Dr Sudha Mahalingam has visited about 66 countries in the last 25 years and did all all her travelling solo despite dealing with a busy schedule.
Mahalingam is from Bangalore. When she started traveling alone, there were not very many women who did the same in India. The common understanding is that a woman who travels alone is either stubborn or deliberately wishes to violate the rules of society and culture.
According to a CNN report, Dr Sudha Mahalingam travelled with her husband whenever he had work abroad. If her spouse was busy, she would go around the city with a tourist guide. However, Sudha liked to travel alone because according to her, guides show only what they know and want to show, they do not show you what you want to see and that’s the same reason she steers clear of traveling packages as well.
Sudha left her two children at relatives house whenever her husband was busy so that she could travel all by herself.
Her early vacations or trips were unexpected and unplanned. From landing in the Czech Republic without a valid visa, to finding herself accidentally locked in a monument in Iran, to the challenge of finding vegetarian food in China, to being caught unproven at the airport in Nairobi, Kenya with the yellow fever vaccine. But none of the above instances hindered her zest for traveling.
As per the media reports, Sudha, a former journalist, left journalism and started energy research about two decades ago. In connection with research, people from all over the country and abroad started inviting her as a speaker in many big conferences. In this way her desire for traveling continued to grow. Now Sudha is 70 years old and in the last 25 years she has traveled alone to 66 countries, across 6 continents.
Sudha also writes about her experiences as a travel blogger. She has a blog named Footloose Indian in which she alongside which she penned a book on travelling titled ‘The Travel Gods Must be Crazy’.
The COVID-19 pandemic had however, made it impossible for Sudha to travel to counter which she took a road trip across the country. She made a 16-hour journey from Bangalore to Goa without stopping. When the restrictions on international travel are lifted, she wishes to travel to Colombia, the Pentagon, Chile, and Argentina alone.
Sudha says that even if she decides to visit 3 places like this every year for the next ten years, the list of travel will not end. There will still be plenty to go around. Sudha Mahalingam’s firm belief is that there is ad cannot be any age restriction on willpower.