India is one of the most spectacular countries I’ve ever traveled to. It’s a world within a world, it’s chaos and beauty, it’s one end of the spectrum to the other in every possible way. I met some incredible people on my journey, and was lucky enough to meet one of the most inspirational women I’ve ever met at the start of my trip in India. This is an Interview with Swati Chaithanya: Her Journey as a Solo Female Traveler in India.
I had the pleasure of not only meeting and exploring Varkala with Swati Chaithanya, a woman from Bangalore, but I also had the pleasure of asking her questions about being a solo Indian female traveling India.
She is a powerful, independent female traveler who explored India by herself, and on her own terms, despite the tendencies of society to be against it. If you’re a female looking to travel India alone, then read this post and you’ll discover that you have the strength to take the leap forward, just as Swati did.
“You need to trust and unleash yourself, the light is hidden within every soul as a tiny little spark. It’s either destroyed or tied up by not understanding the things around us… they [society] finally chase us and make us slaves to our very own mind. If you understand this, and unleash the positive energy with the courage to face it, it transforms into an unstoppable flame and glows forever. Your first solo travel is just the beginning of your story and the entire journey awaits you…rest assured, the universe has your back.”
Her and her words are powerful, inspirational, and beautiful. Her words will guide you through her journey, one that is so relatable to many of us who are looking to travel the world alone but might need a small nudge or push to do so.
Swati’s words are raw, her story real and true. She is one of the strongest women I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and she teaches each and every one of us about passion, staying true to ourselves, and never giving up hope.
She tells her story of strength, emotional struggle, and the societal challenges and disagreements that we may face when we travel, especially as a female.
Swati’s Solo Travel Journey
Swati’s decision to travel India solo came from within. She decided to listen to her soul and mind to take the difficult leap forward and to travel on her own.
She says,”solo travel just happened in the journey of my life, when I had to shift gears. I no longer felt the same about the beautiful reality I once created for myself. When it was not serving the purpose in my life after a point, depression and anxiety crept in and took over. I started to feel dead from within. That’s when your soul comes to your rescue, to show you the path and to guide you – the universe provides you with strength and protection.”
Her inspirational words speak thousands of truths, one that we can all learn from. In order to take the leap into something you want, you first have to realize it, accept it, and change it. Swati tells us, “all that I knew was I had to change the existing reality that was causing my suffering- but I had no clue how to go about it. That’s when I decided to travel, to breathe, and to see the life around me, since everybody else around me was busy with their self created realities.”
Ultimately, Swati’s decision to solo travel led her to her higher purpose. So she set off around India in search of something more. If you’ve ever felt stuck, indecisive, or afraid, then listen to Swati’s words and take them to heart.
She says that she “learnt in the journey that the experience of learning from nature is very personal. I could only experience things in their purest form, when I am connected with my higher self. Solo travel is one of the finest modes to connect with your higher self. Every time I am connected with my higher self, I have had miracles happen. It’s a beautiful surprise from life. Who would not want to see and experience miracles? Magic happens right here, so I went with a YES to solo travel.”
“I chose to travel alone, it gave me sense of pride and freedom with new challenges in life. After all, I wanted to be free: Free from everything that’s self created and negative in my life. It took a little courage and self confidence to begin with, but the rest all followed eventually, as if someone had a plan already in place for me and was waiting for me to take a step forward.”
Telling Friends and Family Members About her Decision to Travel
And then there comes the time when we have to tell our friends and family members that we are taking the step to travel, alone.
Swati tells us how it was difficult telling her family and friends that she was going to travel. But she held on to her strength and determination and didn’t let anyone change her mind. She listened to her heart and went with where her soul was meant to go.
She said, “it was very, very difficult, in fact it still is when ever I decide to travel. My first journey seemed pretty easy compared to my following journies to different places. I struggle a lot to ignore a lot of things and emotions that are happening around me. It’s draining to try to make people understand, and to get into discussions and answer everyone’s different perspectives, especially when you know what you want. A lot of things play a major role, like safety, finances and emotional management.”
Fighting What Society Deems “Normal”
It’s a bit uncommon in India for women to travel alone, which is why it’s so inspirational that Swati took the leap anyway. She is a remarkable female that is living her dream and teaching other women, especially in India, that they can do the same.
She tells us that “solo travel is considered an ‘unproductive Indian attitude‘ towards leading a healthy and prosperous life. My friends (not all, but many of them) and family never really understood this thing called solo travel. I’m at an age where I am supposed to be married and have kids by now, as per ‘society’s‘ standards. I still look like an Alien to my family; most of the time when I bring up solo travel talks. Nevertheless, it’s all about the mind-set one can influence to be able to change.”
Safety is a common concern for women traveling alone in India. Swati said, “when a single women has to travel, it is safety that’s the first concern in India. Solo travel helps in education for life. Secondly, people’s mindset and influence on you… is what makes you rethink your own personality, character and decisions. There’s always going be opposition for single or married women anyway if traveling solo. And, common tourist places are mostly safe. Any other place that is uncommon and newly explored.. .. bit of research on the place, people and atmosphere around you and trying to interact with them before reaching the place is always helpful to some extent.”
What You Can Learn From Solo Travel in India
With traveling alone in India comes some of the most incredible moments in anyone’s life- I know India gave me some of the toughest but most beautiful days of my life.
