70-YO Bengaluru Woman Loves To Travel Solo, Says There’s More To Life Than Marriage & Job

Meet Sudha Mahalingam, a 70-year-old woman from Bengaluru who loves to travel solo, discover new places, and live an adventurous life! She was married at the age of 25 but it was not until 2 decades later that she went on her first solo trip.

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Speaking to Condé Nast Traveller, Sudha opened up about her life and love for travel.

“When we were growing up, travel was so exotic and expensive. We couldn’t afford to take flights. I used to lust after glossy magazines and look at all the pictures longingly. I never thought I would end up going to those places,” she said.

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Sudha’s husband worked in the civil services and therefore, she went wherever he went. In 2000, she accompanied her husband to Sweden, who was on a 2-month assignment. With lots of free time in her hand, she decided to explore the region. So she took a ship to Finland and then a train to Norway, and on to Denmark and Berlin.

In 2003, she went to Uzbekistan for a conference. She decided to extend her trip and visit Kyrgyzstan. She tasted the joy of travelling alone and there was no looking back.

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Sudha has lived in 16 cities in India and has gone on driving expeditions across 18 countries. There were superb travel moments as well as some dangerous ones. There was this one time when she landed in Prague without a valid visa, another time when she got stranded in the Kashmir valley during the insurgency, and yet another instance where got locked in a minaret in Iran, to name a few.

“I don’t get scared of anything. I think there are many ways to live a life. Going to school and college, getting a job, getting married, having children—that’s not the only life, that’s just the only life we were told about when we were growing up. There are so many exciting things to go out and discover in person,” she said.

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Most of Sudha’s trips are unplanned. She likes to “land up” in countries, without a plan, hotel bookings or an itinerary to follow. She goes to places that are mostly not promoted for tourism. She likes staying in hostels and learning about the locals.

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We wish Sudha many more fulfilling journeys!

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