5 REASONS EVERY GIRL SHOULD TRAVEL SOLO... AT LEAST ONCE
ORIGINALLY POSTED MAY 2017 - Back by request
“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.”
Yes! Say it louder for those in the back!
RELATED ARTICLE: How I Afford to Travel While Living on a Budget
Last month I went to Amsterdam by myself. It wasn't necessarily the first place I've ever traveled to solo, but it was the first trip I've ever taken completely by myself. I didn't have friends living there that I was staying with. No one was traveling in to join me. It was just me, myself, and I.
As I was walking along the canals, the reality of the situation hit me like a ton of bricks... and I got emotional. Not weepy, girly, ugly cry "I'm going to die alone" emotional, but overwhelmed at the evolution that my life has taken emotional. I was happy. I was thrilled. And I was so unbelievably proud of myself.
Just over a decade ago, I was a completely different person. I was the girl too nervous to call-in a pizza order. I was the girl who was too afraid to return an item to the store because I didn't want the sales clerk to think badly of me. You'd never find me going to the grocery store alone. And god forbid I ever make any kind of appointment on my own.
Disgusting, right?? I know. I disgust myself.
But then the day came that I decided to get a divorce. It was likely the very first big risk I had ever taken in my life. From that, I was forced out into a world I had never faced on my own. And I'm not going to lie, I was scared out of my ever-loving mind. I stumbled a lot. It took quite a while to find my footing. But once I did, and I realized I did ok standing on my own two feet, I took off running and never looked back.
And apparently, I had just ran all the way to Amsterdam completely of my own accord. *High five myself*
Talking about going on a solo trip and actually going on a solo trip are two very different things. The talking and planning and all the before stuff can mess with your mind. Play on your fears. You can sike yourself out before you even hit "Confirm Purchase" on your airline tickets.
That uncertainty, that fear, is exactly what I see on the faces of female friends and acquaintances when they hear about my trip. Their eyes get big, they shake their heads, and then I hear something like, "Oh wow. You're so brave. I wish I could do that, but I'd be too scared going by myself".
Brave? It's not like I'm walking into the middle of Afghanistan... or Wal-Mart.
It makes me sad to think of people not doing what they want in life, or taking adventures, because of fear. If only they knew what was on the other side of it! If only I could show you!!
I mean once you're there, on that trip by yourself, it's the most liberating feeling in the world. No amount of words can describe it. Picture Julie Andrews spinning freely on a mountain top. It's that good.
That's why I say every girl should take a solo trip at least once in her life. EVERY girl. I don't care how old you are. Single, married, or "it's complicated" (maybe especially you). Introvert or extrovert. None of you are exempt.
Still not convinced? Fair enough. Let me spell out some reasons for you...
1. SHOW YOUR COMFORT ZONE WHO'S BOSS
You almost can't go anywhere on the internet anymore without seeing some kind of quote or cliché saying about your comfort zone. I'll admit it's become a bit much. You can start to become numb to it.
But people aren't preachin' to the masses for no reason. The difference between staying in your comfort zone or stepping out is like night and day. Good and bad. Right and wrong. If something is worth doing, people are going to go on and on about it. (Like moi is right now. You're welcome.)
And for most girls, we were raised, if even unintentionally, to believe that being on our own is dangerous, or sad, or the makings of a crazy cat lady. I'd go so far as saying it's a pack mentality. Do what everyone else is doing and you'll be ok. If everyone else thinks something is wrong, then it must be wrong. If this is the way things have always been done, then it must be the only way to do it.
So if a girl does anything out of the ordinary or on her own, she's just asking for trouble.
I’m willing to bet a number of you have never been to a movie alone. A bigger majority have likely never been out to eat alone – as in a real sit down restaurant. Hell, as a gender, we barely ever go to the bathroom alone.
I suppose it all has something to do with safety in numbers. Both physical safety and emotional safety. But I’m curious… do you know what exactly we are protecting ourselves from? Or perhaps the better question is, how do you know something great won't happen if we trek off someplace by ourselves?
