“woh ladki jo sab se alag hai” -the girl that is different than everyone.

In a world where we are taught many conflicting ideas about what it is to be a female or how to follow status quo into being another prototype of what is acceptable in our society, it is more important than ever to set your own path. Why be used, and abused? Why be pressured to feel you need marriage or a husband to live? Why feel like you must always be of service to others, giving up your safety and happiness, so others make profit off of you in unethical ways? As a little girl, I was fed the concept of what is and what is not acceptable for Indian girls. In adulthood, I discovered the pain associated with the traditional ways of life where I felt trapped. My culture is one of double standards and gender discrimination from first hand experience. Not to say that there is anything wrong with it if that is the life you choose. I just know that at this point, in my life, healing and nourishing my soul, is a priority after what I have endured.

I consider myself a traveler and global citizen, as well as a student of life. The world is my textbook. I can pick up new languages with no trouble, well may be some mishaps! Nonetheless, traveling and exploring  our beautiful planet Earth has taught me countless languages, even if it is only few phrases or sentences, I managed to communicate with locals in whichever place I immersed myself in. Traveling taught me to have immense confidence and faith in my skills, knowledge, intuition, and abilities. It taught me to be very flexible and adaptable to any place of group of people I surround myself with.

Kelly Clarkson’s song Breakaway perfectly describes my life as if it is soundtrack of my life events thus far.

You only get one life.. make the most of it. Live, laugh, love, let go, and look beyond the horizon… You will regret the chances you did not take. I am so excited for my new journey! As a female, or anyone, male or female, but especially for women, we have to be assertive and courageous. Values my family did not teach me. They taught me to be passive, submissive, and not stand up for myself, whether it was harassment situations or stalking. Traveling, on the other hand, as a female solo traveler, taught me be brave, courageous, assertive, and I have God to thank for planting that seed in my mind that all started with a solo backpacking Europe trip. That opened doors to who I am as a woman what I am capable of. I will only accept opportunities where I am respected, loved, and treated as an equal. I am not afraid to say NO and decline anything and anyone who devalues me or my intellect. Until then, my treat to myself, to continue on the journey of being a Global citizen and being enlightened by the world. I do not mind bunk beds and long bus or train rides, I do not mind living off of free breakfast hostel food, and I certainly do not mind throwing myself into a new part of the world for me. I am very good and accepting of all of those facets of backpacking and budget travel. It is no luxury in the sense of fancy hotels or resorts with pre-decided venues. Instead, it is a luxury of expanding and forming new neuronal connections in our minds and growing as humans who have the privilege of living on planet Earth. I’m back, God. Thank you and I wish you all the very best in your journey in life. Do not be afraid to travel alone, as a male, or female. It is for a fact that the world has been a safer place for me than my own neighborhood. Be wise, alert, and follow your intuition. It never lies.

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