*This article was originally published on HerCampus.com*
Despite the beautiful views and boast-worthy memories a female solo traveler may expect to encounter when traveling alone, traveling solo, especially as a woman has a daunting connotation. Critics of solo travel bring up safety concerns, language barriers, cultural inequities as reasons not to make the move on your own, but the truth is successful solo travel is worth the adversities. When a woman travels, particularly alone — she is making a statement, one that says that she refuses to be associated with the stereotype of women as fragile and insecure. She is opening herself up to new experiences and opportunities — she doesn’t travel to escape life, she travels so life doesn’t escape her.
1. Because life begins at the end of your comfort zone
Trying to navigate a metro in French or order food in Mandarin may not be something you’ve ever done before, and doing it alone may not seem like the ideal way to spend a vacation — but putting yourself in a foreign environment, and doing it alone, is not only a confidence booster, but an eye-opening experience that reminds you there are so many people in the world with such varied lifestyles from your own. A truly humbling experience.
2. Because it scares you a little
Admit it. The thought of wandering a foreign city where you know nobody, especially if you’re unfamiliar with local customs, can be a terrifying move — but that’s okay. As women, we often overthink and overplan instead of just letting the universe run its course — but when we travel, its impossible to plan the small things, which is good, because it allows us to be a little scared of the unknown and nudge us out of our comfort zones.
3. Because you’re forced to make friends
Solo travel may seem like a very lonely endeavor, but in reality it gives you the opportunity to make friends with fellow travelers and locals alike. While women may be apprehensive to do this, there are many ways to meet other like-minded women in your travels, especially through travel group-meetup (such as communities like Magpie) who are willing to show you around and tell you the best places to eat and sight-see.
4. Because you’ll gain street smarts
There is no doubt wandering a foreign city at night, especially alone, will teach you a thing or two.
5. Because it forces you to be decisive
Traveling is a game of decisions. Where to go, where to stay, what to do, what to eat — for the indecisive girl who is looking for adventure, solo travel can be a life-changing experience.
6. Because it’ll give you self-validation
Nothing is more badass than coming back from a trip knowing that you did it all by yourself.
7. Because you’ll learn to appreciate the little things
Like air-conditioning, or free bathrooms. Yes, I’m serious.
8. Because you may literally get lost, but you’ll figuratively find yourself
Somehow in between misplacing your map and being unable to translate directions, you’ll realize this unparalleled experience has left you changed from before you boarded the plane. Travel brings you challenges and opportunities and lets you discover who you are in only a way such an experience could do.
9. Because you get to take advantage of travel Tinder, the best type of Tinder
Travel Tinder: AKA downloading Tinder while you’re traveling to meet fellow travelers, cute locals, temporary love interests or new friends who you wouldn’t have been able to meet otherwise. Best thing about using travel Tinder? You don’t have to feel guilty about ditching your friends to meet up with your Tinder dates.
10. Because you’ll get to experience being your own boss
When you travel solo, you’re the creator of your own itinerary, and you’re the only person who gets to tell you what to do.
11. Because you’ll eat and drink what you want with little to no guilt
Dieting while traveling is pretty much non-existent, lets be real. On the bright side, you’ll be running, walking, and hiking too much to really feel bad about it.
12. Because you’ll learn the value of being alone
Being alone and feeling lonely are two completely different things. Learning how to spend quality time with yourself is a huge factor in your own self-worth, and solo travel forces you to do just that.
13. Because you’ll let go of your petty troubles
Trust me, you won’t care that he didn’t text you back when you’re in Iceland getting a picture perfect view of the Northern Lights.
14. Because the patriarchy tells you that you shouldn’t
The patriarchal society we operate in today fails to view women as spontaneous risk takers, but rather as fragile beings. When a woman travels alone, she shows the world that she is able to break out of her comfort zone to take initiative in engaging in new experiences — take that, patriarchy.
15. Because you’ll truly learn to differentiate an adventure and a vacation
At the end of the day, its not about the color-block bikinis and pineapple drinks, its about the lessons learned and memories made.