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I’m a gypsy at heart. Stability unnerves me and the mere thought of “settling” down in any form is enough to give me goose bumps that you might associate with a scared audience of a well-made horror movie. At the age when it is socially acceptedof me to tame down and let my wild horses take a rest, probably forever, I’m busy plotting how to invent wings for the bird in me, who wants to fly, unchained and unhindered.  A loner at heart who prefers the company of books over humans, I am in constant search of places, secluded enough to allow me to relish the companionship with self. That is how traveling solo came into being. A yearly ritual that started as a way to assert my independence and challenge the existing norm of holidaying with family, friends or at least with your partner, has evolved as something that re-introduces me to myself and help snatch some moments of sanity in my otherwise insane world.

 Happiness is traveling with your best friend. I have come to realise that I am my own best friend and a fabulous company too. After four months of intense headless chicken dance at work it was time to feed some comfort food to my battered soul. So off I went to Coorg which became my reality for 2.5 days. There is nothing more nourishing for you than being perched upon a rock, feet dipped in a lovely little stream that gurgles away next to you, a book in hand and varied hues of green serving as your environ. So much green that my eyes hurt. And when the night descended upon me, I took refuge in the warmth of a fluffy blanket, sipping the hot coffee that Coorg is so famous for, geckos geckoing away at some distance. Sometimes when I felt a shiver run down my spine, I'd clutch the coffee mug tightly soaking every ounce of warmth from it and I would feel sunny again. The coffee may have gone cold but it did its job well. The smell of the coffee flowers, the cool splashes of river Kaveri that drenched me while I crossed it bare feet are all fond memories safely locked away in a corner of my mind to be unlocked when I need to replenish my soul yet another time. A grazed elbow, a wounded toe , a minor fall while trekking all go in to make a bag that is full of happiness and smiles.

I have lost track of the number of times I have been asked by people about the immense pleasure I derive from being in my own company. I struggle to respond without sounding a selfish self-centred hedonist. But then, if I sound like one, I sound like one. Over the past few years, I have become less tolerant towards " Useless polite questions warranting an equally pointless response". So how are you? Where are you from , what do you do etc is a line of questioning I have begun to detest. This isn't conversation, this is interrogation. I believe in breaking the ice by stamping right on it. Conversations are meant to flow without the help of a series of questions that make you feel like you are sitting on a hot seat of “ Who Wants to be a Millionaire”. I am unapologetic about my  heavy saiposexual leanings and being an absolute sucker for good conversation. It being meaningful is not of significance but I need to experience the spectrum of emotions that a good conversation generates. Empathy, humuour, excitement, argument, I want to travel the whole nine yard on that path. We are conditioned to believe that to “know” a person is to know about their job, their daily routine, their place of dwelling. What we are never told that long lasting associations develop not on the premise of the knowledge of essential items that one can tick off on the check box .A lasting association for me is one when I know that I’m heard and understood.

Interactions & relationships should enrich you, not burden you. If they feel like shackles around your ankle, either break free or learn to recognize the red flags that will eventually tie you down. These solo trips offer me time to introspect about life or just sit in the open air and be amazed at the bounties of nature that my entire being is so suddenly inundated with.  A space where I understand who I am and then fall in love with this free-spirited maverick, crazy lover of life woman yet again. 


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