Violette, 31, Kochi
Violette works at a publishing house in Paris and has been traveling south India on her own for the past 2 weeks. This interview was conducted on the night before her return to France.
Travelettes: Tell us about your trip so far.
Violette: I arrived with a friend and 2 of her friends. Somehow we split very early because already after 2 days I met 2 french girls at my hotel in Pondicherry and we got on really well so we traveled together for 3 days looking at temples. Then I decided that I wanted to take a trip to the mountains so we parted ways. Already at the bus stop I ran into another french couple and spent a couple of days with them. Finally I came here to kochi and I’ve been meeting people here too, so really I’ve never actually been alone much.
Travelettes: What did you learn along the way?
Violette: I don’t like India. For 10 years I’ve been having this image in my head that India is this magical country with such an amazingly rich culture, but really I’ve felt disillusioned. All the horns and smells and there is always someone touching me or trying to get me to buy something. I think they call that the India syndrome. It got to the point where I even freak out when someone is trying to be nice to me. There were times when I felt like an animal. Men staring at me, commenting and laughing at each other and especially during my first week all I wanted was to go home. But recently it’s been a lot better. Kerala has been a much needed break from all this and I’ve been having a really good time. I found out that I’m able to face any adventure and any problem on my own. I can be indepeneant and free. When you’re f ree, you wait for no one and that’s amazing.
Travelettes: So do you regret going traveling India on your own?
Violette: No, definitely not. Despite all the bad things I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way that those encounters alone make up for all the hassle.
I may have been disappointed by the reception but I’ve now had so many unforgettable experiences that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.
Travelettes: Who are you back home?
Violette: I love fashion, I only wear 3-inch heels and I always try to look chic, even when I do sports.
Travelettes: How did you combine that aspect of your personality while traveling a place like India?
Violette: I put my femininity aside for a large part. I still try to be chic with the way I dress but I completely stopped shaving for example.
It’s not really a problem because I know it’s only temporary and with this trip I was hoping for a change of scenery. Changing my habits with regard to dress and makeup are part of that.
Travelettes: What advice would you give other women thinking to travel India alone?
violette: To do it, it’s great!