I don’t particularly love or hate birthdays. A meal in a good restaurant with family or friends, on my birthday, has been the norm for years now. But this birthday was different. I was going to cross a milestone: Turn 25! And I firmly believe that milestones need to be celebrated. So I decided to celebrate this milestone doing what I do best: Solo Travel.
After a little bit of research, I chose Gokarna. Gokarna was not only a pocket friendly option but also seemed like the best place to read, write by the beach and bring in my 25th.
As the d day approached, I was both nervous and excited. I have been travelling solo for almost three years now and I love travelling alone. It was probably the first time I feared feeling lonely.
But I think the stars had aligned to make my solo birthday trip one of the most memorable one. I enjoyed my three day stay in the lazy town in Gokarna so much that by the end of it, I just didn’t want to leave the place.
Here is what happened on the trip:
- I ended up meeting some incredible people and did not drown in my loneliness
Travel helps you meet people from different cultures and backgrounds. It gives you a different perspective about life. Birthdays on the other hand, especially when you are entering the other side of twenties, are times to reflect how far you have come. It is very easy to face existential crisis. Hence, I feared feeling lonely particularly on this solo trip.
But within hours of my arrival in the hostel, I met some amazing fellow travellers and before we knew it, we were already making plans together. This bunch of travellers included a web developer, a mountaineer, a life coach, a scientist, a person who had recently quit his job and even a student.
- I got to celebrate a quiet birthday
I had wanted to stay offline on my birthday so after receiving wishes from my close friends and family, I only used my phone if it was necessary. I brought in my 25th in Kudle Beach with fellow travellers, went for lunch with fellow dorm mate to a place which served delicious homemade thalis, wrote for a while on a hammock while enjoying a beautiful view and ended the day by watching a beautiful sunset from a hilltop.
- I got to see strangers surprise me on my birthday
Just when I thought, I had spent the day well, my fellow hostellers called me outside my dorm, at about 11 pm, only to surprise me with a cake and balloons. It is probably one of the best feelings in the world to see such kind gestures from strangers.
- I took part in so many activities
Be it a 9 Km trek from Belken beach to Kudle beach with fellow hostellers where we covered the famous beaches of Gokarna: Paradise, Halfway, Om and Kudle or a trip to Vibhooti Falls, Yana Caves and Mirjan Fort, it was the most athletic I had been in ages.
- Sunsets and Awesome Food
I absolutely love sunsets and good food. So you can imagine my happiness when I got to see sunsets on all four days and get to eat some impressive authentic local food in Gokarna.
- I even received some good gyan
While the trip was going on perfectly well, there was a point when I found myself telling one of the travellers that sometimes I wonder if I did the right thing by getting away from the rat race and if I should get back in it to be like others. To that he simply said that each one has got a different question paper and you will never gain anything by copying answers from someone’s answer sheet. Answer your paper, the way you want to. It was probably the best life lessons someone has ever given to me and I hope it stays with me forever.
Solo travelling has always been a fulfilling experience for me. In the past, it has taught me to be more confident, observant and enjoy the little things of life and has given me so many friends from around the world. It is a good way to take some time off our busy lives and reflect on life.
I took this trip thinking to do the same and to get some clarity in life. I was in for a surprise when the trip ended up teaching me some new lessons on kindness of strangers and the importance of being less hard on me and occasionally being proud of my achievements and the person I have become.
I may not have achieved the desired clarity in life but I have a feeling I am on the right path.