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Posted by The Charlotte Post on Monday, March 7, 2016

Life and Religion

The benefits of traveling solo are many and invigorating
No need to compromise when it's your trip
 
Published Sunday, September 24, 2017 7:20 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

PHOTO/ASHLEY MAHONEY
Traveling solo to international locales like Edinburgh, Scotland can be a life-changing experience for its independence.

Have you ever traveled abroad? Yes? Wonderful! Have you ever traveled abroad alone for something other than work? No? You should, and soon. Earlier this month, I went to Scotland for the first time. It also marked my first international solo trip.

Like any life-changing experience, it can be hard to describe. So here are five reasons give it a shot:


1) No compromises
Group trips demand common ground. From where you eat to where you sleep, you have to compromise on just about everything—unless you and your travel companion(s) find yourselves perfectly aligned, which, let’s be honest, rarely happens. Traveling on your own allows you to do exactly what you want, when, where and how you want. It’s incredibly liberating.

2) Running late
How many times have you found yourself waiting on someone for any leg of a trip? Traveling in Europe with a group of seven other college girls, we had to run to catch every imaginable form of transportation, but my most recent European excursion to Scotland—the one that inspired this list—didn’t require running after a single thing. If you’re late when you’re by yourself, it’s your fault.

3) Sharing space isn’t an issue
While the idea of traveling with your very best friend may sound appealing in concept, it can turn out to be a very different experience. He or she may have obnoxious tendencies that you just don’t know about—imagine sleeping in a hotel in Greece, and finding out the companion snores like a freight train, or takes four hours to get out of the bathroom.

Unless you decide to stay in a hostel where you’re sharing a room with numerous other people, you don’t have to worry about anyone snoring or hogging the bathroom. It’s all yours.

4) Peace
There’s something oddly peaceful about traveling on your own. It’s the kind of peace that you have to experience to truly understand, but once you experience it, you crave it. Standing at the top of an extinct volcano in Scotland that overlooked the city of Edinburgh, the sun snuck through the clouds after a morning rain.

It’s the kind of experience that will remind you just how big the world really is, and whatever you’re facing, you can handle it.

5) It’ll get you out of your comfort zone
Honestly, the first time you set foot in a foreign country on your own, it’s terrifying. You’ll probably have a “what the heck am I doing here?!” moment for five minutes or five hours, but eventually it will pass. You’ll meet new people, and maybe they will be in your life for a while, or perhaps they’re merely passing ships.

Whatever you accomplish on the journey, it’s yours and yours alone. Embrace that.

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