Violet Summer Zine Issue 3 - Page 18

TRAVELING ALONE B y australian travel writer N ina K arnikowski So there I was. I’d just arrived in the yoga capital of the world - Rishikesh in India, where The Beatles famously found enlightenment – and already I was in floods of tears. I’d taken an 18-hour overnight bus there. It was old, it was cramped, it was overcrowd- ed, and I barely got one hour’s sleep. When I finally got to Rishikesh, my tuk-tuk driver promised to take me to the ashram I was meant to be staying at, then dropped me in town instead. I’d lugged my swollen suitcase across the metre-wide Laxman Jhula bridge, crammed with beggars, motorbikes, cows, and hordes of Indian tourists, in the 100-degree midday sun. I reached the other side only to be told I’d have to take a seven-minute taxi to the ashram, that would cost me more than the entire overnight bus trip... And with that, the tears. Tears that didn’t manage to get me a discount on the taxi, but that did make me realize how much I needed the week by myself in that place of spiritual reflection. I’ve shed a lot of these kinds of tears over the past seven years. Ever since I launched into the travel writing world and started adventuring from Russia to India, Zambia to Morocco, Chile to Peru and beyond, all by myself. I call them the ‘lone traveler tears,’ brought on by those moments of fear, frustration, and loneliness that the solo adven- turer so often feels. But, over time, I’ve started to cry less often. Because I’ve developed four golden rules that I use whenever I hit the road alone, to avoid being ripped off or taken advantage of. First up, I make sure that I always look confident, even when I’m not. If you look 18