The Power Of Traveling Alone

The Power Of Traveling Alone

Trust me, it's not as awkward as it seems.

I know. It seems like a scary idea, I mean, who really wants to travel alone? It’s always uncomfortable asking for a table for one at a restaurant or navigating public transit alone— it’s really something you only do out of necessity, rather than personal preference. However, out of necessity, my last few trips have been alone, and here are 5 things I’ve learned:

1. You can do (literally) whatever you want

Are you the only friend in your group who likes Indian food? Perfect, this is your time to eat it every day. When traveling by yourself, you’re given the freedom to roam about and not conform to anyone else’s schedule. The last time I went to New York City, I tried several different vegan restaurants, saw musicals, and went museum hopping by myself—something I would never be able to do if traveling with friends because those aren’t our common interests.

2. You develop a newfound sense of independence

Before beginning to travel by myself, I was the girl who had my sister ask the waitress for more ketchup when I needed some. I was painfully shy and often lived in my own shadow, so I could have never imagined walking alone down a street or asking the waiter for a table by myself. By traveling alone, I was put in a situation where I had to do anything and everything by myself. So yes, now I can ask for ketchup by myself at restaurants. (Hey, it’s the baby steps that count.)

3. You learn how to talk to strangers

I know, breaking your mom’s number one cardinal rule. But some rules are meant to be broken, right? When traveling alone, you’re forced to fearlessly ask locals for directions. It may seem scary or annoying at first, but slowly you learn that no one really cares and (most) everyone is happy to help.

4. Navigating an unfamiliar city by yourself suddenly doesn’t seem so hard

OK, yes. Maps are confusing, and public transit doesn’t make it any easier. However, once you get lost a few times, you begin to learn which subways lead where and which streets are connected to others. Admittedly, the first time taking the subway alone, I ended up in Harlem, but after some trial and error, you can navigate the city like a pro.

5. You find comfort in being alone

As an introvert, this has always come naturally to me. However, I always felt slightly awkward exploring places alone or ordering at a restaurant. After one day in New York City alone, I realized that no one really cares—everyone has their own problems and tasks to complete—enough not to worry that you’re drinking iced coffee at Starbucks by yourself.

So trust me when I tell you—a trip by yourself is 100% worth it.

Cover Image Credit: Rachel Figard

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9 Reasons Why Topsail Island is the Best Beach in NC

North Topsail, Surf City, South Topsail, it’s all part of the best beach in North Carolina.

1. The sunsets.

Topsail has the best sunsets out of any beach in North Carolina. Hands down.

2. The shark’s teeth and seashells.

You can always find a large amount of cool shells and shark’s teeth every beach trip. I have found that it is not like this at every beach, only at Topsail. Shell hunting tip: check out the point on the south end of the island every morning for the best shell selection. You might even come across a hidden mailbox with notes in it while shell hunting down there.

3. The food.

From Max’s pizza with the pepperoni under the cheese to the seafood at Breezeway and even having the experience of eating outside at Sears Landing, Topsail has some of the greatest restaurants any beach in NC has to offer. The best part about the food in Topsail is that the restaurants are all local. Also, there is a brand new doughnut shop in the Surf City part of the island...what could be better than doughnuts and the beach?

4. The Fourth of July.

Every year Topsail and neighboring town, Holly Ridge, rotate between who does fireworks on the fourth and who gets to do them on the fifth. Basically this means two whole days of celebrating our great nation at the beach. The Fourth is also fun in Topsail because the beach is full of people decked out in red, white, and blue, blaring country music, and playing cornhole and swimming all day. Some parts of the town even have mini Fourth of July block parties (okay maybe that's just my family and our neighbors but it’s still pretty fun).

5. The small town atmosphere.

Topsail is a small island which gives it a small town, everybody knows everybody kind of feel. It’s really easy to make life long beach friends here because you have the opportunity to see the same people out on the beach every summer.

6. The ice cream.

Growing up, we went out to get ice cream EVERY single night and admittedly we still do. It often feels like the whole island has the same idea because the lines are always out the door at every ice cream place on the island. Don’t let this discourage you though. It’s an unspoken rule to wait in the line no matter how long it may be because ice cream always tastes better at Topsail.

7. The best of both worlds.

Because Topsail is an island, in most cases you can see both the ocean and the sound from wherever you are staying. This is pretty awesome because you can watch the sunrise over the beach and the sunset over the sound without having to go too far. You also can go from playing cornhole on the beach to jet skiing in the sound without having to walk too far so you really do get the experience the best of both worlds.

8. Outdoor movies.

On certain nights of the week Topsail this has cool thing called “Summer Movies in the Park” where they play movies on a big blow up screen at a park that sits on the sound. The best part about this is that the movies are FREE. Tip: if you are vacationing at Topsail with bae, I highly suggest going to an outdoor movie together, even if it is Cinderella and even if you have seen it 100 times already you should still go. But, if outdoor movies aren’t your thing then I suggest going roller skating or playing a game of putt-putt.

9. The memories.

Whether you go for a week or a weekend, I promise that you will make some great memories with the people you love at Topsail Island. After spending 19 summers on the island, I know I sure have. From Fourth of July block parties, running into friends from all over NC, adventuring with cousins and swimming during hurricanes, I can honestly say that spending my summers at Topsail Island has been one of the best things ever.

North Topsail, Surf City, South Topsail, it’s all part of the best beach in NC and I highly recommend planning your next beach vacation to Topsail Island.

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Celebrating The Grand Canyon's 100th Birthday

Cheers to 100 years of climbing, camping, and boat trips down the Colorado River.


100 years ago last week, the Grand Canyon was established as the 17th National Park. Covering nearly 2,000 square miles of incredible desert wilderness, the Grand Canyon is consistently among the most visited parks and is recognized globally as a true wonder of the world.

While the canyon layers were formed long before dinosaurs roamed, fossils of ancient marine animals are often uncovered – some dating back 1.2 billion years.

The Great Unconformity refers to a gap in the rock record between Cambrian times (~550 m.y. ago) and the pre-Cambrian (anything earlier). An unconformity is a surface in the rock record, in the stratigraphic column, representing a time from which no rocks are preserved — a geological mystery of epic proportions.

Meaning 250 million-year-old sediment layers can be found right on top of layers holding those very same billion-year-old fossils. What happened to the millions of years in between? Nobody knows yet.

Of the many unconformities observed in geological strata, the term Great Unconformity is frequently applied to either the unconformity observed by James Hutton in 1787 at Siccar Point in Scotland or that observed by John Wesley Powell in the Grand Canyon in 1869.

These are both exceptional examples of instances where the contacts between sedimentary strata and either sedimentary or crystalline strata of greatly different ages, origins, and structure represent periods of geologic time sufficiently long to raise great mountains and then erode them away.

Carved over hundreds of millions of years by the Colorado River and measuring 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide, the Grand Canyon is a major natural phenomenon, but it is also a place of deep historical mysteries and oddities as well.

It's days like today when I feel the most grateful to live where I do and to be able to appreciate so much of the great outdoors. To be able to climb and hike rocks that have existed for hundreds of millions of years.

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