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Mon, 19 Mar 2018

Northeast Today

Tryst With: Solo Travelling

Tryst With: Solo Travelling
February 24
14:13 2018

January Edition, Travel, Priyanka Rajkhowa

A new year has begun and we must welcome it with full positivity. Let’s be selfish this time and just love and pamper ourselves. Every individual has a different way of pampering themselves, like Pallavi Dutta, currently working as Recruitment Marketing Manager with Accenture, self pampers through solo travelling. Breaking the stereotype of travelling solo being not safe in India, Pallavi has made solo travelling once in a year a ritual. She believes that’s the way to ‘detox’ oneself.

When I, out of envy, asked why solo travel and why not going to a salon and self love, she said “I was born in the beautiful land of Assam. I had a much protected life but as the butterfly leaves the cocoon to explore the beautiful world I moved out to a boarding school when I was 16. It’s where I met friends from different parts of the country and world- from Kerala, West Bengal, Mumbai, Muscat and Thailand. I would always wonder how lovely it would be to travel and see the world and experience different type of cultures.”

On being enquired, (curiously again) how it all started, she said, “After doing my MBA in marketing much to my dad’s objection, I landed a job in advertising. My parents weren’t very happy at first as I had rejected my day zero placement which was paying me 3 times my advertising salary but they came around. It’s here where my love of travelling got a different dimension altogether. I got married when I was 24 and moved to Bristol, UK.”

“Tryst with solo travelling began here. I would travel to different counties every week for job interviews. Job hunt was very frustrating and the only good thing about it was- the travel. Initially I used to ask my husband Abhradip to accompany me as I was a bit scared in the new country. But it was one fine day when he told me that I am street smart enough to travel alone and that’s when my tryst with solo travel started.”

“My first trip was to Cheltenham where I spend two days exploring this quaint town,” she added.

Sharing some of her travelling experiences, Pallavi says, “I have travelled to the UK for 20 days where I visited London, Bristol Ireland, Scotland, and Cornwall. I have also attended the famous Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. Stuffed my face with gelatos from Gelupo, met my childhood friend, senior from college, shopped at Harrods and attended a dog show. The entire experience was exhilarating. It was very funny that when I was in UK I hardly explored London! I always wanted to attend an evensong at St Paul’s cathedral but always used to miss it.”

Adding further, she says, “One fine day when I was loitering around I crossed St Pauls and decided to just rest in the garden area and admire the majestic church. It’s then when an old lady asked me if I can take her to the church. I obliged and helped her and that’s when I realised that the evensong was going to start in 10 minutes. Hence I stayed back and that very day they were praying for people in Assam who passed away during a flood. It was too much of a coincidence that I happened to be there just on a day when they were praying for Assam.”

“I was recently in Mauritius and every time I would go to a restaurant, the waiter would ask me if I needed a table for two and I would smile and say it’s just me! There, I made friends with a German girl with Indian roots, learnt a bit of Creole…in short just enjoyed! The only flak I got was on social media when people would send me messages on my last leg as I had booked a suite for myself and people would send me nasty messages that I am wasting my husband’s money,” she added.

“I have earned the money which I had paid for the beachside suite. Why is it so hard to believe that I can earn and spoil myself?” she concludes.

We are so busy fighting our daily battles that we hardly make time for self and we end up depressed and unhappy. Solo travelling is just one of the many ways of self love. As Buddha says- ‘You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserves your love and affection’.

(The author is a freelance writer based in Guwahati)


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