I recently took a trip to Europe to visit a good friend in Spain. I was dying to visit her but I couldn’t find the time for such a long trip, so when my ex-boyfriend and I broke up a few months before our first visit to my hometown, I cancelled the trip home and booked a flight to Spain instead. I gave it some thought at first but it felt like my heart was asking my brain to get away as soon as possible.
I stayed with my friend while in Madrid but I did travel to Paris on my own. Paris holds a very special place in my heart because as a little girl I always dreamed of visiting the City of Lights. In college I had the opportunity to spend a summer studying abroad over there. Since I’m a different person from who I was back then, going back was like making my dream come true all over again.
So, here is why I urge you to travel alone at least once in your life:
1. Because you get that feeling of being an independent woman. Don’t get me wrong, if your parents pay for yours that is awesome and it should be included on the list of things to be thankful for. However, there is a very special feeling to paying for your own voyages. Whether it is from working as the manager at a big corporation or from saving the tips you get at that part-time job, the truth is that you work your decent ass for it and you fucking earned it (pardon my French). Now, invest it in some life and forget about that designer handbag.
2. You are not getting any stronger and healthier than today. Take advantage of those legs and your six senses, I am including the wonderful womanly sense of intuition here. I probably got lost more than ten times and walked more than all the miles of my running efforts on the gym’s treadmill, but thanks to that I ate all the chocolate croissants, bread, cheese and wine I wanted without gaining a pound, win-win.
3. New friends. The people I’ve met while traveling are usually very fun, authentic individuals. When I travel I realize that the world is very, very big and we are very, very small…and yet at the end everything connects. The best part is that with every new friend you have a reason to come back.
4. You learn the value of things. When you have to wear the same jeans a few times, put on shoes that don’t match your outfit (yes, I do have a problem with this), jump on the metro and talk to strangers with hand gestures, that’s when you miss home and that’s when you recognize that the things you have taken for granted are usually the things that you should be thankful for.
5. Last but not least, my main reason: you know that feeling of loneliness even when you are surrounded by people? That feeling of emptiness even when you have a significant other? Well, I experienced the exact opposite. Finding myself all alone, on my own in a foreign place, perhaps with scattered pieces of a broken heart…I felt alive and somehow I felt so complete.
Of course it has its difficult and sad moments, but isn’t the uneasiness essential part of being intense? Most times we make choices and sometimes choices make us (I heard this from a movie I watched on a plane, by the way). Traveling alone is a choice you make that ends up making you. Remember, not all those who wander are lost…and you, what is your next destination?