Growing up, I was fortunate enough to go on multiple family vacations. My mother was in charge of logistics: food and entertainment for flights, booking hotels, and planning excursions and my father was in charge of financials and documents: money, currency, and passports, whereas my siblings and I were in charge of taking pictures and having fun worry-free! I didn’t need to fret about forgetting something important, or figure out where I had to be, or what time I had to be there because everything was always planned out for me. And the best part was the quality time I got to spend with my parents and siblings.
As I got older, I was given the opportunity to start travelling on my own. I spent summers on student teen tours, took 40 person bus trips through the west coast of Canada and the United States and eventually went on to backpack Europe for 3 weeks with 15 other students from around the world. Each trip was different, and never consisted of the same people. It helped that I am the adventurous type, comfortable travelling alone, and enjoy making new friends. The above mentioned trips were the starting point to my passion for solo travelling, and also when I began to take responsibility for myself.
During my final year of high school, I went on a semester abroad in a small town in Italy. I had fallen in love with Italy during my previous trip and promised myself I would return someday.
Up until then, I had only ever been away from home for a few weeks at a time. As I prepared, I remembered mouthwatering pizza, pasta, gelato, cappuccinos, and the nice weather. My biggest concern was traveling alone. The idea of going away by myself without any support from family or friends both scared and excited me. Upon my arrival, I realized there are many people ready to take the risk of adventure. It takes a certain type of person to be able to travel solo. Some folks are raised to be homebodies, comforted by the familiarity of friends and family. I admire people who are able to step out of their comfort zones and immerse themselves in a new culture. Travelling alone provided me with life skills I may not have obtained otherwise. It forced me to be independent, take responsibility for myself, become out-going, and unafraid to make new friends. It presented me with a new way of seeing the world, and changed my mindset. If you plan on travelling alone in the near future, take advantage of every opportunity thrown at you. Experience everything possible, and never turn down a moment. It will give you the most positive outcome.
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