ME: Mom, I have decided I want to explore this part of the world while I have the chance to do so. Don’t know if I would EVER get an opportunity like this again. And so, I have decided to go backpacking. To rough it up a bit and to see the world from a completely different angle.

MOM: Whattt….But beta(means ‘my child’ in Hindi), how will you ever survive staying in the REFUGEE CAMPS….”

Huh!!!!! lol 😉

THIS was exactly the conversation I had with my mother and I was so amused with her adorable reaction, that I had decided then and there to write a blog dedicated to her innocence and naivety(Mom if you are reading this, please don’t kill me).

But let’s be honest. While backpacking is rapidly becoming a popular way to travel around the world,there are still a lot of inhibitions, insecurities and doubts prevalent in the minds of those who have never attempted to do one themselves.

As it is rightly said: It always seems IMPOSSIBLE, till it is actually DONE.

While I have traveled quite a bit, and that includes to both the majorly developed countries as well as to the ‘not so developed’ ones, but the experience of being a ‘Solo backpacker’ still remains at the top of my bucket list. Until NOW….

The idea actually was given to me by my husband on one of those days, when I was as usual getting restless on where to travel next. He looked up from the screen of his precious laptop and said- “Honey, you always wanted to do a back packing trip to some exotic place, right? Earlier when you were in India, you had the biggest worry of not getting enough leaves from your job to manage a decently long trip. But, what stops you know?”

That got me thinking. He was right. I always used to tell myself that I will travel like crazy when I don’t have a job to bog me down. I would do this, and do that, and go here and see the wonders of the world.

And now, when I was here in one of the most beautiful parts of the world without a job to worry about; what was I doing?? Absolutely NOTHING. I mean sure, I travel all weekends to a new city and try exploring it to the fullest. But I ask myself- Is it enough? 2 years down the line, if and when I am back in the corporate world, sitting on my desk and staring at my computer, am I going to be happy with how I made use of all the ‘free time‘ I had???

That self talk was all that I needed to get the action started. After that all I can remember doing is- research, research and more research. I felt the happiest I had been and knew that I was spending hours doing something I loved. I was using my energies to get a final plan ready, which if all went well could end up being the HIGHLIGHT of my whole life.
The spark had been lit, and now it was spreading wild like a forest fire.

While I will cover the steps, kind of research, type of planning etc involved in a backpack trip in another blog; in this blog I would like to cover the feelings and the sentiments that one can expect when the date for the trip is coming close. What reactions can one expect from the near and the dear ones and finally how to manage all the butterflies fluttering around in your stomach.

To travel is to take a journey into
        -Danny Kaye
In the beginning when all this was new, and ‘solo backpacking’ was just a dream I wanted to pursue, it was exhilarating. Slowly over the months, as I worked hard on ensuring that the dream becomes a reality; I realized that it cannot be one of those challenges I put in front of myself and then very conveniently back off at the last minute. This was something I had to do for myself.
I truly believe that while the world and the people in it have a lot of opinions and advice to give; but in the end, one has to follow the heart. The mind will only absorb what it wants to.
And so, if heart in heart you are freaking out yourself and are unsure, then all you will hear would be the words of the people talking you out of following your dream. All you will understand and take away from that article/personal blog of another backpacker that you read online,would be the negatives and the reasons on why you should not go ahead with the plan.
Because of your inhibitions, you will miss the part where the backpacker mentions that this was a trip he/she will never ever forget. You will miss the part where they talk about meeting people, seeing mind blowing sights and being a part of a new culture which would not have been possible if they had not taken the bold step to JUST DO IT.
By the time one reaches their late 20’s, they more or less know what makes them happy and keeps them motivated. If traveling is one of those things, then don’t think twice.
If you hear about safety issues, then yes one has to look after oneself. Has to be extra careful, has to keep eyes open ALL the freakin’ time. But, this would be the case even back in your country. Safety can never be taken for granted.
Thus, when the loved ones give you advice of how to keep safe, listen to them. Sure. These might be things that you already know, but what you don’t understand is that you are making the loved one feel a little more comfortable about you going out in the world on your own. So just smile and hear all that they have to say.
I consider myself extremely lucky. Not only are all my loved ones aware of how passionate I am about traveling, but they are also very supportive about it. This is just the extra boost you need whenever you have that one second of doubt in your mind on whether you can do it.
I spend half my time, in reading about the places I am about to visit- do’s and don’ts, what not to miss, things to do etc ,and, the other half in reading personal experiences of people just like me, who took the plunge and decided to travel alone.
With an open mind, a strong and confident approach and the thrill to explore the unexplored; trust me when I say- Nothing can stop the mind, body and soul from achieving the impossible.
So stop doubting yourself, and start preparing for one hell of a DATE WITH YOURSELF.

When the heart BELIEVES,
The mind ACHIEVES.
That is all from my side. If you have experiences to share on what you went through when about to leave for your first backpack trip, then do share with us. Would love to hear them.
Keep reading for more of my blogs on travel.
Till then,Chao!
Hasta Luego!

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