As a big advocate for solo travel I’ve decided to create a series on Eat Sleep Breathe Travel featuring a diverse group of my fellow solo adventurers in the hopes of inspiring other’s to join us in our ways. My goal is for their stories and suggestions to encourage you to take that step and experience your own solo adventure.
This week’s featured solo traveller is Arnab aka ‘Andy’ from Andy’s Budget Travel Site
- Tell us about yourself; where are you from, where are you now, do you have something coming up soon?
Hi! I’m Arnab Nandy, aka Andy, from India and I run Andy’s Budget Travel Site, which is all about how you can travel more while spending less. I was in Japan last month and was amazed by this unusual country and its wonderful people. I did my first sea diving there and it was so amazing! Two trips are on my mind right now – one is the Hornbill Festival in December. This one takes place in Nagaland, a state in the northeast of India. In February 2015, I want to do a road trip in Western Australia. I’m really excited about that one.
2) Where was your first ever solo trip? And what made you decide to go solo?
Some time in late 2010, I read about the Full Moon Party in Thailand and decided to go there. I only went alone because I couldn’t find someone to go with me. But that was a blessing in disguise and this trip changed my life. I made so many friends and we are still in touch. And this was the trip that got me hooked to travelling alone.
3) What are your best and worst moments/experiences as a solo traveller?
I’ve had so many great experiences and it’s impossible to label one as the “best”. So, here’s one of them — a French girl I’d met at a party in Delhi invited me to her parents’ house at a village in Normandy during my Europe trip in 2012. I stayed there for three days. I can assure you there is no better way to experience France than staying with a French family in the beautiful Normandy. I think this wouldn’t have been possible if I were travelling in a group.
I have not really had a bad experience that was just because of me travelling alone. Perhaps I have been lucky. There are of course a few downsides of solo travel. You get bored and there are times when you crave company. During my Japan trip last month, I was travelling by ship overnight. I went to the deck late at night and it was dark except for a couple of low-powered bulbs. The wind dashed against my face and the sky sparkled with thousands of stars. I even saw a meteor and lighthouses on the horizon. It was intense… I wished there was someone to share the experience with me.
And then there’s the problem of carrying all your luggage with you to the toilet!
4) What is the best place (in your opinion/experience) to travel solo, why?
Thailand is amazing and cheap. Japan is unusual and very safe and it should top the list of go-to places for girls who’re looking to travel solo for the first time. But my personal favourite is Europe. It’s probably because I had the most wonderful time there. I stayed at hostels/B&Bs for only five nights in my five-week trip. I Couchsurfed and also stayed with really random people, all of whom turned out to be so amazingly hospitable.
5) What is the best advice/tip you have for solo travellers?
Go with the flow. Don’t plan too much in advance. Have an itinerary in mind. But if there’s the chance/if you want to deviate from your plan, don’t hold back! Go ahead and do it. The beauty of solo travel is it lets you travel selfishly and spontaneously.