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Vaishali Patel: The Power of Chance Encounters – Stories of Transformation from Solo Travel

Vaishali Patel: The Power of Chance Encounters – Stories of Transformation from Solo Travel
15th May 2024 Simona Listvanaite

We are excited to share a series of blog articles from our Tour Guiding Academy Alumna and Author – Vaishali Patel

Vaishali is the visionary behind the Immersive India tour, a captivating journey of the senses of Indian culture in the heart of London, which she developed as a result of enrolling on our Tour Guiding Academy. As an author of “Solo Explorers”, Vaishali inspires and empowers women to embrace solo travel for positive change. With over two decades of expertise in marketing and communications, Vaishali is skilled in idea generation, storytelling and audience engagement. 

As a transformation coach, Vaishali empowers individuals to manifest positive change through travel, creativity, and impactful public speaking. She was invited to deliver a TEDx talk on the profound influence of creativity on well-being. Her idea for the book “Solo Explorers”, greatly resonated with our mission to support all women in travel, thus we supported Vaishali and are very happy to see it come to fruition. 

Now we invite you to read about the powerful stories captured in Vaishali’s book, get inspired and be brave enough to take your leap of faith!


Vaishali Patel: The Power of Chance Encounters – Stories of Transformation from Solo Travel

Travelling alone can be daunting, yet it opens doors to unexpected encounters that can change our lives. It’s remarkable how a simple conversation with a stranger can lead to profound transformations. Whether it’s a brief chat for directions or a deep conversation that alters our perspectives, chance encounters can change our trajectories.

In “Solo Explorers,” a book celebrating the journeys of 30 women who travelled solo, these stories of empowerment and inspiration come to life. I share compelling stories of women who were forever changed by the people they met along the way. These encounters led to career shifts, personal growth, and newfound passions.

Take Khartiya, for example, a successful musical theatre actress who desired a break in the film industry. Divorce and voice loss left her contemplating life’s worth until a solo trip to France and Spain revived her spirit. Encounters with kind strangers not only reshaped her outlook but empowered her to pursue her acting dreams anew:

“People who barely knew me would tell me that I would be amazing at that, and I was wondering how they knew – and they just knew.”

Then there’s Phillippa, whose childhood admiration for Mother Teresa led her from Ireland to India. Volunteering at a refuge centre, she crossed paths with Steve, whose stories of London ignited a sense of adventure in her. Trusting in the unknown, Phillippa’s leap of faith took her to London, which she has made home since 2006: 

“That decision to trust Steve and to just relocate to London opened up a whole new world for me. I realised that I could trust life, I’ll always meet new people and new opportunities and doors will open up.”

Dr. Shalhavit Simcha embarked on a nine-month pilgrimage across nine countries to find the ideal PhD Supervisor. A serendipitous meeting led her to Dr Amy Hardie at Edinburgh University whose encouragement to infuse her research with her true self inspired a unique approach to academia, fusing psychology, multimedia and music:

“Combining my doctorate in clinical psychology with my passion for music, helped me discover my voice. I create music videos that present my research in a unique and impactful way. By signing my research with words projected on the screen, I’ve invented a new medium that contributes positively to mental health.”

CJ Larson’s routine legal trips to California took an unexpected turn when she befriended a homeless woman. Their unlikely friendship shattered CJ’s preconceptions, teaching her the value of seeing beyond appearances and embracing genuine connection: 

“I don’t make assumptions based on appearance, where they live, or how they live. I make an effort to get to know a person for who they are because she showed me that you can’t just make assumptions based on appearances.”

Lastly, Sharon Wilson challenged herself to step outside her comfort zone by dining alone during her solo travels. What began as a personal challenge blossomed into moments of genuine connection with strangers, reminding her of the beauty in shared humanity:

“I enjoyed taking the time to sit and observe other people and sit in the moment and connect with people.”

In a world often divided by differences, these stories serve as a reminder that meaningful connections can emerge when we least expect them. Every interaction, no matter how fleeting, has the potential to shape our lives in unexpected ways. So, the next time you embark on a solo travel trip, remember to keep your heart and mind open – you never know whose path you might cross and how it could change your life forever.

Have you had a chance encounter that impacted your life positively? 

By Vaishali Patel

Author of Solo Explorers


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