About Upasana Kakati
Upasana Kakati is a solo female traveller and blogger from Assam in India. After quitting her job to pursue full-time blogging, she decided to settle in Delhi and currently works as a freelance content writer and creator. Upasana has been a travel blogger for four years and publishes her travel stories at www.unconventionalandvivid.com
Solo female budget traveller
- Do you always travel on your own?
80% of the time I travel on my own but remaining 20% remains collaboration-based travel or with family and friends. I enjoy travelling alone because it gives me a new challenge and allows me to experience a place at my own pace.
- Would you prefer to be a budget traveller (backpacker) or anormal tourist?
I am more of a budget traveller or backpacker. I do not fancy staying in expensive places but rather homestays, use public transport wherever possible, and save on unnecessary expenditure.
- How do you manage your budget while travelling?
I manage the budget by planning things in advance and doing my research on rough expenditure. I prefer staying in hostels or homestays as it helps in significantly cutting down cost, prepare meals whenever possible, and at times join a group to travel to distant places where public transport is not available. However, I plan my budget in advance and keep a little extra money just in case.
- Which country is your favourite and why?
India remains to be my favourite country so far of all the countries I have travelled to. India is so diverse, and it is not only culture and heritage but so much beyond that. The grandeur of Himalayas, hidden corners of North East India, and the amalgamation of diverse culture, tribes, and architecture in India never fail to amaze me.
- What attracts you more – culture, nature, or adventure?
Culture and nature are two things that I am highly fascinated with. The reason I loved India is because the culture across every state – in fact, in every district of a state is different from each other. I have not tried much of adventure yet except for high altitude trekking and river rafting but would love to do so in near future.
A solo female traveller and her experiences
- Do you make more new friends when travelling as a solo traveller than you would if you were with a companion?
Travelling solo means you are never alone. Solo travelling has helped me make friends from across the globe and it is amazing how you connect with your tribe. It does not necessarily have to be a lifelong lasting friendship but all that matters is you learn from your experience and be present in the moment.
- Which countries have you travelled to as a solo traveller?
I have travelled to Bhutan, Cambodia, Thailand and Sri Lanka as a solo traveller.
- Have you experienced any problems as a solo female traveller?
Nothing major but you do get a lot of unsolicited advice and unwanted stares with the backpack tapped to your back. I have always found people to be helpful but at times there are some rotten apples in the basket. I was followed by some local guys in Pondicherry and disturbed for selfies. However, after I warned them of reporting to the police, they fled the scene.
The first solo travel
- How did you convince your parents for travelling solo?
It was a long process, indeed a battle to convince my parents for travelling solo. I found my epiphany and tryst with traveling after trekking to Roopkund, also my first time embarking on a journey on my own with 20 other strangers. I wanted to see more of the world because I realised, I spent 26 years of my life not exploring anything beyond my comfort zone.
My parents could not understand the whole concept of travelling solo, of course it was alien to them, and they cared for my safety. I guess it was my stubbornness and my dedication towards my blog that convinced them that I could do it on my own. Well, it took two years of battle to finally make them understand that travel blogging is an unconventional career path.
No loneliness one her trip for solo female traveller
- Do you ever feel lonely travelling alone?
Nope, I never feel lonely travelling alone. I am more of a selectively extrovert but mostly introvert person. Moreover, I enjoy my own company and mostly working while travelling, so never really get time to feel alone. Plus, I dig for solitude.
- Do you feel embarrassed when eating alone in a restaurant while travelling?
No, not at all. In fact, I have eaten in countless restaurants all by myself. Travelling solo helped me get out of my comfort zone and eating alone is a part of it.
- What safety precautions do you take when travelling solo?
I take care of the basics – do a little bit of research about the place, sort my accommodation beforehand mostly, and try not to venture alone at night. I keep my family posted about my location and whereabouts, and I go with gut feeling most of the time.
Best and worst thing about travelling solo
- What is the best thing about travelling solo?
It allows you to see the world at my own pace, move out of my comfort zone, and know about cultures and things you had no clue about. It pushed me to be more confident and a better version of myself. At the same time, it made me self-sufficient and fuelled my creativity to write.
- What is the worst thing about travelling solo?
It is expensive at times because there is no one to share the price of the accommodation or conveyance when you are on your own. And there is really no one to take your pictures and setting up the tripod is not really a convenient option all the time.
Not a digital nomad
- Are you a full-time traveller (a digital nomad)? If yes, please share some insights.
Not a digital nomad and do not really intend to become one. However, I prefer travelling to a place for longer time like a month or two and then come back, work, save and repeat. Honestly, I cannot live out of a backpack because I am someone who needs a home to come back to. Yes, I pursue full time travel blogging.
The 8th wonder for solo female traveller
- Has a country’s COVID-19 policy influenced your international travel plans?
Yes, it did. I planned to travel to Nepal and Myanmar last year and this year I had plans for Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan). But COVID-19 foiled all my plans. However, it’s in a good way as it gives me time to slow travel across India and get to know my own country better.
- If the world had eight wonders, according to you which would be the eighth of all those you have visited?
The Living Root Bridges of Meghalaya would definitely be the 8th Wonder according to me. I was in awe when I saw these bridges for the first time. The Khasi tribe weaves together the roots of these bridges to form suspension bridges in middle of dense forest and village to mostly cross streams. It indeed is such an abundant bounty of nature.
- Among the countries that you have visited so far, which typical cuisine has been your favourite and why?
I loved Thai curry and when it comes to the street food of Thailand, it is unbeatable and amazingly cheap. The aroma of fresh herbs from the Thai curry still brings water to my mouth. Well, to be honest, I have always loved authentic Assamese cuisine (Assam is one of the states in India). I guess that compares to nothing for me.
Problems for single rooms
- Do you agree that solo travellers usually have to pay a single supplement for some hotels?
I have not paid extra for staying single but yes, it is mostly difficult to find single rooms. Most hotels have double bed and bigger rooms, and you have to pay for the entire room. This is why I mostly prefer staying in hostels or homestays.
- What would you anticipate in your first vacation travel sport?
I would be super excited. I really want to learn how to ski and perhaps someday I will. Oh! There would be a lot of anxiousness and excitement, a little bit of fear from falling. But I anticipate I would learn anyway irrespective of the fear and nervousness.
Author: Joydeep Phukan (The Gypsy Chiring)