“I spent so much time convincing friends and family it would be fine that I had almost convinced myself... right up until the moment I stepped off the plane in Delhi.”
I was 22, and I decided I was going to travel to India... alone.
My wanderlust started at a very young age. My family had taken my brother and me on plenty of road trips in our motorhome. In high school, I was lucky enough to join a travel group to Greece, Spain and Italy. From then on I was hooked, and the travel bug hit me hard. After graduation, I couldn't stop dreaming about the world and all the places I hadn't seen, that I desperately wanted to. I saved some money while attending post-secondary and when finished I decided to see as much of the world as I could before starting my new career.
There was only one problem: I could never find someone to go with, or if I did they would always end up bailing. No longer content with spending my weekends partying, I needed to change it up. I decided I could not wait or rely on anyone else to make this happen, so I faced India head-on. With no parents, no leader, just me.
I spent so much time convincing friends and family it would be fine that I had almost convinced myself... right up until the moment I stepped off the plane in Delhi. I was terrified of being alone, never mind being a woman and alone. Arriving in the middle of the night, I took an hour’s tuk-tuk ride through the dirt path roads to my hostel with a driver who spoke no English. I finally arrived at my hostel, and both the driver and concierge were extremely friendly.
I tried to sleep, but I was too rattled to do so. I contemplated flying home but then talked some sense into myself and realised I could do this but on my own terms. I had always seen and heard other women, so brave, conquering new cities and sights all on their own, but I knew I would need some help to get there. I found a younger Indian lady who did private tours, so I called her. By the end of the first day of my solo adventure I had become surprisingly comfortable with the city – and also myself. I realised that everything was going to be okay, and my trip from that moment on became one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had.
I had never tried curry in my life before India, and by the end, I was eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner – my new favourite cuisine! I tented off the Ganges river, celebrated Diwali, and of course was utterly mesmerised by the Taj Mahal. I bungee jumped off a rope bridge, river rafted, visited the gorgeous backwaters of Kerala and soaked in the sun on the beaches of Goa.
From the 18-hr sketchiest train ride of my life to the most elaborate 3-day Indian wedding, these experiences, even though scary at times, are now some of my most memorable and I wouldn't change them even if I could.
My trip to India ultimately shaped me into the person I am today. I learned to be alone but not lonely. I found a new meaning for independent. Six weeks of “finding myself” and my life just all fell into place. I met the love of my life, started my amazing career and of course went on many more solo trips! Travelling has always been a passion of mine and every trip, and every adventure teaches me something new. Venturing to India alone is by far the best decision I have ever made. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Author - Meagan Mckillop
Meagan Mckillop is from Canada. She works as a real estate agent which allows her to do what she loves – meet new people and regularly take off time to travel the world.
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