Raksha Nagaraj – Solo Traveller

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There is no rule that Boss Girls have to be mothers or wives or any set norm as such. My Boss Girls are Women; Strong, Independent women who have or are rather overcoming their own personal inhibitions, limitations, societal norms to follow their heart. Trust me, personal battles – the one between the heart and the mind are the most difficult. Raksha Nagaraj is one such girl. Her story reads easy. You think, “Eh, no big deal.” But a big deal it is. Her profile on Instagram reads like this: Indian Traveller | 26 Countries and 6 Continents | Solo Traveller | Rumi | Photographer. Has 3055 followers from all over the world and counting. 

Read her story, her zubaani. You might just be inclined to get, set and go 🙂

  1. Go on, Raksha. Tell me how you got here. Trust me, I am completely baffled and in awe of you, not as a friend but as a Solo Woman Traveller. How did it all start?

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My story is simple. I am an Indian girl who is trying to live her life on her own terms. A girl who is trying to pursue her passion for travel. A girl who travels the World solo (mostly) and takes good pictures of herself in amazing locations. A girl who shares her travel stories and pictures through her travel blog –www.solopassport.com. A girl who has a supporting family who supports her with every decision she makes. A girl who has it all – freedom to travel, freedom to work and freedom to do whatever she wants.

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Well honestly, my story is not that simple and I did not reach this stage of my life with a silver spoon in my mouth.  I had many challenges that I had to overcome to get to where I am. It is easy to fight the world but it is very difficult if you have to fight with yourself to break the barriers.

Like every other Indian daughter, I was pampered and protected too, to such an extent that I had no exposure to the outside world whatsoever. I had always lived with my family and someone else had made decisions for me throughout my life. I was so naive that I had once asked if I needed a passport to travel from one city to the other within India.

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THE BOSSES

Edit“The Bosses”

Raksha Nagaraj

Solo Passport | Photographer | Business Analyst

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There is no rule that Boss Girls have to be mothers or wives or any set norm as such. My Boss Girls are Women; Strong, Independent women who have or are rather overcoming their own personal inhibitions, limitations, societal norms to follow their heart. Trust me, personal battles – the one between the heart and the mind are the most difficult. Raksha Nagaraj is one such girl. Her story reads easy. You think, “Eh, no big deal.” But a big deal it is. Her profile on Instagram reads like this: Indian Traveller | 26 Countries and 6 Continents | Solo Traveller | Rumi | Photographer. Has 3055 followers from all over the world and counting. 

Read her story, her zubaani. You might just be inclined to get, set and go 🙂

  1. Go on, Raksha. Tell me how you got here. Trust me, I am completely baffled and in awe of you, not as a friend but as a Solo Woman Traveller. How did it all start?

025A0587

My story is simple. I am an Indian girl who is trying to live her life on her own terms. A girl who is trying to pursue her passion for travel. A girl who travels the World solo (mostly) and takes good pictures of herself in amazing locations. A girl who shares her travel stories and pictures through her travel blog –www.solopassport.com. A girl who has a supporting family who supports her with every decision she makes. A girl who has it all – freedom to travel, freedom to work and freedom to do whatever she wants.

025A6629

Well honestly, my story is not that simple and I did not reach this stage of my life with a silver spoon in my mouth.  I had many challenges that I had to overcome to get to where I am. It is easy to fight the world but it is very difficult if you have to fight with yourself to break the barriers.

Like every other Indian daughter, I was pampered and protected too, to such an extent that I had no exposure to the outside world whatsoever. I had always lived with my family and someone else had made decisions for me throughout my life. I was so naive that I had once asked if I needed a passport to travel from one city to the other within India.

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I had many fears and inhibitions. I was an introvert and scared that I never had had the courage to confront anyone. I remember there was a time when my Principal in School had mistakenly punished me for someone else’s mistake. I knew I was right and I knew who the person was who had done the mistake – in spite of it I had not had the courage to speak/stand up for myself. All I had done was get punished and cry at home by confiding into my mother.

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I had never lived outside, away from my family. I had never done any household chores and did not know how to take care of myself. In the year 2012, I had to take a step of moving away from my family and my home Bangalore. I had decided to move to a completely new city Canberra in Australia. I had never experienced what living alone meant. I did not even know what to expect. All I knew was I had to move and I had to step away from my comforts. This was the time when my passion for travel had taken over my life. My mother was not happy. I moved. I took that first step. I knew no one in the new place. Absolutely no one to guide me. I had to learn everything from scratch.Long story short, today I can proudly say I learned and I conquered. I made new relations, new friends and a new home away from home.

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Coming from a very strong cultural background, I have definitely not had it easy to live my life on my own terms. I have been questioned, opinionated and judged at every point of time. I have had to stand up and fight the rituals/societal norms which I did not agree on. I am a feminist. And it is a constant fight. People cannot comprehend that an Indian girl can break all the norms and can live her life for herself and travel.

