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Two years of the pandemic and an overdose of family time has had a notable role to play in the upward trend of solo travel. CNBCTV18.com met with some young millennials to decode their intriguing nomadic ‘solo’ patterns. And here is what we found.
While many of us find comfort in clusters, for others a sense of being alone while travel is satiating. Earlier solo travel was considered a niche market. However, since 2016, solo travel has witnessed a significant uptick - with a phenomenal rate of around 131%, which is the growth rate of keyword “solo travel” from 2016 to 2019 on Google. Globally, there has been a 42 percent jump in solo traveller bookings over the last two years.
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Decoding the solo travel trend
Let’s admit it, two years of the pandemic and an overdose of family time has had a notable role to play in the upward trend. CNBCTV18.com met with some young millennials to decode their intriguing nomadic ‘solo’ patterns. And here is what we found.
'No strings attached'
The non-committal Tinder generation wants no commitment. They don’t want to be pinned down to the same people, places, conversations, routines. The desire for constant change. The desire to keep things fresh and interesting rather than getting bound by the monotony of sameness. Excitement in Versatility is what fuels their desire to keep hopping to newer destinations and meeting newer people. Being a “new me” with no past- no baggage for everyone I meet on this voyage.
Finding my tribe
In this era of customisation – the desire to “Choose my Clan”. The people whom I selectively pick, based on my own personal -likes and dislikes- my own voluntary relations. Yearning to create an ecosystem beyond the blood bonds that they are born into.
Unveiling a new story
The unknown is no more scary-It’s exciting. There’s an unsurpassed curiosity that’s building in the millennials- and with that is their growing appetite for risk. They want to take their chances.
Travelling to newer destinations and finding themselves amidst the swarms of unknown ethnicities isn’t intimidating for them- it’s exciting. Making sense of chaos and seeking familiarity in the unfamiliar by drawing resemblances in foreign lands to their own culture- seems like the new millennial hobby.
It's got to be my way!
One word that is sure to define today’s millennial mindset is “unmalleable”. Bending, adjusting, compromising – are words that don’t find space in this urban dictionary. It’s a “My way or the highway” attitude – may it be with their marriage or their career or their food or their travel choices. Why settle for 60% when I can get 100% of my own choice. They don’t want their travel experiences, exploration and desires to be curtailed with people coming their way.
Also read | Honeymoon destinations: Affordable yet exotic alternatives to Maldives in South East Asia
While we stay consumed with family, friends and job responsibilities- this is the share of me-time. A date that’s with myself
If you are now beginning to face the FOMO- and are urged to make your first Solo trip, we have got you covered. There are so many destinations that are waiting for you to pay them a visit and take in the myriad of experiences they have to offer
Here are some places that should make it to your solo travel bucket list
Diaries from Varanasi: In the crowded lanes of Benaras, amid a swarm of people, I found myself”
Understanding how life isn’t black or white – there are shades of Grey. Visibly seeing the tactile closeness of birth and death on the Ghats on Banaras. The celebration of birth and the mourning of grief happening neck to neck- beside each other. This land is all encompassing. A learning in itself. Sitting by the ghats, watching how the Holy Ganges makes its journey fretting through circumstances, nature, people – bearing within it so many secrets, so many prayers, washing so many sins. A place where the good, bad and the evil all meet and face each other. Banaras- the Oldest Living City- will surely get you to meet your true self- align you to your purpose and make you realise the worth of life and each moment that passes by.
