Solo Travel Question: What Happens If Something Goes Wrong?

Solo Travel: Solo Trekking in Himalayas

The above image is during my solo trek to Serolsar Lake, Himachal.

Conversations about the pros and cons of solo travel keeps happening around me. Naturally because I travel solo. And all sorts of random places I land up solo – religious events, cycling in the countryside and recently trekking the himalayas. A lot of people look at me curiously and some of them make some comments (some surprised exclamation) and even fewer start a conversation.

It usually starts with ‘Why are you solo?’ or ‘You are solo :O?’ and then moves to other aspects.

Especially in India, it almost always touches upon the safety aspect.

Note that I don’t mean safety from sexual violence perspective. Because I have spent a lot of time in parts of India which are safe in that regards. I mean as safe as it gets (it’s never totally safe anywhere IMHO). I don’t have to worry about my fundamental safety here. In fact I have even been in places (for example Himalayas and Coorg) where people have told, “arey, yahaan aisa sab nahin hota. Jahaan jaana hain jaao” (here such stuff doesn’t happen, go where ever you want).

So, one of the recurrent themes in this conversation,

“While travelling solo, anything might happen – like you may fall sick or slip or get stranded, wouldn’t it be better to have someone with you?”Continue reading

Spiti Valley: Meeting High Himalayas, Travel Guide

Spiti Valley High Mountains

योगीश्वराय महादेवाय त्रयंबकाय त्रिपुरान्तकाय
त्रिकाग्नि कालाय कालाग्नि रुद्राय नीलकण्ठाय मृत्युञ्जयाय सर्वेश्वराय सदाशिवाय
महादेवाय नमः महादेवाय नमः महादेवाय नमः

I have explored various parts of the Himalayas in India. The chardham in Uttarakhand, gardens and lakes of Kashmir, Buddhist ambience of Sikkim, amazing hospitality of Himachalis – the diversity and mountain environment make a rich experience. I have also been to high altitude places a few times but it was only in Spiti that I truly got acquainted with the ‘high’ Himalayas.

This was a trip where I spent 4 days completely in over 10000 ft. Snow clad peaks became common sight. To the extent that after 3 days, we even stopped clicking pics all the time, because every where we looked was a picture worthy, totally fantastic view.Continue reading

Impact Of My First Solo Cycling & Camping Trip: Why Travel?

I had jotted down this post after my first solo cycling and camping trip from Berlin to Copenhagen. This was after many months of that trip – so I am not talking about the euphoria right after the trip. In fact right after the trip, I was heartbroken because I didn’t want to stop the cycle touring or camping at all. And I felt bleak because in India I don’t have adequate infrastructure or social situation to go on such trips.

I am publishing this post now, because I have a whole second level post that jumps a whole new level. But that post is still in making. I need to articulate first, then write and then publish. The changes that happened after my second cycling trip to Australia, Taiwan and Tamil Nadu were a whole different gear.

But for now….. this…. 🙂Continue reading

Fun Ways For A Traveller To Learn A Language Like Mandarin for Taiwan

Learn A Language

In India, regional languages have taken second place to English wherever people have the option. This helps us tremendously in work fields and makes our working force internationally viable. But it does put us behind in retaining culture especially in urban areas, compared to a lot of these societies like Taiwan, Japan, China and even many of the European countries like Germany and France.

When I visited Taiwan in Oct, 2016 I looked at the lack of English language as a very good thing, as this allows true global diversity. But it of course creates challenges for us travellers. And I was solo-cycling for a few days, so that led to some specific difficulties too. Here are some fun ideas on how we travellers can learn a language. Continue reading

13 Black And White Photos Of European Cities

I recently have a new found love – Black and White photos! It started with an impromptu black and white Taiwan Street Photography series. And couple of weeks back I started a series on European cities on Instagram. The idea was to create vintage type shots of a common city scene. Not particularly landmarks or sight seeing spots but just common, day to day scenes of the city in black and white. I really enjoyed this series. Let me know what you think.

And for you blog readers I am putting in one exclusive photo in this post, which is not on instagram. Yay! 😀

A random street of Buda hill, Budapest in the (late) Summer of 2015. #blackandwhite

A post shared by Priyanka Dalal (@priyankawriting) on

Continue reading

Taipei River Bike Path : For Cyclists, Walkers, Travellers et al.

Taipei River Bike Path Map

when I started searching out cycling routes in and around Taipei, I found a lot of mentions about the Taipei river bike path. And I loved it! I was fascinated on having such amazing infrastructure for cyclists, so easily accessible and right in the middle of a capital city! This bike path is still a work in progress and possibly because of that, most of the write ups don’t elucidate enough. So here is a detailed write on this river bike path.

Taipei River Bike Path Map
A view of Taipei city. Note the various River channels in the city. That’s where the River Bike path is.

Bike Paths or Bike Path? As seen in the map above of Taipei city, the entire stretch of River banks have got bike paths. Different sections of this path have individual names depending on the landmarks nearby etc… So you often come across maps of each section of bike path. But these are not separate paths – they are all one long, continued stretch of bike path. Probably 200+km long. Maybe earlier the bike paths were separate and hence, it is more common to find separate maps for each section. But since it is all connected now, it becomes an amazing ride for a cyclist looking to ride long distance within the city itself.Continue reading

Cycling In Different Corners Of The World

Buy Or Rent A Cycle

I prefer slow, immersive travel experiences. In the Summer of 2015 I went on my first trip to Europe, and tried out solo cycle touring. It was amazing and I found it very well suited for my tastes. Since then I have been on more cycling adventures in other countries and within India too. Writing details about these trips is time consuming and it typically happens only after the trip is over. Sometimes I get caught up with other stuff then it doesn’t happen at all. So, I have created this post to quickly jot down notes. As and when I write detailed blog posts I will link back here, so this becomes one big repository of my cycling experiences.

Also added articles on cycling gear, other logistical stuff and interviews with cyclists, they have been listed right at the end. All trips are solo unless otherwise stated.Continue reading

Kalaghoda Arts Festival, Mumbai

A few pictures from the Kalaghoda Arts Festival 2017 & a quick note on how to best experience it. These are overall my thoughts about how this festival can be experienced. If you want to go there to take your photographs with the installations then I suggest you do that along with other more immersive ways of experiencing this.

How To Best Experience The Kalaghoda Arts Festival

Check the schedule online. There is a whole gamut of events from movies, plays, music programs, workshops, talks and so on. A lot of them are completely free. So look at which of these events interest you and go for them. When you visit to attend the event, at the same time you can keep some extra time and look at the art installations and visit the myriad stalls too.

Art Installations:

Try to immerse yourself in the art installations by reading what they depict. Participate in the interactive ones. They are not always great, but it is still interesting to see them. The groups behind some of those installations can be interesting too.Continue reading

Should You Buy Or Rent A Cycle For Long Distance Touring?

Buy Or Rent A Cycle

Considering a long distance cycling tour? If it is around your home city then you probably have access to a good cycle. But what if it is somewhere else – maybe a different country or even a different continent! Would you fly your cycle with you or should you buy or rent a cycle once you get to the new place?

When I cycled Berlin to Copenhagen in 2015 I bought a second hand cycle in Berlin. In my second trip to Australia and Taiwan – I flew my cycle from India to these countries. I wrote a blog post on Taking your Cycle via Airplane (Mostly for Indians). There are two points that I forgot to write in this blog post. One is about the costs involved – I will write about that soon. Second I am covering in this post : Why Fly a Cycle at all? Why not just buy or rent a cycle from a city near your long distance route? Here are my thoughts on the same,

Should You Buy or Rent a Cycle ?

Continue reading