Vasundara Singh, organizes solo travel trips exclusively for women, an inspiration for more people, especially women, to travel, and liberate one's mind. Being a woman in India where most of the women think the world is a scary place, she stands out.
“What I learnt is that it really isn't, in fact there are friends to be made every direction you turn. Even when I did scary things like jumping off cliffs, or rock climbing, had people supporting me the whole time, encouraging me, sometimes absolute strangers,” she says.
Vasundara feels the first fear people have when they think of solo travel is that they will feel a sense of loneliness. In fact it is quite the opposite; you end up making friends without even having to try. When you are alone people tend to approach and start talking to you much more easily.”
Vasundara grew up in Chennai and had very limited exposure to the rest of the world. Her brother influenced her to set off on this path. He was always quite out of the box and started to surf in Muttukadu even before there was an actual surf school. “Once you see there are choices, it is so easy to make them. Once I got a taste for adventure, now that's all that I'm chasing!,” she cherishes
There is a lot of information available online which really helped Vasundara formulate her initial ballpark budget. However, she ended up going over budget until she learned how to manage it from other travelers.
“When I first got there I was eating every meal out, going on tours that my hostel would just recommend. As time went by I learnt to start cooking my own food and negotiating with agencies for the best price, how to pick the hostel and even the bus agencies,” explains Vasundara.
Her family initially thought she was being irresponsible when she pitched the idea of solo trips. She dint lose hope and went ahead which turned out to be the best 6 months of her life.
“Not only did I come back changed from the inside, but I also started a new career in travel. I have a company - Girl With The Backpack which takes Indians to South America,” says Vasundara.
Be it the culture, geography or the language, everything will be new when you travel. Vasundra felt very bad when people would lose their patience when trying to make her understand something. Slowly she picked up a few words, gained confidence and was introduced to the wonderful world of Google translate which makes everything so easy these days.
“My favourite Country is Chile, I don't know why nobody seems to talk or know much about it. But it stretched from the arid Atacama desert in the north to the glacial Patagonia in the south. My next year plan is to go spend at least a month in Colombia and research it in depth. Once I feel confident about that country I will take people there on tours with Girls With The Backpack,” she concludes.