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Solo Travel to Goa: One small trip, one giant leap

by Di
(Tathra, NSW, Australia)

It was only a fortnight in Goa but for me it was a turning point. Most of my friends thought I was crazy to go to Goa on my own. Admitedly, part of me thought I was crazy too to travel solo, but a still small voice from far inside persistently said "face your fears". My fear was going it alone in a life after children. Twins turning 16 and suddenly I realise that they're not going to be around much longer to hold Mummy's hand while she pretends to be the big brave traveler!

Why Goa? Just one of those places I've always wanted to go to and this trip had to be somewhere I'd never been before. Might as well jump in the deep end!

The journey itself from Melbourne via Kuala Lumpur (where I overnighted) then on to Chennai, Mumbai and finally Goa was smooth and went according to plan. The actual traveling alone has never bothered me, I was much more concerned about what was going to happen once I got there.. Would anyone talk to me? Would I make friends? What if I was lonely, or got lost?

Arriving at Dabolim Airpot I got a taxi to Vagator beach where I was hoping there would be a room for me in a family run pension I had emailed a few weeks before. Goa is busy in January as it is a popular destination for party people and a longstanding reputation for big NYE celebrations.

My first impressions of Goa were of course the smells of spices, cars, cows and people. The noise of honking horns. The traffic jam on leaving the airport the like of which I have only seen at the dodgems! But that all soon gave way to countryside, and dirt roads. With some relief we found the pension I had contacted and more so when the owner said he had a room for me. And so I had arrived. Fortunately there was a small restaurant attached to my accommodation, so after my first real Goan curry and a cold beer I was ready for bed. I felt like a legend. I had made it.. or had I?

I woke the next morning early and was gripped by fear. I didn't want to leave the room. Where was the beach? Which road would I take? What if got lost and worst of all, what if everyone knew that I wasn't really brave at all, but in fact just a scared middle-aged woman and a wannabe cool solo traveler? Honestly, I was terrified of making a fool of myself. Well, I was either going to spend a very long boring two weeks at the room and restaurant or I was going to take a deep breath and walk out the door.

There were no sign posts so I just followed my nose and my ears. I found the beach, the fort, a few cafes and shops. Every day I ventured a little further. Three days later I knew where I was but still hadn't made any friends. The two main reasons for this were that at that time Vagator was mainly visited by Russian tourists and also I had perfected my I'm-so-cool face to the point where I must have looked like I didn't want or need company. I found when I softened my face and smiled, local people smiled back. A few more days and it was taking me longer and longer to walk to the beach as I stopped and chatted and drank chai with shop keepers along the way.

I started to take motorcycle taxis to visit local markets. These have to be a bonus of solo travel. Cheap, fast, and fun and it was on the back of one such bike that the voice inside that had got me there in the first place spoke up again. I was holding on like grim death, white knuckles, shallow breathing, back seat driving and finding it hard to relax when I heard "just sit into it". So I did. I stopped trying to control the bike, I trusted that the rider knew what he was doing and guess what? There was all this amazing scenery around me to enjoy. The sights and sounds and smells of Goa, a feeling of freedom. I sat into that bike ride and I sat into the holiday.

By the time two weeks were up, I didn't recognise the person I had become but I liked her very much. I did make some friends and enjoyed some fun nights out with them as well as some serene horizon gazing as the sun set over the ocean. On one such evening as the strains of Goa trance wafted down to the beach and the sun dipped toward the sea I was suddenly aware that the sun was quite still and it was the earth with me, a tiny spec on the surface, rotating away from it. So I just sat into it and enjoyed the ride.

Comments for Solo Travel to Goa: One small trip, one giant leap

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Mar 29, 2011
Thank you!
by: Cheri

Wow just put all my fears on the screen in front of me. At 53, I'm really thinking about the whole RTW thing...leaving my job and doing what I've wanted to do for a while now. After a long separation, I'm ready to move on and (this sounds so ridiculous at my age) find me! The things you wrote about are all my fears...along with the whole visa thing....

The good news - you've helped me to realize I CAN do this! Thank you...and happy travels!

Apr 12, 2011
Thank you Di
by: Samantha

Thanks so much for your piece on Goa. I am leaving Australia to backpack my way through India and Europe and I have been tossing up whether I should spend some relaxing time in Goa after a tour of Northern India and if it would be safe for a solo women traveller? You just eased my mind and I will definately be making a stop there. Thanks so much. :)

Oct 06, 2011

You had such an easy ride. When I decided to go to Goa I arrived at my destination to be told that the woman had left who had taken my booking and my money and there wasn't a room for me! I was devastated. Luckily my taxi driver negotiated the address out of the owner of the woman who had run off with my money, we traced her 45 mins later and guess what? She was British! I have no idea what she was playing at but she agreed to put me up in a little apartment.

As I arrived there the man from upstairs popped up to greet me, his name was Desmond. I too was very nervous. I can remember my first question was about finding the beach. Luckily it was within walking distance. I found a place on the beach with the help of Desmond where people my age would hang out. There are lots of older people who return year after year to Goa. It is a very special place.

Apr 03, 2012
was scared, not anymore
by: Laura

Thank You! I can relate to what you said, as you know--but with all the helpful advice I am getting I am way way excited!!

Thanks for the honest advice about smiling--I can see me putting on that 'I am so cool' face that yes, I might turn people away.

Apr 03, 2012
by: Di

OH how lovely to see this feedback. I just noticed it and am so happy I could help. I'm off to Lombok solo this weekend and hardly nervous at all. Probably more nervous this time as to what the teenagers are getting up to at home alone!!

I'm getting the feeling that life is about to begin (again) for me at 50!

Happy travels ladies :)

Dec 19, 2012
Go for it!
by: Confident traveller

I travelled to Goa for one week in 2010, as a solo female traveller aged 61. I went to Goa for one week and was so proud of myself. The people I met at the hotel were friendly and wonderful. I had no problem. I even made friends with the local shopkeeper and her family and used to sit and talk with them on several evenings.

You should exercise caution after dark, but the traveller in you would give you a gut feeling if anything was wrong.

Go for it and don't look back...having done Goa on my own at my age made me see myself in a different light.

Apr 25, 2013
Traveling Tomorrow to Goa
by: Rahul

I am traveling to Goa Tomorrow (26th April 2013) for 3 days. I will be alone and hoping to meet a lot of new travelers. This is my first time so I am nervous and excited.

Dec 12, 2014
Been to Goa twice and I am a Pensioner!
by: Josie, London

I have visited Goa twice and I am a Female (pensioner). Had a recent trip, just two weeks ago. Lovely place, plenty of friendly people and no need to be afraid.

Keep your wits about you and say you have been there before, enjoy the experience. Wonderful people, great food and overall a great experience . Go for it! Planning my next trip, alone.

Sep 28, 2015
Solo Trip Goa
by: Anonymous

Today 28/09/2015 i am leaving to goa alone. Feeling excited.. will enjoy alot

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