In my head, I like to think of myself as a kickass girl and a traveller and all that. So it was getting quite embarrassing for me to confess that:
1) I have never been on an impromptu trip
2) I have never ventured out on a trip as a solo traveller
3) Brace yourselves for this one… I have never visited Goa. Yes, this is where you gasp and exclaim “What!” in disbelief.
Two days before my 24th birthday (earlier in July this year), I resolved it was about time I changed these embarrassing facts. So on Monday afternoon, I decided to leave for a 5-day-long solo trip to Goa, which would begin on Wednesday morning.
It took a bit of convincing for my parents to agree to send their daughter “all alone, for so many days to an unknown place!” It sounded like I wanted to go fight in a war or something. But I crossed the hurdle and had my dad book a one-way train ticket to Goa. One-and-a-half-days later saw me with a backpack, on Mumbai station at 5.30 in the morning, waiting for my train to arrive! What followed were the most unique 5 days of my life.
The first few of hours into the journey, I’ll confess, I was pretty nervous about it all. Especially, since I was in the half-filled last coach of the train, with only a bunch of Muslim uncles who were conversing with each other in hushed voices. And then there was the chatter of the railways boys, as the pantry coach was adjacent to mine. It did start with a scary me, but thanks to a book I carried along, I busied myself in reading, which helped me recompose myself. In the next couple of hours, I was comfortable and confident.
North Goa welcomed me with light rain showers and cheap prices, thanks to the off season. I found myself trusting the rickshawallas for accommodation suggestions more than TripAdvisor. After a tired, boring, rainy first evening, I was actually dreading birthday calls that would begin from midnight. After answering most of them in a drowsy state and a good night’s sleep later, I was ready for Goa.
I met up with a French tourist, Romain (whom I had interacted through CouchSurfing), and we set off on the quintessential two-wheeler. Birthday was great – visited the beaches, got all soaked in the rain – and ended in a karaoke bar (a bit more here.) In the following two days, I visited more beaches and forts, drank some, danced some, and stayed out at the beach till 5.30 in the morning.
I forgot to book my return ticket in all the fun, and had to return by a bus in a horrid 16-hour bus ride (due to landslides in Ratnagiri). We’ll leave that as a story for a different day.
By the end of it all, I was ecstatic about having crossed the three nagging items off my list. Now, Goa
purposefully crops up frequently in my conversations, and I nonchalantly proclaim, “Of course I’ve been to Goa.” Oh, and I also had fun flashing my legs to over half of Goa!
Put a solo trip on your must-do list. Now!