A memoir of my first independent travel journey

When I hopped on to the bus for my first independent travel, butterflies sputtered in my tummy. My face had gone grey. I met a stranger girl, with whom I was supposed to share my bed. Yes, share a bed on the bus, afterall it was a sleeper bus. One look at the bus and I realized, it looked like those hostel bunk beds. I was quick to push myself close to the window, only to realize that it was an AC bus and I couldn’t take in deep breathes to sooth my nervous mind. I was clear. I was alone. The words “ALONE” kept on repeating in my head like one stuck tape record. I was anxious, I was scared. I could feel my eyelids battling to keep the drops of the ocean away from rolling on my cheeks.

10 minutes into the journey, I was stuck in an obnoxious traffic jam. Somehow the hazardous swearing of horns jolted me to reality. I was “INDEPENDENT” and not “ALONE” because I was still surrounded by people around. The people looked normal. Like you and me. Somehow, I felt more calm, I felt relaxed. Though my heart still pounding, my mind said”bring it on.”  Soon enough, we navigated through all the rubbish of city and were onward to the Mumbai Goa highway. Through the closed windows, the moon shone. The stars looked so bright. The air that kept creeping through the AC made me feel giddy.  I have never been comfortable with closed surroundings and motion sickness scared me. Somehow, the thought of being alone pushed me to control all my senses and feelings and kept me on a high alert all the way.

I put my headphones on and  listened to music. Music, like travel can work wonders and pull out magical moments. It can make you feel at home even on a deserted island or a barren mountain.  My thoughts ran back to my destination and I was fast asleep. To my surprise, I slept and directly woke up at my destination. Crazy enough, but I never ever had such a sound sleep. As soon as I landed at Madgoan (my stop-over to Palolem), I could feel the Goan air- delicious flavours of the fish, long running oasis of Coconut trees, dark red mud, remains of old Portuguese culture and the ‘susegard’ people of Goa. My car driver then took me to the place I was to put up myself at.- Chattai Beach Huts. The huts a minute away from the southern tip of the beach is a tiny little hamlet of spacious and eco-friendly beach huts made of ‘chattai’ (straw mats) with a bar and restaurant. At my first dekko, I went weak into my knees. How badly I was going to miss a company here, a place perfect for honeymooners. All the huts had an upper deck, which allowed a resident to view the entire property at one go. Dim lights in the night, satin laced covers, beautifully weaved in mosquito nets,  luxurious sit-outs to relax and delicious food, I have hereby arrived to the best solo destination ever I thought to myself.

Feet on the map, Palolem, Chattai Huts

Pretty Huts

Feet on the map, Palolem, Chattai Huts


The dining area

Suddenly, I realized how my thoughts wavered from honeymoon to solo destination. I was at peace. Later in the evening, I decided to take a stroll on the beach and explore the area a bit. I discovered how Palolem’s long and stunning crescent beach was, another of Goa’s unlittered gems, with few tourists and even fewer facilities to run after. The few little tourists I met comprised of the typical hippie crowd, minus the rowdy crowd. If definitely felt way more beautiful than the usual rowdy crowds. I will let my images complete the story 🙂

Palolem, Chattai Huts, Feet on the map, Deepika Gumaste

Solitude on the beach

Feet on the map, Palolem

Pretty colourful beach shacks

Palolem, Feet on the map

Let’s have some silent noise

Feet on the map, Palolem



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