My First Solo Trip in India

Armed with 202 rupees, I left our house for the first time alone, on my first solo trip in India…

The mission: to get a cup of coffee.  Nagpur is a pretty safe place so this is not a dramatic tale, everyone seems friendly and I cannot see any harm coming my way on these streets lined with trees. Any apprehension I have stems from the fact that even though I have lived here for almost a month now, I have never gone anywhere without a chaperon. I also have the voices of those who have advised me to ‘never go anywhere alone in India’ reverberating through my mind.

It is midday, the streets are busy, everything is good.

My husband works long hours, 6 days a week, I only venture beyond the walls of the house after he is home. It is now time for me to gain some independence and step outside without him, I am spending too much of my time wistfully looking out of the window. India is now my home, it is time to start exploring it for myself.  Whilst we were driving to a restaurant, one night last week, I had spotted a coffee shop not too far away from where we live, I decided that is where I would go.

I felt quite proud of my self and had a sense of renewed independence as I walked down the road. I soon realised how tricky it is to walk in flip-flops if your walking a distance longer than from your car to your house. I came across a familiar cow, she usually loiters close to our house. She reared her head and looked straight at me, maybe she recognised me, or maybe she thought I had food in my pocket, she looks very similar to the cows we have back in England.

202 Rs

Crossing the road was nerve-wracking. I am yet to work out how Indian traffic works, if there is a system at all, and struggling with the flip-flops made running difficult. Two-wheelers came out of nowhere, people were making U-turns in the middle of the road and whilst carefree pedestrians wandered across the road regardless of the oncoming traffic as if they were indestructible, I waited for several minutes to gain the confidence to cross.  I ran awkwardly and made it safely to the other side, I way I ran in those flip-flops looked like someone running in flippers, making me look like the chicken who crossed the road.

I really need to get some other shoes or get used to wearing those flip-flops.

Little red houseThe short walk was lovely. I saw a group of beautifully dressed women wearing sarees waiting for a bus, with flowers in their hair, an interesting squirrel type fellow and several dogs relaxing in the midday sun. A couple of people shouted ‘ayyy foreigner’ from their two-wheelers, a group of pig tailed school girls giggled to each other whilst looking at me and I had my fair share of stares.

After ten minutes I arrived at our local CCD (café coffee day), everyone stopped talking and looked at me as I walked through the door. The coffee itself was okay. Once I had finished, feeling very proud of myself, I made my way home.

I am feeling more and more at home here as every day passes. Where to next? I have 130 rupees left!

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70 thoughts on “My First Solo Trip in India

  1. Lauren! We will be in Maharashtra in 2 weeks, visiting Shirdi as MJ is a big devotee! It’s quite away from Nagpur though.. but once we move, I’d love to meet you! And well done for coffee, I am glad it was a good cup – I love coffee and dislike (soft word) chai 🙂 Big kiss x

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    • That is great! I bet you are so excited! It is a shame you will not be coming to Nagpur but when you move you will definitely have to pay us a visit in the Orange city!

      You can definitely find good coffee here in India, thankfully (although I prefer chai- but have those coffee craving days :P).

      Have an amazing trip, let us know all about it!!! Lots of love x

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  2. Hi Lauren,
    Congratulations on your first outing alone. It was very brave. I know how hard it is because long, long ago I was in an interracial relationship in a black ghetto and I stuck out like a sore thumb. I did not have the language problem but had unaddressed mental health problems that already made me feel the odd man out, so I never got the courage up to go out alone much. Hats off to you! My husband also lived in the Middle East for awhile and was the butt of much anti-American rhetoric wherever he went. It was very hard on him. He was alone most of the time.
    But this is not the case where you are. If you frequent the coffee shop you will, no doubt, make friends after awhile. And you have lots to explore. I love your pictures and it looks like a lovely neighborhood. I know it is hard with your husband working long hours and being alone but you will find your way I am sure.
    It is a great adventure and such a wonderful and rich culture. Learning some key words in the language will help you break the ice and venture out more. I just love reading your posts and seeing a glimpse of India through your eyes– both in your photos and in your well-written posts.
    Wishing you the best, lots of love,
    Ellen
    P.S. (Maybe you can find sturdier sandals.) 😉

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    • Hi Ellen!
      I hope you are well and managed to get hold of that book I recommended!! Thank you so much, yes Nagpur really is a lovely place to be!
      I can see why you would have been anxious, anyone would be, not that any harm will come to you but just having everyone looking at you is not always comfortable. I feel the same here sometimes, but less and less.

      Thank you so much again for always reading! I will try and take more photographs and try and get more comfortable shoes :P.

      I hope you and your husband are well, lots of love
      Lauren x

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  3. CCD is my favorite place too, I have experienced both CCD and Starbucks here in Bombay and I feel CCD is far better. Starbucks is disappointing with seat hoggers dying for their piece of free Wi-Fi. Lauren, you don’t have to feel worried venturing out alone, but at the same time don’t get too carried away. Stay with the crowd.

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  4. Ah.. Cafe Coffee Day, the “Starbucks” of India. They’re everywhere! One time I ordered a mocha frappuccino or mocha coffee frappe and they literally gave me a cold coffee with a scoop of chocolate ice cream. No complains there, just unexpected.
    I’m glad you gathered the strength to leave by yourself. I did wonder how far was the place, how long of a walk. Every time I walked by myself to the “store” next door to buy some lentils or some milk, it felt like an adventure. This was just about a 5 min walk, maybe less haha!

