#Kasol This was a trip I took on impulse. The pandemic was a total spoiler, cancelling all my 2020 travel plans one after other. Group tours were getting cancelled and friends weren’t willing to accompany as government was laying more stern covid rules for travelers. And not traveling for almost an year was frustrating me inside out. And so I decided now to travel alone. The idea was bit scary but exciting at the same time. However I decided to push aside the negative thoughts to the back of my mind and start off on my own. Initially I was planning to do the Leh-Ladakh and then it changed to Chadar Trek, but none worked out however I was holding valid tickets for #HimachalPradesh. I decided to experience SNOWFALL.
The first time I traveled by myself was in my early 20’s. Desperate to escape home & always an impulsive decision maker I had decided to travel and feel the outside world. Those days for someone as dreamy as me, without mobile or Google, I could only imagine the beautiful world from the bollywood movies. And thus I had fled to Himachal Pradesh.
For some reason, then too I was totally fearless to explore what’s to come next.Having lived and survived a childhood utterly hurt, disappointed, criticized and fired, nothing else in the future life felt any challenging ever. And now as I am in my 40’s I am less fussy, free-spirited and fiercely independent. Also I was now not too nervous, shy or any concerned about what others thought of me. I guess I have lived long enough to realise that unexpected events happen for a reason and should be of nobody’s bother.. The more I traveled, I got reinforced with a positive self-esteem making me more and more confident and fearless.Of course, you don’t have to be on a personal self-help journey like I was the first time. Anonymity is a powerful tool when you’re in a brand new place u have never been before. Basically, no one knows who you are, so live and breathe in that experience.
The flight travel contained a lot of anxiety, wondering if I would clear all the covid rules at the airport however I arrived smoothly and spent almost half a day within the airport, made friends with the airport security, the prepaid taxi counters, the snack counters, and by the evening one of whom guided me through the underground metro to my bus station. This person kept a track on my safety till I returned back home after my trip. The supreme power has invisible ways of guarding you at all times..While traveling single, one of the great things that you realise is goodness and kindness does prevail and it restores your faith in humanity. Met some amazing co-travellers who chatted away for hours about their careers, futures, plans, childhood stories and so on.
After a night long bus journey, I arrived in @HimachalPradesh, The Land of Gods. The bus dropped us a little away from my actual destination. Hopped onto a local bus, drive of an hour, and finally arrived at @KASOL or say the Little Israel of India.For me a Paradise on Earth, for here is where I met the most amazing friends who made home in my heart for life.
When I finally arrived my destination, I was full of anxiety about the kind of people I will be meeting and will be with for the next ten days. I had my sightseeing tours all mapped out – KASOL, TOSH, MANALI & KASOL again. However, I had absolutely no idea, that my next few days were to decide the fate of my trip. The Himachalis have such warmth which I never experienced in all my earlier travels.This person from the camping agency met up with me, and we walked, infact a mini hike towards the camp location. This camping location sits atop, admist several beautiful hills offering spectacular views of the neighbouring valleys. I felt content like arriving home away from home.
Every morning I would wake up to the charm of an enchanting Deodar trees that surrounded the camping area. One such morning I woke into an absolute wonderland, covered by a thick blanket of snow. The tents, the trees, the mountains everywhere, everything was covered in snow. Every evening we would sit by a bonfire at the camp during night time singing, laughing, talking. By we, I am referring to my new found friends, the locals and the staff from the camping location. I honestly felt so safe and happy here. I learned about compassion, how people can be so accepting, hospitable and courteous – even to strangers. Every passing day, I was becoming inseparable from the place and people.
After a comfortable two days of relaxing, I joined for the Kheerganga Trek led by two amazing people from the camp and who were to become my friends in future. The trek was all the more difficult due to the paths being slippery due to snow turned into ice, however will truly remain a memorable experience for me, given me the feeling of Alice in Wonderland.
The fourth day was descending, the fifth day I was to leave for Tosh as per my itenarary. Tosh is a quaint village near Barsheni which is the base to start the Kheerganga Trek. However having done Kheerganga already, dropped Tosh and spend the day totally relaxing, explored the jungles near the camping site by myself. Everyday spending hours amongst the Deodar trees in the jungle was a beautiful pastime I thoroughly enjoyed. By the end of my holidays it was like I knew every tree in the jungle. I spoke to them every day and wanted them to remember me and miss me when I m gone.
The sixth day as per the itenarary, with a heavy heart I had to leave Kasol to spend the year end at Manali@HimachalPradesh. Last few days with the Kasol Gang of new friends like family, had been out of the world, having explored the craziest and unimaginables, I found a new me, like a child who had been locked for days had found freedom, a sort of Nirvana.
The Journey from Kasol to Manali was extremely heart breaking, the feeling of separation was heart-wrenching and I wasn’t prepared for it.Kasol to Manali is 2 hr 50 min (75.7 km). Arrived at Manali by noon, met up with my travel aide, a sweet girl, though having completed her engineering, travel being her favourite passion turned into a independent travel consultant. We went to the famous Mall Road, often referred as the heart of the town is a famous street of Manali. Spend the entire evening by myself exploring the shops & eateries, snuggled into a restaurant, quiet and cozy and treated myself to a delightful chicken sizzler. The evening was getting chilly and so we returned to our abode at the high end of the street. I found Manali to be an extremely crowded place, very commercial and noisy as compared to Kasol. I had chosen this stay for its very happening evenings with live music, live barbeque to suit the year end celebrations. However I wasn’t enjoying any of it without my Kasol friends and hence retired to my room early to sleep. The night was not at all comforting and I kept tossing and turning till I finally came to a decision.
Thus on the 7th day, I was back in Kasol by 7.30am, barging into their tents, surprising everyone still in their sleep with my glee. Another four days were spent like they were the last days of my life. The last day of the year was rather tragic as for celebrations, because the electrical power supply was sort of damaged and we had to do without music and hence New Year 2021 came in rather quietly but yet with plenty of love and hopes.I came across so many people in this trip who made the trip for me more than I thought it would be.
Rightly said that ‘Life is made up of a collection of moments that are not ours to keep’ and so my days in Kasol ended here.
And I am so happy that my solo travel experience has been an extremely amazing, empowering experience that I am now so much more motivated to continue doing so.
Also having shared the challenges and triumphs I have experienced, I hope I will be encouraging other women to embark on their own life changing solo adventures.