By Meghan Bailey

Imagine being on the beach with the sand beneath your toes, a drink in hand and a warm breeze blowing through your hair. Or imagine that you are walking through some of the most historic landmarks in Europe, wearing layers and searching for the perfect coffee shop. It is a daydream that most women have; the thought of not having a care and traveling the world. Only, most women don’t pursue the idea of traveling because they must travel alone. This is a mistake; going by yourself is an adventure.

Sadly, in our society today when a woman proclaims that she is traveling solo, there are opinions and gasps. This sways the decision to book a flight, pack a bag and head off on an adventure that is waiting for you. One that allows for time to recharge without usual day-to-day distractions, an experience that will open your mind, views and expand your horizon.

Even beyond the adventure, solo travel allows for you to learn a few life lessons that you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.

The first trip, no matter where you decide to travel, will kick you out of your comfort zone. Nothing can test your sense of survival more than being somewhere without GPS, a tour guide and, in most cases, a Starbucks. Luckily, Starbucks is everywhere, but you may find that you are going to have to put yourself out there to make sure you get to your destination. This includes talking to locals, eating foods you have never heard of before and embracing cultures that you’ve only read about in books. Being able to immerse yourself in the culture that surrounds you is a sure way to shake up your comfort zone. This applies to any travel, not just other countries, but even in the United States. Big cities, East and West coasts and all of the regions are all very different.

However, you have control of your route and will have to rely solely on yourself. This part of solo travel is the scariest for most women. Women don’t give themselves enough credit. They don’t feel that they have what it takes to travel alone.

Repeat after me: “I am strong.” “I can do this.” “I will do this.” Traveling solo allows for you to take time for the things that are important to you without being flexible to someone else’s needs. You get the opportunity to rely on your intuition, be spontaneous and realize that you are the sole holder of the reality around you. You get to make your own choices.

The highlight of traveling solo is the confidence you’ll gain and the ability to enjoy your own company. Being alone gives you time to connect with your self spiritually. As you travel, you must make decisions. Will you eat brunch or lunch? Will you hike or take a spa day? Will you eat two desserts or just one? Train or plane? Each one of these decisions grows your confidence, which is a valuable skill that will help you become stronger and more self-aware of your strength.

A few of the best places to travel solo:

Zurich, Switzerland
Rome, Italy
New York City, New York
Montreal, Canada
South Island, New Zealand
Kyoto, Japan
Laguna Beach, California

As you travel, remember to stay safe by walking in tourist areas, don’t play on your cell phone when walking from place to place, never lose sight of your drink, don’t trust people too quickly and blend into your surroundings.

Bon voyage ladies!