Mother, sister, daughter, wife, friend…. so many roles for a woman! I am no different! A SATH (Stay At Home Mom) who quit her successful corporate career for the family and all! Of course I love it and but of course I regret it at times as well!
In one of those periods where I sat wondering if (and hoping that) my ‘I’ has not gotten lost in this whirlwind of responsibilities, I realized that I just wanted to be ‘myself’ – maybe for a short while, away from every ‘loved’ one! Maybe, this outlet is the middle ground!
That was it! I wanted to travel and explore all by myself! ‘Myself’ meaning without any family around, so I could enjoy my trip the way ‘I like it!
But then, how to go about doing so? What about concerns for safety? Food arrangements? Travel itinerary? Local guide? Humans need company after all and I am no exception!
No Men Please!
I chanced upon this great idea! Women only travellers! Wow! It was great to find out that there were others like me, who felt the same and wanted to bring out the explorer in themselves.
A quick search on the social media revealed that there were tailor-made trips for women. After much deliberation (and great support from my family, I must add!), I zeroed on a women’s group to a wilderness camp in the idyllic Kumaon regions of Uttarakhand.
Into the hills we wander!
Oh it was so exciting and even intimidating at times to be part of a group filled with strangers. Only by the time we reached our destination, they were strangers no more! We were a queer bunch – women from different backgrounds, varying age groups, from students to artists, to teachers to office-goers and homemakers and entrepreneurs! Like a mini world aloof from the rest of the big world for these few days!
Times that flew by!
We did pretty much the things that camping trips on the beautiful hills would offer – lots of adventure activities, treks, leisurely picnic, trails, and even a brush with the locals. But with a sense of abandon, amidst girly giggles and squeals, frightened cries and excited whispers!
We were lucky enough to experience a different flavour of sightseeing with a tour into the enchanting terrace farms. The hill-folk especially local women work a helluva lot to keep the sloping fields flourishing! There we had a soul-to-soul tete-a-tete with a few local ladies. We even got invited to a local home and got to relish the local savouries and simple, but surprisingly fresh and delicious delicacies.
And there was a local Kumaoni wedding that we got to partake in. Ohhh! The celebrations of the hills are so vibrant! Loved to tap to their lilting music and dance with the colorful and graceful ladies, with the music reverberating thru the hills!
I caught up with a lot of reading, as I lay in my tent before calling it a day, every day! This was after a bonfire almost every night, where the locals would come to sing for us. The ‘gals’ got overzealous and we had a few rock-n-roll and impromptu DJ-party nights too, thanks to the wonderful digital gadgetry supplying instant music!
We were in for a surprise treat! Amidst the rustic hills, there was a well-hidden spa awaiting us on the last day! Mud spa, foot spa in a natural fish pond, aromatic therapy spa, exotic oils and a lavish massage! Ohh – the sinful and rare pampering! Felt like a queen!
My musings and takeaways…
It’s not all roses!
A gal gang is not at all about beauties out for a gala time – no sir!! Travel has the uncanny ability to pull one out of the comfort zones of everyday – home, work and familiar surroundings. Gelling with a group of strangers, more so women, is quite a task, it’s a well-known fact! So it is the perfect way to judge one’s own human interaction skills and social behaviour!
For me, it was back to school – just like the years when I studied at school and college, just a bit more complicated with set (read mature!) minded adults!
Of course, the Facebook and Instagram pics of me and my lady friends having a gala time and letting worries slip away surely created envious ripples back home and all over! I was even told that I was as inspiration, a symbol for women who are able to break free the barriers of traditional mindsets and feel rejuvenated and enlightened.
Wow, I hadn’t thought of it that way! In any case, it did wonders to my self-esteem to hear this!
All, in all, I got the quality ‘me’ time that I was looking for… and much more! I was even able to forge some wonderful friendships on my escapade!
A tip for those who are contemplating like I was….
Whether spiritual, adventurous, exploring or simply to take a chilled out vacation, gals are getting together like never before and setting the travel trails ablaze! Are you one of them?
About Sarika Aggarwal
I am a qualified software engineer with rich corporate experience in IT. A mom, who quit her job to spend more ‘we’ time with her princesses. Lucky to be able to follow her passion and give a creative vent to her thoughts via the wonderful digital medium! Exhilarated when my written words resonate with perhaps a stranger– for that is the ultimate reward for me!
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