A Woman Alone

Experience Issue 176 Jul, 2016

Traveling, it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story teller.

You can always make money, but you can’t always make memories. Travel, for the younger set, is a part of education, and for the elder, a part of experience. While traveling, one comes across a number of people from varied backgrounds and places. 

Women are getting smart, and Nepali Travelers is giving them an opportunity to get smarter still. It is a platform for travel inspirations, and a community for travel support. It is giving opportunity to young Nepali girls to turn their dreams of traveling into reality. Nepali Travelers is a group of friends who love traveling. Their team is doing expansive solo travel in Nepal and other countries, with the goal of initiating a social movement through traveling. This community is basically empowering girls to travel alone, and enjoy a new experience. Young girls are given freedom to choose their own destination. Audacious girls are given a platform to make remembrance and recognition, and an experience to remember throughout.

Sabrina Dangol, the coordinator of Solo Women Travel, gave us further information about the travel agency they run. They want to motivate and encourage young women to explore the world in a solo and autonomous way. She told us about the program where their travel team (jury) chooses the top 10 from the top 20 participants, and encourages them to plan everything on their own. 

After registering online, participants have to research a place where they want to travel for the first time, and make a budget for a minimum of 10 days. The agency makes a pledge of providing at least 10,000 rupees to all the top 10 awardees. The top 3 awardees, ranked by popular voting, will receive full financing for their travel. 

To make people more acquainted with the program, we interviewed one of the solo travelers, Sagarika Bhatta, who became a part of Nepali Travelers, and made her plans to explore the landscape of Khaptad in the far western region of Nepal, in 2015. 

Which places did you travel to?

I traveled from Kathmandu to Ataraya to Silgadi, and then walked uphill to Baghlekh, Jhigrana, and Bichpani, and finally to Khaptad.

What one thing motivated you for going on this trip?

I don’t like people always talking about stuff like, you are a girl; you should do this and not that. As much as people say such things, the more I want to challenge their thinking. I always wanted to travel around nature, and I had already been to a few places. I think I motivated myself.

What one word comes to your head when you remember this trip?

Eye pleasing. 

What kind of experience was it?

It was adventurous, and a lifetime experience, and it helped me to build some confidence too.

Being a girl, how hard was it for you to travel alone?

Yes, it’s not easy for a girl to travel alone in our country, but we also need to think about minimizing risks that could be faced. Making friends with others who are also heading towards the same destination can help lower the risk. Well, there is risk in everything, it depends on us how wisely we tackle it.

What one suggestion would you like to give to girls who are planning to travel alone?

Choose the destinations which have a flow of trekkers, because we never know what difficulties can arise. If the destination is isolated, it’s good to take porters with you. But, still, if you are traveling solo, it’s always good to be prepared with first aid, water, food, knife, etc. for safety.

On hearing her experience about the trip, it feels wonderful to see how such women are setting an example for other girls and motivating them to take the initiative to take a step ahead.