It was easy… is the one thing that keeps coming back to my mind, thinking of my first solo trip. It was like a breeze, with days flowing one after the other. And just like that, it was over! I did prepare myself for a lot of ‘me-time’, but through the trip I ended up meeting people who found their way to me.
The highlight of course was the island exploration trip in Palawan - when I was reporting in for the trip, the lady at the counter asked if I was alone and gave me a curious look. I asked if there were other solo travelers, and she scrambled through all her papers for the longest time and said, ‘don’t worry, there is M also’. 2 out of 22 - you do the math! But from the moment I walked into the pre-briefing room and squeezed in between R and W, and one person took a dig at my vegetarianism, I knew it was going to be ok. And it turned out to be fabulous – over the next 5 days, I’d like to think we all discovered a little bit about each other, swapping travel and life stories, had some in-depth discussions on love, life and such matters with a few, and sang karaoke like no one was listening (well, no one was listening in fact. We were in a remote island with a handful of houses and using an age old TV-karaoke set up at one of the villager’s homes). It was the best and has made me have a re-think that ‘group’ trips, which I am usually not a fan of, may not be bad after all.
On the other hand, there weren’t major earth-shattering revelations or self-discovery moments. But as always, I love hearing other people’s stories and their views on life and what they want out of it. And of course, fellow travelers want to know more about India, and there were good many debates on the country and for myself, if I was / should be doing more. All this leading to a many introspective moments.
I probably packed in a lot less in the itinerary than I would have if I traveled with someone I think. I gave myself more time so I could figure things out as I cruised along, and sometimes that means delays and change of plans too. (All of which, could be entirely avoided if the trip was fully pre-planned, but where is the fun in that?). And sometimes, I did get a bit lazy too… But hey, the feeling that there is nothing that is a ‘must-do’ is liberating.
All in all, I do realize, it may not always be this easy, but I couldn’t have asked for a better start.
PS: I did post from time to time on FB some of my reflections, so some speak-easy style posts on their way!
PS2: And yes, Palawan definitely has some crazy beautiful beaches!!! some photo highlights here...
The many islands we passed over the course of 5 days, Palawan
One of the beaches we stopped at...
Divers caught in action
Bohol's Chocolate hills...
The church at Loboc, which was my base in the island of Bohol