Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bags are packed, they're ready to go!

With violence against women on the rise, how safe is Goa for solo women travellers. Café speaks to some of them and finds out

By | 10 Jan, 2017, 09:04PM IST

Bags are packed, they're ready to go!
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It is said that solo travelling is a more fulfilling, educating and enriching experience as opposed to travelling in groups. But in a country like India, where most women struggle with safety in their routine lives, travelling solo might not be all that great an idea. Inspite of this, Goa receives a high number of backpackers and solo travellers, most of which are women, ever year. These women have managed to somehow combat the dangers and threats of a solo woman travelling in India, in exchange for that fulfilling experience or the adrenaline rush of stepping out of their comfort zone to discover a new a world out there!

Tabea Rienas quit her sales and marketing job in Germany and set herself on a journey of self-discovery about a year ago. Now, a travel blogger, Tabea has documented her journey through Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, and various places in India like Rajasthan, New Delhi, Rishikesh, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Goa, in her blog in an extremely detailed fashion. After spending a couple of months in Goa a few weeks ago, Tabea is now back in Germany with a bagful of bitter-sweet memories.

When asked about her experience of travelling in Goa, Tabea says, “After 5 months of travelling throughout India, I made my way into Goa. After spending a couple of months here, I can say that for me, Goa is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful, inspiring, and one of the most secure spots of the subcontinent that can be visited by a solo travelling woman. As with any destination, one should deal intensively with culture, history and customs, and adapt yourself - if necessary - as a matter of course. Despite all the openness and tolerance of the lovely locals, one remains a guest, and should behave accordingly and respectfully. For me, Goa is much more than a ‘party spot’. Through its stunning nature and particular culture, but above all through the hospitality, cordiality and helpfulness of the Goans, it became one of those places in this world that I would call ‘home’.”

But not all stories have happy endings. Neha Mishra, a solo traveller from Delhi had a harrowing experience of being stalked and chased in Calangute a few months ago. But that hasn’t deterred Mishra from travelling solo again. She says, “My experiences as a single woman traveller might dishearten and discourage a young girl, who wants to spread her wings and fly. But, it shouldn't. It will mean that we submit to the verbal and physical abuse men and women inflict on a woman traveller. It will only mean that the men who are stalking her and violating her space, and other women who state that it is her fault that she is travelling alone, are right in doing so. I want to see more women travelling unaccompanied.”

Solo travellers – both, men and women agree to the fact that there are examples of all kinds out there. It depends on various factors what the consequences of a particular situation may turn out to be. However, that, solo travelling can be exciting is a huge understatement. So if you’re on the fence about travelling alone, take that long pending solo trip and it is sure to inspire you.