Welcome to Travel with Anjaly – my new blog series. Through this, I hope to take you on a journey with me around the world, show you the sights and sounds I have enjoyed and share with you different experiences, adventure and culture I have come across during my travels, mostly always solo. I will share with you stories about how travel changed me as a person and my perspective of life.
Let me start with wishing you all a fabulous, travel -filled 2019.
How it all began
The one question I frequently get asked is why I decided to be a traveler and travel writer, especially when I had a degree in law! I do not have an answer to that. But let me add to the confusion further – from being a qualified lawyer, I carved a path in journalism before turning digital – which really opened up the possibilities of what I do today - which is travelling and writing all about it. I will admit this freely – when I started I had no idea what I wanted, but I knew what I did not want. And that helped me eliminate options and settle on what I really wanted. Life is a lot about separating the grain from the chaff – worthless vs valuable and I am glad I stuck to the less-trodden path to self discovery.
What this blog is all about
Travel and everything associated with it. I hope to burst myths concerning travels, tips on traveling right (of course there is no right way to do so), saving money on the road, how to pack, how to deal with travel anxiety, racism, food wastage, low-budget and of course, destinations and adventures.
How do I deal with “you are so lucky?”
My answer is simple - Luck doesn’t get things done: I do. Sometimes too hard, but it pays off. While people are asleep on weekends I am up so that I able to use the quiet time to write -be it my book, commissioned work, articles for magazines or newspapers or personal blog. I give it all the same time and effort as I would at work. Why? Because I am passionate about it. Luck would be if my book got written by itself, but as that is an unlikely scenario, the only reasoning I can offer is hard work and passion. I do skip socializing and late nights because I’d like to fully-awake and focused the next morning.
Where do I see this going?
Truth is, I do not know. And that is the beauty of it all. Uncertainty is a big part of travel and while that might trigger anxiety for some, it is adrenaline rush for me. I want to take it as it comes – same as with everything else. I have no agenda. While some might think it is a bad idea to be so “rootless”, I think it is fine. I am sort of done with regimented life, first in boarding school and then at my workplace. I decided to break that routine and exploring a new way of life.
Is it okay to travel solo for a single woman
Yes. And Yes. And over the weeks and months, I’ll show you how. And why! As a traveler I have lived through the good and bad. I remember them both with equal frequency…though very often the ‘good’ incidents remain in my memory longer – be it a kind word, an invitation to coffee, a hand with my heavy backpack or a mere heart-to-heart talk at the end of a long hot, day with a friendly stranger. Yes, that’s what I remember.
I have had my share of kindness in the most unlikely place – a corner of Turkey, Uganda, Thailand, Austria…but kindness that I will never forget.
Why do I travel solo?
I assure you I am not anti-social. I love talking as much as the next person, but I like traveling solo because of the freedom it gives me. I like keeping to my schedule (or the absence of one), I like meeting new people and swapping stories, I like creating my experiences. I like to be shocked at someone’s reactions…the unpredictability of travel drives me.
Do I want to prove anything through my travels?
Yes and NO. The reality is that I hunger for more. I want to eliminate the stereotype and prove that women can hang with the guys! Despite what everyone feared, I didn’t get “eliminated” in North Korea, or shot at in Papua New Guinea or kidnapped in Africa. I will not shy away from anyone, anything or anyplace. I have been cheated and molested too, and chased by machete wielding youngsters in Papua New Guinea, but at the same time, elsewhere I have been housed and fed by strangers. I have eaten fried tarantulas in Cambodia, been chased by a Komodo Dragon in Komodo Island, Indonesia…but I have survived it all. So while I am trying to prove anything, in a way I am advocating solo travel – and travel in general.
My favourite countries and why
Trust me when I say I have no favourites. Each country is unique and so are the experiences. Of all the countries I have been to, of all the experiences I have had, for all the people I have met on the roads, for every little act of kindness I have been shown, for the not so pleasant incidents I have experienced as solo female traveler, I am thankful – for, had it not been for all of that, my travels would have felt exactly as home.
Among some of the countries that I have visited, I hold a few of them special. The African continent is definitely my favourite, but so is North Korea and Papua New Guinea. While they may not be hot on the travelers menu, being in these countries have showed me a life that I never thought possible and for that I will be eternally grateful.
In the next post, know about why I am a bad photographer who tells a good story!