Travelling has always been considered to be a great stress-buster and a break from one’s monotonous life. For centuries, people have been travelling around the world for a source of joy, new discoveries and wisdom.
However, travelling solo has never been considered safe for women in India, especially 25 years ago. But 70-year-old Dr Sudha Mahalingam, broke all myths and societal norms by travelling solo to 66 countries in the last 25 years.
In a special interview with CNN, the Chennai resident explained her interest in traveling. She claimed that when her husband was alive years ago, she used to go abroad with him on many occasions. As her husband was not fond of exploring, she used to travel around the city with a guide.
Mahalingam also does not believe in seeking guidance from guides as she believes that travelling with them narrows one’s perspective and limits from exploring other places.
“Packaged tours are so predictable. They show you what they want to show, not what you want to see,” Dr Mahalingam told CNN Travel.
On many occasions, her early holidays or trips were unexpected and unplanned. From landing in the Czech Republic without a valid visa, getting accidentally locked in a monument in Iran, the challenge of finding vegetarian food in China, to being caught without proof of a yellow fever vaccination at the airport in Nairobi, Kenya; these are just some of the events she has faced so far. But that never stopped her from travelling again.
Apart from travelling alone to 66 countries on six continents, Mahalingam, is also a travel blogger. She has a blog named Footloose Indian and has also written a book titled as, The Travel Dogs Must Be Crazy.