There were times where I had to fight my own-self. I had to choose between living my life vs. staying in my comfort zone/let other people decide how I need to live my life. I chose the first.I have been called a rebel; I have also been called the black sheep. Whatever it may be, I am who I am and I have no regrets.

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I travel solo most of the times. It was not easy for me to make my family understand this. During the time when I started travelling solo, there were hardly any Indian girls whom my family or I had personally known who would travel solo. It was I think the biggest challenge of my life. I think more than my family, I had to convince my own self for the solo travel. But I did. And I made a choice.

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I have made decisions of living my life the way I want. Some were disasters and I faced repercussions. But I am happy I made those mistakes and I took those decisions. They made me whom I am today.

2. Tell me that incident that was your breaking point, that moment when your head and heart both went, “This is it?”

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It was after I moved to Melbourne in the year 2013, I realised that I was living in a shell just like how a frog lives in its well without wanting to move from where it is. I started going on regular hikes and tours with some meet up groups and that is where I met new people. People who were doing different things and who taught me that this is just one life and you need to make the best of it. That is when I decided to go on my first solo trip to Port Fairy. It was about 2 to 3 hours from Melbourne. Since my family would be worried about me travelling alone and would have never agreed to send me, I lied. I lied that I was travelling with a friend. I had booked my train ticket – the train journey that literally changed my perspective and attitude towards travel.

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That was the day where I broke the dependency on anyone to live my life for travel. Today I have travelled to more than 25 countries and I have had so much of exposure and knowledge. I can handle any situations in life and can survive anywhere in any country.

3. Who was that inspiration or mentor that was driving you towards your bigger goal?

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I have been lucky to have had many of these inspirations and mentors in my life. I have had my family who understood that I was different. I did not belong to the group of people who would just listen. I have also been blessed with some great friends who guided me all along. Lastly I have had amazing people whom I have worked with, who have played a role in polishing me. So naming one or few of them will be unfair to all those who have contributed in driving me to a place where I am today.

4. Your “Eureka” moment?

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Few of my Eureka moments are when people reach out to me on my blog seeking advices for their travel – I feel happy. When people write to me or tell me how inspired they are because ofSolopassport – it makes me proud. When people show their love by expressing how they have taken their first step towards solo travel and it’s all because of my travels – I feel like I have achieved something meaningful in my life. Helping people to see that all is not wrong with the world and to encourage them to step out of their comfort zones…makes me happy.

5. Tell me what does this mean to you? How do you want to be remembered?

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I want people to remember me as a happy person who travelled to beautiful places and drank delicious wine. A girl who knew how to be happy and content in life. And a girl who had theCourage to stand up and live her life on her own terms.

6. You have successfully balanced a career and your passion and while I know men never get to answer this question, I still would like to know how you did it? Simply because there are a lot of us out there who can take some cues.

I always repeat this to everyone who asks me how I manage to travel and have a full time job. “You don’t have to quit your job to live your passion for travel”. With a little bit of pre-planning and booking, you can travel almost (if not all) weekends. I plan and book my holidays in advance. Even if I don’t book well in advance, I at least know where and when I am travelling to various places and I research about them.

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I travel a lot. I travel during most of my weekends and annual leaves. People assume I travel full time because of my blogs and pictures. I have been questioned a lot by my followers and readers – But No! I have a full time job as a Business Analyst at an IT firm. And I love my job equally as that of travel. So I can never think of quitting my job.

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Just go for it. Travel! And travel solo if you can. It is liberating. And there is nothing better than enjoying your own company. I know travelling solo can be intimidating. But trust me! The World is not as bad as what we have always heard. There are some amazing people out there. There are strangers who come out in rescue when you need. There are people who will guide and protect you in need.

7. What is your Soul Workout?

My soul workout has to be “Travel”. There is a famous quote – “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” And this is very true in my case. I travel because I have to. That is what keeps me going. Being in a new environment and among new people is like meditation for me. I am at peace when I travel solo.

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8.. Give me that one quote you live by… not someone elses’, but yours.

“Always prioritize yourself and the people who matter to you.  And live your life like it is your last day.”

9. Finally, Tips on how to travel solo?

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  • Make sure you research a lot about the place and about the culture before travelling to any place
  • Try avoiding the dodgy places and try not to wander in places at odd times – Nothing horrible than being at a wrong place at a wrong time
  • Read and read about the place you are travelling to – Internet to the rescue
  • Try and make reservations before hand
  • Trust your instincts
  • Be open minded and talk to locals. Have important phone numbers handy
  • Be prepared for the unexpected situations
  • Ensure someone in the family or your friends knows about your itinerary, doesn’t have to be detailed but at least the places you are visiting

 

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