I was finally planning a solo vacation. Yes, you heard right. Solo vacation! This is not because I needed time off from work or that my husband was being obnoxious. My only reason for this getaway was because I am a huge champion of the idea of solo travel for women and badly needed to kickback and embark on my own.
Of late, the buzz about solo travel for women has been doing the rounds in women’s groups. The women that went, go or plan for one call it a matter of self-love, as opposed to, they say, the shackles of duty towards family and children. It stands for independence, they say. They pity the ones who cannot think of taking a flight alone. They look down upon the ones who do not think the same way.
Well, they got me!
I Am Finally A Woman Traveling Solo
I packed my suitcase and briefed the household help, the nanny and the security guards about what was to be taken care of in my absence. I ordered my sets of new cosmetics for my summer skincare routine and new beach towels.
Yup, you guessed it! I was going off to the beach! I also ordered new children’s books, toys and night-lights, so that my daughter wouldn’t miss me much. Even though I knew that those things wouldn’t help one bit.
For my husband, I stocked books I thought he’d love to read while I was away. Movies he could watch by himself and movies that he and our daughter could watch together.
And then, the day arrived when as a solo mature woman, it was time for me to go on my trip.
The day arrives
The cab had arrived and stood at my door. I was already humming — up, up and away! My daughter was sleeping at the time. My husband was at the door, hugging me goodbye hug. “Hold me like you’d never let me go!”, I whispered.
“Errr, say…I…?” I ask.
“Yes?” He asks.
“Say…umm, what would the cancellation charges be, if…” I fumbled. I did not know what I was saying.
“Ah.” He smiled.
“Just wondering, you know!”
“It doesn’t matter!” He was laughing now. Pulling my suitcase back into the foyer from the elevator lobby.
“I still can’t make up my mind, you know!”
The cab driver called again. I picked it up, almost as if he were chasing me. “I’m sorry, Steve, I’m gonna have to cancel,” I tell him.
The person that walked back into the flat from the elevator lobby, I realized, was not the same person who was leaving a few minutes ago. No, really, she was not deserving to be a part of the solo travel women club but weirdly, she was more than okay with that. This person who walks in now is older and wiser. Calmer. More acquainted with herself. More knowing already!
Related Reading: How couple-dynamics have changed across generations, for the better
Solo traveling for women is not everything
And this is what she wonders… Do we really think a flight away from our everyday regular world makes for an escape? Mountain trekking is wonderful, and it needs no debate or defense for us to justify it. But now after this little self-reflective experience, I know myself slightly better than before.
So now, when I see it as a showcase of our worthiness and a flag hoisting celebration of individuality, I see in it a denial. If I didn’t like being a mother, would 7 days away with girlfriends up in the mountains trekking, really be an answer to any question I might be trying to address?
Could a few days watching beautiful sunrises, eclipse the sheer pain of missing my child, imagining her outstretched hands looking for me on the barren part of the bed in her sleep? Would not going on a solo trip make me less reformed, less individual, less equal? Will my wanting to share the pleasure of the setting sun by the sea waves with my family make me less of a strong woman? Are shackles, confinements and duties so easy to define? Is love so easy to disown, irrespective of how you love and how you live your life?
I’m not judging you. Please don’t get me wrong. Judgment is the worst disservice I can do to you. But I ask you to stop and reflect for a moment too. Solo travel for women is great, but don’t turn it into some kind of an agenda.
Do you seriously think your freedom lies in an escape away from routine, away from certain people? Perhaps it is time to take a deeper and harder look. A seaside trip or a spa date, a tattoo or a coffee chat, a shopping expedition… they each have their own places in life, quite different from flagship projects of individual reincarnation, and if you do not find them, they will find you.
Until then, happy vacations!
As for me, I’d rather stay home! Solo traveling for women might not be for me.
Not necessarily, no. Taking a trip by yourself can be an incredible experience. Exploring new streets, trying new foods, being an independent woman and putting yourself out there can be tough to do all by yourself. However there is an emerging culture of solo travel for women to help them be more in touch with themselves.
Yes, they sure can be. A man or woman traveling solo can learn a lot about a new place and also themselves in the process. If you have the time and courage, you should try it.