Last month, I took a 4 day break from regular life. I had to force myself to because my basic nature is that of an anxious writeaholic. In fact, there was a period of 3 and half years in the middle when I didn’t set foot outside my city. Unhealthy indeed.
Since my anxiety about leaving my parents and pets and street animals behind doesn’t let me book much in advance, I surprised myself by booking flights and hotel for Udaipur, Rajasthan an entire three weeks before departure. (My last few trips had all been booked a couple of days to 10 days prior to travel.)
Indigo Airlines had a sale going on and hotel’s were reasonable because as I found out later, monsoon is not a popular time to travel here.
This trip exposed me to lots of greenery and learnings about solo travel as a female in India. I had to switch from my no frills little hotel to the luxurious Trident on the second day because the men in the little old city street were bent on talking to me and wondering every time I passed them where I was from. You see, they don’t think I am Indian wherever in the world I go. In New York City they think I’m Spanish. In Australia they think I’m Turkish. And so on. While I have always felt safe alone in bigger Indian cities, this wasn’t a comfortable situation. To make the hotel story short; it seems that solo female travellers in India should invest in a good hotel from a reliable chain and in a good location. If you can afford it, hire a car and guide from the hotel instead of at sights. I had random men staring at me and offering to drop me home too many times as I waited for my Uber. Grr…
Even with that negative aspect, I decided to make the most of my break from Day 2. I tried a Rajasthani thali for the first time. My previous trip to Jaipur had been too short for that. It was delicious and too much food but an experience in itself. My mother spent her childhood in Bikaner, so she was quite excited to hear about it and see photographs.
Then I went out of my comfort zone and let a guy at the City Palace put traditional Rajasthani attire on me for some pictures. I said no at first but then gave in because taking a break in a new place is all about trying new things, right?
I went to other sights like Saheliyon ki Bari and took a boat ride across Lake Pichola in the rain. The boat passed by that fabulous Taj Palace Hotel in the middle of the lake.
I enjoyed sleeping in my huge hotel bed with no alarm clock to disturb me. I spent hours just letting the beauty of the hotel ground sink in. The greenery. Hills. Trees. The smell of wet grass. So unlike my usual surroundings.
I had coffee at Starbucks at Delhi airport because the American in me misses Starbucks in Kolkata. And I even smiled and talked to a random stranger who was exploring India with his friend. Again, stepping outside my comfort zone or my regular mostly isolated writer’s life 🙂
Four days later, I came home refreshed and ready to take on life again. I felt stress free after ages and invincible in a way. I even had some story ideas from my travels.
So yes. Writers should take breaks.