As we grow up and continue our journeys throughout our lives, there are more and more things that we become able to do independently. For instance, we are incredibly proud of ourselves when we first tie our own shoelaces. Or when we are allowed to hang out with our friends at the mall without chaperones for the first time. The feeling of independence and accomplishment that accompanies all of these successes is unparalleled. Similar to all of these milestones is the feat of traveling on an airplane without any companions.
Traveling through an airport can be a scary thing in any situation. However, when one is traveling internationally, has a layover in a new and intimidatingly large airport, and is alone for the first time ever, these fears are escalated to a whole new level. I experienced all of these things when traveling to Ireland by myself this past week. I like to consider myself a rather well-traveled individual, so I am not too nervous about airports. I love being in crowds and I actually have a unique and passionate love for airports themselves (which I could easily go on and on about, but we'll save that for another article, another day). While I have traveled without any family before while going to Europe with classmates in high school, being absolutely alone is an entirely different experience.
Sitting in an airport for hours and hours on end can be enjoyable when passing the time with friends and family. However, imagine spending these hours in that same airport but without any of this chatter. I personally think that this opportunity allows us to truly discover ourselves in a mature manner of an everyday situation. While we spend time by ourselves quite often, it is rare that we are forced to be with no one except for ourselves. I think that this oppurtunity is such a great time to realize the types of things we enjoy when having time to pass. Additionally, we must admire our ability to be at peace with ourselves and also enjoy the people around us. Airports are full of love and it is without a doubt one of the ultimate best places for people-watching, which is easiest when by ourselves.
Becoming an adult certainly doesn't happen overnight. Maturity and adulthood are gained through a series of events in which we discover who we are as individuals and become content being these people. Learning independence can only be successful by gaining experiences, and these experiences undoubtedly allow us to become independent adults. By traveling alone and being able to truly enjoy the process, we open the doors to a world of happiness in maturity.