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    • Wow I really would love to have coffee with a scoop of chocolate ice cream. This CCD is less than 10 minutes away, there is also a store (with chocolate, crisps and cold drinks) 10 minutes in the other direction!

      I know what you mean about every walk feeling like an adventure… it really was and I am sure it will be next time too 😀

      I hope you and Josh are well 😀 x

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  5. Congrats!!! I know how intimidating that is. It took me some time too to be able to venture out alone, but once you do it, it feels like conquering the world, doesn’t it?

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  6. All the stares, silence & odd looks we ‘firangis’ invoke in India I refer to as our ‘celebrity status’.
    So now you know how it feels to be a ‘star’!

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  7. Well done you! I must say I get nervous about venturing out on my own in India too and I’m from there! Your next mission is to go to the local beauty parlour and get a pedicure 🙂

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  8. Ah, so glad you explored beyond your home! I was ‘right back in India’ as you described your adventure. I love Cafe Coffee Day! (and its name. Try saying it 3 times real fast). My Indian friend and I stopped at one (right next to a McDonalds!) to and from our day trip to the Taj Mahal. CCD became one of my fondest memories. It might be partly because their cappucinos are great 🙂 — Phebe

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    • I am yet to experience McDonalds India, we don’t have one here- but Dominoes pizza in India is really really good! I am still laughing at my attempt of saying ‘cafe coffee day’ three times!! 😀
      I am going to try a cappuccino soon… I also want to try a mocha frappe, I have been told it is just cold coffee and chocolate icecream 😀 x

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  9. Well done! You are obviously being well looked after to always have a chaperone. But of course you want to get out when there’s nobody available to go with you and it can be a bit daunting to stick out – especially if you’re not one of those people who likes to stick out! And people giving you lots of warnings can make you paranoid. Sounds like you’ve found a nice little route, though.

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    • Hi Bronwyn, I hope you are well! Yes, I am extremely well looked after but everyone else works so I did really need to start my independent journey! I am so lucky to live somewhere with lovely places nearby… but I think I will always stick out, I am definitely getting used to it 🙂

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  10. Hahaha I love your posts :D….And I love cafe coffee day! It’s all over India now, isn’t it? I saw so many of them in Chennai when I came to India a year ago! And yeah, people always seem to stare you down. I noticed that when I came down last time! It probably is worse for you ’cause you’re from a different country. Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it lol. Next time if some random dude on the street shouts out to you, just be like “namaste bhai” loud and clear (hello brother). That should set them right 😛

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  11. Wow, I’m super proud of you! Your courage gives me courage. ♥
    I still think about all the things people say to me about India, and how I should never go anywhere alone. The city that I’ll be staying in, in UP, is a pretty safe city. So I already feel confident.
    I’m glad to know that being a spectacle doesn’t bother you. I feel like it won’t bother me, but I haven’t experienced it yet. So I didn’t know for sure. Now I feel a little better about it.
    Anyway, the best part of all of this, is that you are feeling more comfortable in your new home. I’m so happy for you! 😀

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  12. I really love reading your blog. I haven’t been to India yet but reading your experience I really wanna visit one day.
    Thumbs up for going out on your own for the first time! I can totally relate. I am married to a Chinese national and lived with my husband in rural china for a while. Honestly, I have never dared to go out alone into the village. Whether my husband was on my side or my mother in law. I should have been braver… But I found it incredibly hard to venture out on my own. The stares sometimes are just unbearable. Maybe I am lacking confidence. In march I will move back to china. This time to shanghai. I never had problems going out in shanghai haha it’s a huge city where no one really cares about the foreigner buying groceries.

    Best, Anna

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    • Thank you so much, Anna!!
      You really must visit, it is such a wonderful country.
      Wow, rural China must have been beautiful- the stares can be so uncomfortable, I was really intimidated at first, I have had to make a conscious effort to not let it bother me.

      Shanghai looks like a beautiful city!! I hope you and your husband are well. Take care

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  13. I have been living in India 10 years, I lived alone the first 3 and I remember the fear and thrill of roaming around discovering things, I was in Bangalore back then. My husband had jobs that asked a lot of travelling, as a result I was alone at home a lot, waiting for a chaperon to help was never an option. India is not as unsafe as one think 🙂

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  14. YAY YOU! Congrats, must have felt so liberating for you 🙂
    PS if crossing the road in India is anything like Vietnam – we know how you feel. It was so frightening… but you do get use to it…kind of… eventually…. 🙂

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  15. Hey Lauren, congrats on your outing! I have travelled in Asia lots and know how scary crossing the streets can be! It still makes me shiver just thinking about it! They say it gets easier, though. Thanks for including the great photos – it’s fun to see where you are living now.

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  16. First off, congratulations on your first solo adventure in India! 🙂 Second, coffee is definitely a reason to discover your neighborhood. 😀 I would have done the same thing, and the best part is that it is the best coffee ground available. Knowing me, I would have had some chapatis with the coffee…LOL

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  17. Hi ,
    You should get yourself a pet dog and maybe after few months you will have a bodyguard XD and you will feel more safe visiting diffrent places , haha .

    Best,
    AB

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  19. Hey Lauren!!

    Somehow i missed few of your posts.. reading them now one by one… and every post make me feel like to hug u and simplicity & innocence shown in your activities and words brings smile!!

    Congratulations on your first ever lonely, independent trip to CCD… 😀

    though I don’t like CCD coffees, i do like their other menus… 🙂 keep trying new things.. India is a huge place to explore.. do it yourself… A place, person look far more beautiful if you see & explore it by yourself rather than through someone else’s eyes & words!!

    All the best!! 🙂

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