Travelling Solo across Nepal at 21

By Esparsh Sarawagi

Juliana Shrestha is one of the eighteen winners of the Solo Woman Travel Challenge 2017 organized by Nepali Travellers. She received a grant and support to travel for a month across Nepal from Dadeldhura to Jhapa in August - September 2017. A BBA graduate, she is currently working with Nepali Travellers as their Partnerships Coordinator and runs her passion project Doodle ?? on Instagram.

Living discovered more about Shrestha’s adventurous ride and her passion for doing more.

How does it feel to have completed the solo travel challenge?

Amazing! I got to check a big one-off bucket list to travel across the length of Nepal all on my own. Now I feel like there’s nothing that I cannot do.

Tell us about some interesting incidents while travelling solo across Nepal?

There are so many! Every day, every destination had so much to offer. I learned so much about my country beyond the capital where I was born and raised, along with learning a lot about myself, my potential and learning to love my own company.

What do you consider your biggest achievements in life?

Traveling Solo across Nepal at the age of 21, starting a passion project (Doodle ??) online at the age of 20 and seeing it grow at such a rapid rate.

How did this idea of doing something different come about although you come from an entrepreneurial background?

I had always been a travel enthusiast and ever since my first trek I have been in love with traveling, exploring new places, experiencing the food and culture there, hearing stories of locals whom I met along the way, learning so much about what exists in the world that is beyond our own little worlds: when in the mountains, we are such small creatures and our egos and problems are even smaller and that feeling of wanderlust makes me the happiest - away from the daily routine, every day is a new adventure and the thrill of travelling is what I feel keeps the fire burning within me.

Also, I’ve always been someone who takes up anything I can get my hands on and I have always tried out stuff that I felt like doing so, perhaps that’s why even though I’m a business student, I run an art project online while being involved in travel and doing other stuff on the side.

Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life?

Mamu. The desire to travel was ignited when I saw her traveling so much for work and through her stories of exploring the world. She is my biggest inspiration and my biggest support system.

What are some of the challenges that women face in today's society?

Having to prove our worth every time and having to fight for equality, especially when a woman is breaking traditional norms in doing something good, she’s questioned first rather than encouraged to do better.

 Is there any project you are currently working on?

I am working with Solo Travel Nepal (Nepali Travellers) to encourage travel culture in Nepal. I am also building Doodle ?? as a platform to encourage doodling as an art in Nepal and a method to practice mindfulness.

What advice would you give to aspiring ladies out there?

If you really want to do something in life and you truly believe in it, don’t let anything stop you; strive to achieve it - it’s not going to be easy, it can even get lonely sometimes, but you are your best company and best advisor, so trust your gut and work hard to achieve your goal!