From the low-lying Kuttanad to the high-altitude Everest Base Camp in Nepal, Najira Noushad (Naaji Noushi), a 33-year-old homemaker, is on a 50-day solo hitchhiking journey to send out a message that India is a safe for women travelling alone.
Ms. Noushad, a native of Mahe, packed her bag and came to Mankombu in Kuttanad and began the journey to Nepal on February 9.
“I love to travel unaccompanied,” says Ms. Noushad. The mother of five reached Delhi hitchhiking, mostly taking rides on trucks, on Monday.
“I am travelling from a place around 10 feet below sea level to a location at an altitude of more than 17,500 ft. Before setting off on the journey, I had decided not to use the train, flight or bus and instead hitchhike on trucks and other modes of travel. Although challenging at times, hitchhiking has been a wonderful experience so far. I have been able to meet people from diverse backgrounds, know about their lives, different cultures and enjoy the local cuisine. My own experience is that the more you travel, the more you understand,” says Ms. Noushad who is also a travel vlogger.
She has so far covered 10 Indian States and is expected to cross into Nepal in the next 10 days. The travel enthusiast says that she is aware of the risks involved but is determined to break stereotypes.
"There is a lot of negativity being spread over the safety of solo female travellers in India. My vlogs are mostly watched by women. I am sending two messages 'Admire India' and 'She can travel alone'," says Ms. Noushad, who during nights stays with the families of people she hitchhiked with.
Ms. Noushad, who was living with her husband in Oman came to Mahe last year to explore the country.
According to her, she got the courage to go solo after doing an all-India trip last year, in which she travelled 13,000 km across 17 States and five Union Territories in a car with two others.
“My husband and my mother are my biggest supporters. I don’t care about what others say,” Ms. Noushad says who has left her five children with her mother.