“It’s funny how you have to sit in a train, a bus and a jeep, travel hundreds of kilometres to a remote location without cellphone network, to enjoy your own company. But there certainly is something special about travelling by yourself. Right now, as I sit in my cosy hotel room, having just finished a plate of some strange pasta, twirled around to my music, spent hours looking at the clouds slowly pass by and the sun retiring behind the grand rock structures of Spiti, I can actually sense a physical feeling of lightness. I’m just…happy.”
-An excerpt from my journal . Kaza, August 2014
How it all unfolded : after a short holiday in Kasol with my friends, I decided it was time to tackle the bucket list. Handing over some extra luggage, I split ways and made the journey from Bhuntar to Manali. It was only a quick pit stop before the next bus ride to Kaza, Spiti.
The next morning, the hotel cab driver who dropped me to the bus stop seemed awfully concerned that I was going to brave a 13 hour bumpy ride through the mountains. When I explained I was on a budget he arranged for me to get a seat on a shared cab. People being nice to you is always a good start!
The drive was breathtaking in a way that I wasn’t prepared for. Landscapes seamlessly changing from lush green to rocky brown, dotted with gushing waterfalls that our driver navigated through with ease. I stocked up on some woollens since I had none, and also befriended fellow adventurers who were heading the same way. By evening we were hotel hunting in Kaza and by 9pm, tucked into our respective beds, knocked out from all the travelling.
The next two days were spent exploring in and around Kaza. There’s not much to do in Kaza, and Spiti on the whole is a quiet, mellow experience, not meant for those looking for a packed itinerary. For me, it was the ideal holiday: visiting the world’s highest post office at 14,400 ft was the highlight of the trip! I only managed to post two postcards, since I didn’t know any more addresses by heart. On the drive from Hikkim to Komic, another item was struck off the bucket list: travelling atop a jeep in the mountains (Yes movies have quite an impact on my life!)
Although there weren’t too many places to visit, the distance between each was quite a bit, so we spent the entire day driving from one little town to another, getting back to our hotel room just in time to enjoy the sunset over some lemon tea.
After using the paid wifi in a nearby hotel, to touch base with family and friends, it was time to retire for the night. And only when I shut the door to my room did I realize, I was completely by myself, no network on my cellphone, no friends to call. Just me, in my own company. And it was in that moment that I knew why I made this trip. To drown out the background noise that one is always engulfed in, and listen, really listen to your own voice. I was so glad I decided to undertake the solo adventure, it definitely isn’t going to be my last!