Monday, October 29, 2007

The Solo Vacation Tag

Mahogany tagged me with this beautiful tag decades ago and I have finally gotten around to doing it. The tag simply asks you to write about which is the one place in the world that you would like to go for a solo vacation.

Now, the reason I've had some trouble with this 'solo vacation' thing is that I am one of those who hasn't even ever gone to watch a movie alone. It's not like I can't - in fact, at times, I think it might be better to go for a movie alone. And I do like my alone time when I'm reading a book or jogging or whatever - but there are just some things I feel are better done with someone to share it with.

Perhaps this is only a phase in my life. Maybe sometime in the future, I will grab a backpack and say 'Ok, bye' and take off for a solo vacation somewhere. It's just that right now, with a three-month-old at home, there are currently enough adventures and discoveries that take place everyday and I just don't want to 'get away from it all' as some of my non-mother friends seem to think necessary.

Anyway, meandering back to the point. Where would I go if I had to take a solo vacation?

Well, I've always wanted to go to Corfu, ever since I've read Gerald Durrell's most famous series - My Family and Other Animals & Birds, Beasts and Relatives & The Garden of the Gods. I haven't been to that many places in Europe but the next time I go there, I'm going to make sure I do go to Greece and I hope to see the warm, colourful, beautiful island where Durrell spent his happy childhood years. I know I may be setting myself up for a fall because I remember reading that Durrell was most upset in later life about the fact that the popularity of his books turned Corfu into a tourist destination - and the commercialisation left it a changed place, resulting in its losing its original charm.

But it's funny - of late, I've been thinking a lot about how much there is unexplored - by me, and many people I know -within our own country. My mother was posted in Shillong year before last, and a lot of people, family and friends went to visit her and had a fabulous time with her - but Vijay and I were 'too busy with work' to take a few days off and do this. Pretty stupid, huh. The North-East is just one part of the country I haven't been to - whenever I've gone travelling for work to different parts of the country, it's often ended up being a dumb day trip and I've rarely seen anything apart from the inside of the hotels or the conference rooms. The time off I've had in the last few months has really made me think about how silly this has been.

This was driven home for me last month when I was watching a tourism advertisement on a travel channel and I was like 'Wow! What a beautiful place! I need to go there!' - and felt pretty idiotic when it turned out to be India. ( Hey, they didn't do the regular Elephants and People in Turbans thing - just showed a lot of landscape, sea, forests and all! Not my fault!)

But finally, the thing that has really been bothering me most of late - I've realized that it's been around 15 years since I saw a sky full of stars. I've always lived in cities - Delhi, Bangalore and Bombay - and you just can't see the stars from here, anymore. It was only as a kid, when we visited our family friends in the hilly little town of Dharampur, that I remember looking up and seeing what appeared to be millions of stars. I remember just staring up in complete awe for the longest time. It was a truly beautiful sight.

I then proceeded to forget about it for so many years - but it came and hit me like a ton of bricks recently that I just don't get to see the stars anymore! So this tag should have been relatively simple for me - I just want to get to any place where I can see the stars. And I mean, LOTS of them.

I have taken to jogging at night over the last few weeks in Delhi, and every night I look up and mournfully count the five stars that are visible over the city. And I realize that this is the one thing I want to make sure I do as soon as possible. Get an eyeful of millions of stars, at least one more time. And wherever I happen to be when I finally see this is where I will want to be most when I see it. That, my friends, is a ridiculous sentence, but I suspect you know what I mean.

In the meantime, I try and make do with the fact that the evening sky looked sorta pretty the other day as I looked out my window. Here's a picture.

And here's what Mahogany wrote when he started the tag. He blogged about his trip in the two subsequent posts.

Shome - since you're blogging again, I tag you to write about your Tabo trip and post some of those fabulous pictures.
Ganju - keep having those exciting weekends in the U.S. and telling us about them. Just sort of bung them in between your usual descriptions of your laundry, toilet paper and vending machines (Sheesh).

Anyone else who wants to do this tag, please feel free to take it up and tell us all about it. Don't worry, you can make it as meandering and introspective as I have. Tell us what you're thinking. And how do you feel about living in the city that you live in ?And I'm especially interested to know when and where was the last time you saw a sky full of stars.

