India as watched by a solo female backpacker
Solo-backpacking- for those who love it, there is no more adventurous, rejuvenating, and liberating an experience in life. To travel to a scenic village alone, escaping the noise and rush of the city life... to go trekking in a greeny hillside and enjoy the sun set... to start a road trip and explore new places... who wouldn't love that?
Women travel buffs, however, consider themselves less lucky because sometimes, it's not safe for even men to venture on a solo trip in India. If you are one of them, you should meet Swati Jain, who has travelled solo to 20 states in India! Yes, you heard it right.
Swati, according to the profile in her blog 'buoyantfeet.com', travelled to 20 states and two union territories within 18 months. She explored Kanatal in Uttarakhand, Thanedar, the apple land of Himachal Pradesh, Rajastan's Khichan where migratory birds flock to, Zanskar valley in Leh, and many more less known destinations.
Swati quit her eight-year-long career in the Public Relations field to pursue her passion - travelling. She is now a freelance PR consultant and content writer, and writes about her travels.
In a recent article for a website, Swati reiterated that she always felt safe during her journeys. "We read stories of different horrific incidents every day and we forget that there is a good side of mankind as well. We forget that good people still exist, and they are far more in number than we expect. So when I went to different places and introduced myself, I expected people to raise their eyebrows. But on the contrary, they were all very helpful and appreciative," says Swati.
Swati describes how her journey to Bastar, a tribal land in Chhatishargh, proved urban people's conceptions of tribal people wrong. She spent 96 hours there and travelled across 1,300 km, but nobody even looked at her in an unusual way, she says.
She also narrates many heart-warming incidents she came across during her solo trips -- about an elderly couple who took her to a safe place in their tractor when her taxi broke down, about a person arranging her stay at Zanskar, and many more.
Swati, however, says that there are challenges when travelling alone anywhere, and that it's about travelling smart. One should follow the guidelines issued by local authorities and should not try to be over adventurous, should do a proper research and talk to people who have been there, she says.