Diaries from Ladakh: “I realised how tiny my worries are as I sat down looking at the grandeur of the Pangong”
Truly an adventure of a Lifetime. The remotest region of the country- is an experience that is truly unforgettable. A place that will awaken you to your threshold. The test of physical strength - dealing with the ruggedness of life here. From paucity of water, to dealing with a high altitude. Life slows down here. Makes you realise how tiny you are in front of the grandeur of nature. Each view made of postcard moments- that will make you want to forget your tiny inconsequential worries – and breathe into the vastness of the universe that stands before you. Watching the beautiful Pangong that stretches into China and Tibet or looking at the Zanskar meeting the Indus river-or the grand magnetic hills or the mighty Nubra- making one realise the Bigness of nature and how unreigned and powerful it is.This trip could offer you a lot of experiences that would make you witness your own threshold for fear, curiosity and adventure- like driving highest motorable roads: Chang la, Khar dungla, Shipki la, Baralachna, the Chadar trek or rafting in the freezing waters of the Zanskar lake
Diaries from Goa: “My time to reboot. re-set = a month in goa was invigorating”
We all know the party life with the drinking and the insane clubbing. But imagine a life far away from the cities bustle -- where it’s just you and the waves. The sound of the gushing waves waking you up every morning. Virgin beaches and hidden village stays amidst the tropical forests. Meeting people from across the world who are here – just like you- to reset and reboot for their life ahead. Embracing the pause with the sense of calm. The paddy fields, the beautiful lagoons, the white sands far away from the tourist- corrupted belts. Discovering how close to nature you could be. Spending time in the eco villages around Palolem, Uganda to explore fishing and marine adventures or spending time in a cabana style bamboo cottage around Agoda or Ashwem could be an interesting solo holiday- to get you the perfect unwind moments.
Diaries From Wayanad, Kerala : “Being so close to nature in Wayanad was therapeutic. I never knew I needed this detox in my life."
Feeling stressed out, exhausted, worked up and want a break? Or need a shoulder to cry on or need that pampering, that you got when you were little and the hustle of the world hadn’t consumed you. Wayanad is that lap of Mother Nature waiting to welcome you and bestow on you all the love that you longed for. Therapeutic Ayurveda to take you away from the madness into moments of bliss in this panoramic green plantation paradise. The calm, serene and quaint feels of this town will make you fall in love with yourself, and make you once again prioritise self-care. The yoga retreats and Ayurvedic therapies would are sure to give you the sense of calm that you had been seeking
Dairies From Mumbai: “A city that has witnessed a phoenix rising from the ashes- every single day”
The city is a home to dreams, desires, aspirations, ambitions, goals – a place where a lot of people come with hope in their heart and get tagged as “strugglers”. A city that showcases Darwin’s theory in real – time. Because only fittest will survive here. Only their dreams will matter. The rest would be scarred as failures for life. The city that decides your life path – whether you make it or you don’t. The hard work- the fast pace- the move on attitude breathes in this city- A city that never sleeps. A culture pot with ethnicities from across, all wanting to grow and wanting to try their luck in this gamble of ambition. Seeing real life stories & story tellers- names rising from ashes. This city grows begins to grow on you- intimidates you but at the same time also stimulates you.
Experience the real feels this city with a trip on the Mumbai local train, visit the Film city, and do spot the Bandra film star mansions - dotted by ant- like common men swarms waiting to get a sight of those who actually made it in life.
Diaries from Pondicherry: “A harmonious medley of French, Portugal and Indian culture”
For the opinionated millennial- an opposition point of view is nothing less than a threat and the graceful ability of embracing opposition is something that is still to be learnt. The city of Pondicherry proves- differences/polarisations/extremes could co-exist in harmony beautifully. This beautiful Indian city which is often called “India’s little France/Paris of the East”, has all the French vibes that still linger on from the one hundred and thirty-eight years of French reign. As you go solo-cycling around – you would be able to catch glimpses of the colonial streets, French architecture – also a visit to Auroville can also be quite interesting to have a date with your own spiritual inner self. Surrounded by lakes, splendorous beaches, churches-- Pondicherry should definitely be added to your must-do-tripping list.
Author's Note: Upasana Kochhar is a Lifestyle and Travel content creator/influencer and ex-Director Strategy at Wunderman Thompson, India.
(Edited by : Jerome Anthony)
First Published: Oct 18, 2022 8:35 AM IST