of time, research everything about the location, choosing a place to stay based on reviews etc. These are a few certain points which are very important for traveling solo.
Retro Kolkata : When you first travelled solo, was it what you expected?
Surya : Not exactly, it was totally different from expectations and the feeling was totally amazing as I feel being independent, how to meet new people, adventure etc.
Retro Kolkata : People often talk about solo travel being empowering. But what are the challenges and how do you manage them?
Surya : According to me, solo travel is empowering because we face a lot of challenges, from which we learn a lot. Challenges like safety concern, being a girl which is a very big challenge while traveling solo. So, I have managed it like I earlier explained, pre-inform to family friends, make review based bookings, research places, and keep pepper spray etc things with you.
Retro Kolkata : What destination(s) would you recommend to first-time solo travellers?
Surya : I will recommend Kashmir, South India etc.
Retro Kolkata : What are the challenges you faced as a solo woman traveller?
Surya : Challenges like safety concern being a girl which is a very big challenge while traveling solo. So, I have managed it like I earlier explained pre-inform to family friends, review based bookings, research places, and keep paper spray etc things with you.
Retro Kolkata : Tell us about one of your most memorable adventures, and the impact it had on you.
Surya : It was my Jaisalmer trip, where I went for new year camping in sand dunes and there were no Indian tourists , I met only foreigners and it was like not feeling safe in my country. That was full of adventure and that day I realised a lot of things and prepared myself for more adventure and solo travel learnings.
Retro Kolkata : What was the best experience you had travelling solo?
Surya : The same experience of Jaisalmer also includes some little experiences like meeting local people, staying with them etc.
Retro Kolkata : How has travel changed who you are?
Surya : Travel changed me a lot, like I became more independent, fearless, adventurous, learned a lot of new things, helping people is my first priority.
Retro Kolkata : Which regions in India would you recommend for more seasoned travellers?
Surya : Kashmir, Nagaland , Meghalaya, Ladakh
Retro Kolkata : What advice would you like to pass on to women traveling on their own in India?
Surya : The only advice I will pass that “You can do it”. Just make sure your safety and just do it girls.
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