In March of 2018, I set out to New York for the first time ever with a luggage full of winter clothes, a carefully typed-out agenda, and a heart full of wanderlust. I financed, planned, and executed this solo trip on my own, for the most part, and was able to stay with family and friends to save money and guide me around the city. What I wanted out of it was entirely up to me, however. The thrill and independence that comes from planning a solo trip is an experience I suggest many people consider pursuing, and here are five reasons why.

1. Self-care, duh. 

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Life. Is. Stressful. You find yourself juggling social life, family life, academics and/or work life, and your personal advocacy all the time. You deserve a little alone time on vacation. There is a quiet serenity and beauty in wandering a foreign place by yourself. It's a "treat yo self" moment when you are able to make decisions such as where to eat or what to do to fulfill your personal satisfaction from the trip. The trip is for you.

2. It's a learning experience!

when there's just...so many things to learn about yourself and it feels like you have different faces on

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Trying to navigate city streets, unknown sidewalks, and different cultures can be a stressful nightmare. However, the way you're able to navigate and figure out how to get from point A to point B helps you learn more about yourself and your abilities. Maybe you find that you're more impulsive than cautious. Maybe you prefer walking from place to place rather than taking the train or bus. And, though you can learn these things in your hometown, there is something about being alone in a foreign place that just emphasizes this need to learn about yourself and adapt that to your environment that makes it all the more special.

3. Practice event-planning skills

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Whether you have a knack or ambition for it, or neither of the two, you're always going to have to plan an event. That could be a birthday party, meeting, project, or get-together, but you'll find yourself pulling resources together to make something work. Planning a solo trip is very much like this experience. You have to run through all the logistics, make sure you have costs budgeted, routes shortened, and time used efficiently. You can be a professional party-planner by the time you figure out your plans! Though winging it isn't a bad idea either, I suggest planning or mapping out some parts of your trip, especially when it is 1) a foreign environment and 2) you're solo (out of your safety).

4. Becoming independent

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Emphasis is, again, on being alone. You learn to become dependent of your own self- to get you places, to make your decisions, and to budget your time, money, and look-out for your safety. Your sense of independence grows exponentially because you have to maximize the potential of the short amount of time you have to spend on your trip. You find yourself planning things out, relying on your instincts, and depending on just you.

I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, do you know what that means?

5. Open your eyes and see a whole new world

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The vital message about travel is exposure to cultures different from your own. You learn about new places, people, and things. Travel sticks a bug in you that never wants to go away and you will continuously chase that moment of awe when you're in a new place.

Go ahead. Take that carpet ride to anywhere your heart desires. Plan a budget, an agenda, and a to-do list.

Better than any spa treatment, massage day, or night out, solo traveling is a breath of fresh air in a whole new world.



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