Last, but not least, I'm curious -have you ever gone on a solo vacation? Heck, have you ever gone to watch a movie alone? Gone out to eat in a restaurant alone? What are the advantages you've found?

A lot of questions, but an inquiring mind wants to know. Do tell.


  1. I totally get what you mean about stars. I miss that too. The most amazing night sky I've seen in my whole life was in a forest outside a little village in New Zealand. But you need not go that far. Even if you drive an hour or so out of Delhi (late at night, no cloud or fog please) you get to see plenty of stars. Obviously the farther from people you are, the better.

    Too bad you missed Shillong. It is really lovely. I won't say more because it will just make you feel worse.

    I really like the Corfu idea. I had no clue you are a Durrell reader!

    And when you do start working, you'll remember to appreciate travel. That was actually something I learned from Vijay, and his stories of driving through MP. Remind him to tell you his Dalda story, in case he has not already done that.

    In the meantime, you can take a look at my pictures from my last India trip. Will send you link via Facebook message.

  2. I know what you mean. Forget solo weekend - even the idea of a couple holiday without Ayaan seems beyond strange...

  3. hmmmm - well first of all - are you not enjoying my laundry, toilet paper and vending machine stories??? fineeee. on the bright side i do have 2 more trips planned before the end of the year - neither of them solo - but they will hopefully be blogworthy.

    and yes, i have watched armageddon alone (don't ask why!!) and i have been on 2 short solo vacations - 3 days in malaysia and a day in monaco. and yes, eating alone is fairly common if you don't cook and live alone - bah.

  4. nope, i've never taken a holiday by myself, what would the point of the holiday be if you can't share it with family or friends?
    but i have lunched alone, and sometimes it's the best ever. it used to scare me earlier, going to a restaurant alone, and eat by myself - but i got up the courage once, took a book along, incase i got bored and you know what? i had a fantastic time. i realized i enjoy my own company and once in every while, i love having a meal by myself. sometimes i'll take hana along, but she cna't make conversation yet, so it's all good.
    movie no, because hell, i need to talk and discuss the movie with someone. it would kill me to talk about it (during or after) with someone who didn't watch it or watch it WITH me, you know?

  5. Solo vacation. What an idea. Just the thought of it makes me so happy ! The possibilities ! Hawaii, being a beach bum, learning to surfboard !

    If only. Sigh.

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  7. I'll take up this tag, I think. Oh, you have to read 'Marrying Off Mother'. Written much later, but part of the series.

  8. Sure I have seen a movie alone - I saw Black by myself at Globus...great fun! And then, this one time, M and I were supposed to go for Neel and Nikki and then we had a he went off to sulk in the other room...and I took BOTH THE TICKETS and went off to watch it by myself...even greater fun!! Eaten alone...sure, many times!

    Holiday by myself - the only thing that comes close is this work trip to Jaiselmer where I was pretty much by myself. I love the place though it is of course quite phirang touristy.

    Sky-full of stars - I don't know...I don't remember. Goa last month, Delhi/Gurgaon - were there stars or I just didn't notice...I don't know. I am a sad, sad individual.

    Sikkim is on my list but M has convinced me that doing it with Adi is a bad idea - too rough.

    Greece is planned for next year for us too! And Turkey too.

    But if I were to go on a solo vacation - I'd like to go for a rock festival...3-4 days of good music...bliss!

  9. hola.. you got me reminiscing about nainital from where the sky appeared to be blanketed with stars. truly amazing sight and indeed i haven't seen such a sky since either. so go to nainital!

  10. Solo trips...hmmm...not so far. I enjoy traveling with my partner. I have blogged about it on :
    Our best trip was Ladakh covered in 2005. The more recent of the trips where we saw a zillion stars were the beach trips to Alibag and Ganapatipule which are weekend getaways from Mumbai.

    On eating alone at a restaurant...when alone, I prefer picking up a parcel from a restaurant rather than sit in a lonely corner and eat away, with the onlookers wondering 'y on earth....:)

    Y, I like reading your blog.I do visit it often. And Peanut, yes of course, is such a doll.
    Cheers :)


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