The point is, you don't know that. We're too worried about what people might think, what strangers might say, what someone might do. We're letting others push us into a corner.
And nobody puts Baby in the corner.
“Comfort zones are where dreams go to die.”
2. YOU DISCOVER WHAT A CAPABLE BAD ASS YOU REALLY ARE
This goes without saying. Plop yourself into the middle of I've-Never-Been-Here-Beforeville, and you'll be amazed how many adaptable skills pop out of you like a Swiss army knife.
A lot of us likely have no idea how capable of any situation we are because we've never let ourselves be put in that situation to begin with.
This is why I think it's important that girls not only travel solo, but that they travel solo to someplace they've never been before. Get yourself out of the familiar. Traveling to your family's lake house by yourself is not the out-of-the-box experience I'm talking about.
Plan and arrange the trip without any help. Find your own way to the shuttle from the airport gate. Walk around town or figure out the public transportation system. Go on tours, visit museums, wander around with no agenda in mind.
You may be a little uncomfortable or apprehensive at first. That's normal. But after awhile, it will be second nature to you. You will find a comfort level you may have never experienced before.
Then when you get home, and think back on it all, you'll feel like the bad ass travel ninja you never knew you could be. You will gain a sense of independence that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
And nothing sucks about that.
“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.”
— mary louise alcott
3. IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU
And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. There's no shame in that game. Don't you dare let anybody tell you differently.
Girls, in general, feel the need to take care of others. Especially if you have a family! The desire to make someone else happy, or have their need met, comes before your own. That's why girls are the true superheroes in life. Who runs the world??... You know who. *wink*
But when you travel by yourself - that bad boy is all about you! What YOU want to do. What YOU want to see. On YOUR time. How often in life does that happen??
There's no people pleasing here. It's all about you. As it should be.
Self-care is so important. Time to yourself is so important. Focusing on your wants and needs is so important! How in the world do you expect to be there for others if you can't be there for yourself? The answer is simple - you can't.
Traveling solo will make you feel utterly and completely free. That feeling is like walking through the clouds. I recommend it.
“You’re always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company.”
— diane von furstenberg
4. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF ANONYMITY
This is perhaps my favorite part of solo travel. When you go someplace new, where you don't know a single soul, you can be anyone you want to be!
Now don't go crazy with it. I'm not saying it's ok to take on a second identity and knock over a bank.
But when people don't know anything about you, the pressure is off. There are no expectations to live up to. People will find you fascinating because you're new, you're not from around there, and if you're someplace international, they'll likely enjoy the accent.
Traveling by yourself forces you to talk to people. Which, I'll admit, with my introverted ways can usually be a little difficult. But when it's just you in a new city, it's easier. You
have interactions that you may have never of had otherwise. You meet some cool people, gather fun stories, and make new friends.
Sitting alone in a restaurant? Who cares! No one knows who you are anyway.
You get to be your authentic self. The person you are when "no one is looking". And that feels about as good as eating cake. Which, quite frankly, you can eat as much as you like. No one you know will be judging.
So have that second piece. You deserve it.
“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world. You are surrounded by adventure.”
— freya stark
5. BECAUSE EVERYONE SAYS YOU SHOULDN'T
And what's more fun than doing what you're told not to?? Or maybe that's just me.
People are going to think you're crazy. They are going to think you're setting yourself up for disaster. Some may think you can't handle being in a new place by yourself.
Prove them wrong. Prove them all wrong. And do it in spectacular fashion.
“Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.”
— mae west
BONUS REASON: BECAUSE YOU'RE WORTH IT
Does the thought of traveling by yourself still sound a bit overwhelming? Take it in baby steps. I challenge you to go to that movie by yourself. Maybe start with the Tuesday 2pm matinee. Then work up to the 8pm Saturday night feature. After that, treat yourself to a nice dinner alone.
My solo trip changed me forever, in the best way possible. I want that for you too.
“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”
— mary ann radmacher