Now on a high.

Woman's Era - - Con­tents - By Dr Elsa Ly­cias Joel

de­cided to write on ‘solo women trav­ellers’ be­cause there was a time when a wo­man’s place was in the home. As she whiled away those hours in home chores, tend­ing to old peo­ple and kids with con­tent­ment, she looked for­ward to the end of the day when she could rest awhile, in her own world of dreams and fan­tasy. How did we not know she dreamt of go­ing out into the real world, re­alised her self­worth in terms of money, dig­nity and, most of all, see the world?

Around the world, peo­ple weave into ev­ery­day life the idea that all men are su­pe­rior to women in any­thing and that women are vul­ner­a­ble all the time. In mod­ern times, not be­ing beaten into a state of slav­ery by whips and chains doesn’t mean all women, work­ing and oth­er­wise, are em­pow­ered. Per­suad­ing women into some­thing by words and teach­ings of cen­turies-old tra­di­tions haven’t stopped. Though it’s not faith in th­ese words that con­tinue to bind women but the ‘fear of the un­known’ pre­vents many from liv­ing their dreams. We’re too scared of the un­known and never set even a tim­o­rous toe out of our com­fort zones. Look­ing up to heroes who have chal­lenged th­ese con­ven­tions to ex­plore their world in their own terms is a mo­ti­va­tion to break free. So, re­mem­ber…

“You are still young, free. Do your­self a favour. Be­fore it's too late, with­out think­ing too much about it first, pack a pil­low and a blan­ket and see as much of the world as you can. You will not re­gret it. One day, it will be too late.”

To know ‘some­thing’ of the won­ders of trav­el­ling is to con­tem­plate a lit­tle of the mir­a­cle of life it­self. A pas­sion­ate trav­eller will con­clude that there was an ex­u­ber­ant joy in the cre­ation of this beau­ti­ful world, for the world so teems with the ad­ven­tur­ous lot called hu­mans that no one knows how many dif­fer­ent kinds are there. A few of my ac­quain­tances, who also hap­pened to be solo trav­ellers, share their tes­ti­monies. Af­ter the first solo trip, a vig­or­ous pride is awak­ened in­spir­ing them to go the ex­tra mile to make the next.

Given the stereo­typed no­tion of gen­der iden­tity and roles in our coun­try, the first step it­self feels like lib­er­a­tion, a fresh start like win­ning a lottery. So, for solo women trav­ellers, through all the trav­el­ling ex­pe­ri­ences, the one con­nect­ing thread has been ‘per­sonal free­dom’ whether it is to fly or sail, to drive, to come back, to go far­ther and fur­ther and live ac­cord­ing to the call of their hearts. Be­ing solo in­volves tak­ing the ini­tia­tive, mak­ing hard de­ci­sions and al­ways be­liev­ing in one­self.

Rea­sons for solo trav­el­ling could be many but three les­sons we can take from th­ese women are ✿ Be­liev­ing in one­self. If not me, then who? Stand up to be fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent so that we achieve our in­de­pen­dence to live our life. Trust our own in­stincts and pep­per it with com­mon sense. As with taste, so with scent and views. An avid trav­eller ex­pe­ri­ences the world also as a “smellscape” of tit­il­lat­ing vivid­ness. Talk­ing to Nav­ina Joseph, I won­der if she is blessed with a ‘travel brain’; she is guided through her trav­els by strange and lav­ish sen­sory gifts help­ing her lis­ten, see and taste with the many dif­fer­ent kinds of senses. Spot­ting won­der women like her helps her to share her be­liefs, hopes, con­cerns and opin­ions about glo­be­trot­ting thereby chal­leng­ing all con­ven­tions.

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