While traveling alone in India, Swati had personal realizations that helped her grow mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. She said, “you will get to frame a new and refreshing definition for love, life, & beauty. Considering the fact that India has 29 states and 7 union territories, and is a beautiful country with so much diversity. Along with experiencing life at its purest form, you will also get to see and learn so many things every day, if you are open to it. It definitely looks chaotic from the outside, but everything functions on its own when you look deep into it. It is mini cosmos within. Every state I have visited so far has welcomed me with at most grace and uniqueness. It has been a safe journey so far. Tourism in India is definitely incredible.”
Facing Hardships While Traveling as a Solo Female in India
Traveling is never easy. I know I’ve had my fair share of hardships. But with the bad comes the appreciation for the good.
Swati tells us about some of her struggles on traveling in India. She said, “it boils down to this beautiful saying Your Vibe Attracts your Tribe… I have met wonderful fellow travellers and locals in my journey. But at times, you can’t change or influence a local’s rigid mindset. Solo woman travel is uncommon in India. If I have liked a place and wanted to stay there for bit long (let’s say, more than a month), the locals there have given me weird looks, assuming different and really interesting gossip and stories around it. It’s even easy to come up with one since I am Indian and it’s so uncommon [to travel solo] here.” These beautiful words told by Swati are a reminder that it’s okay to struggle, to feel out of place when travelling, especially in a place like India. But always remember to fight forward, follow your heart, and the rest will fall into place.
“India is a Land of Variety to me. Where souls smile from the heart. Their eyes twinkle like a star. People here welcome you with a lot of kindness and warmth. Of course, one needs to be street smart to survive here, go by their gut feeling and instinct, and trust that they can overcome any challenging situation. You will always find some creative solution in India. I consider it to be a spiritual vortex center. Every soul needs to visit India once in a lifetime. Every one is part of this huge Ancient Family.”
Swati continues to tell us that the “perception here is that girls from well to do families, and educated; sensible girls do not dare to do such unusual and weird things as per society’s standards. So it’s difficult at times to face such perceptions head on and the attitude that comes with it: ignorance is bliss during such situations.”
Traveling alone in India will teach you so many things about yourself and the people around you. You’ll have incredible realizations that no other country in the entire world will ever give you. It’s the culture, the people, and the energy of India that feed into these realizations and lessons.
Swati tells us about some of the things she’s learned while traveling solo in India. She said, “going against the odds is the only way to learn. What you think and what you experience are totally different.” India overwhelms the senses, it fuels your soul and gives you a newfound energy you didn’t know existed.
Swati continues to tell us that “though I faced lot of criticism and challenges (weird eye contact, creepy talks)… I always got help. The good and the bad are two sides of the same coin. You will definitely find warm, kind, and light-hearted souls to help, understand and support you during the 11th hour. As I said, I believe India to be spiritual center, all you have to do is Connect with your higher self and ask what you want and the universe will instinctively provide you with it. That is how I kept my journey going peacefully and happily.”
An Incredible Message to Female Travelers in India
Swati gives us a beautiful message to all female travelers looking to travel solo in India. Her first message for Indian women looking to travel solo is that, “everything you THINK of is POSSIBLE, irrespective of your gender, caste and race. Figure out your self interest deep down that your soul craves to protect, and nourish your self love. That can change the world around you. Everything that comes your way is just a test and is temporary. By facing it every time, you will know how powerful you are from within. Each one of us has a divine manifestation within. Trust that and make your first move towards where your heart leads and the rest will follow.”
“Courage is something that can buy you anything from love to peace: and every woman is abundantly gifted with it.”
And she gives us a message to all solo female travelers in India. She says, “every one who travels, make sure you travel with lot of faith and to live life to its fullest, irrespective of challenges one faces in the journey. That’s a ‘never give up’ attitude, no matter what, either you learn, you live and rejoice, or you teach something in the moment. When you travel in India, you see life happening around you, and understand that no matter what, you either beg; borrow or steal, but never give up on life.”
Why You Need to Travel to India
There are thousands upon thousands of reasons to travel to this spectacular country. Swati tells us why you need to travel to India.
She says, “Ancient India is very fascinating, it holds lot of history and mystery that would grab your attention and excite you. You have to make sure you experience both the urban and countryside of India during your stay. Locals are really friendly souls: learn one Indian cuisine, one instrument and one new language before you leave. Importance of patience is something you would definitely learn in your journey. It definitely is challenging to survive here, but when it’s time to leave the country, you will carry lot of emotional and psychological experiences with you.”
She leaves us all with an important message about traveling in India: Patience is a virtue in this country.
Swati tells us “to be patient until the end of your journey to survive here, take care of yourself while travelling and be aware of your surroundings (especially with identity theft). Make sure you always go by your intuition and gut feeling. Most importantly, be prepared to face the famous “Selfie moment”. I have noticed in most of the tourist places in India, locals go crazy when they come across westerners, so it’s better to be prepared for the “SELFIE” moment- that gets annoying after a point in your journey, but you see that everything comes with the package.”
Take Swati’s words to heart, let them rest in your soul, and let them inspire you to travel to India.
“Love has many forms… so be patient and learn to love. It helps to live life peacefully. Let the sunshine on your face and the wind blow on your back always… Life is beautiful, if you have an eye to see it. Loads of light your way.”