Studying abroad is something I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to do in college. I studied a semester in Verona, Italy and it was an absolutely life changing experience.
I definitely got the experience of going out of my comfort zone by being in a different country, speaking a different language, and meeting new people. However, looking back I realize I definitely stayed well within my comfort zone while abroad, because I was always in a group with others I somewhat knew.
But while I was over there, I met someone who was traveling alone and was in absolute awe of her. I thought to myself, “I could never do that,” but deep down felt an urge to get to the point where I could. So I kept it in the back of my mind, and set the goal last year that I would conquer my fears of traveling alone. So I set out what I had to do to get there – which included saving money and planning for time off from work (and trip logistics, of course). And last fall, I conquered my fear and traveled solo to Europe (Italy, Switzerland, France, and the U.K.).
So, I thought I’d write a post about my own personal experience, what I got out of it, and why I think everyone should experience something similar if they can.
Why I did it: I did it to challenge myself and prove to myself that I could. I also did it to get some time to myself and really dig deep into my life, my goals, and exploring other places completely on my own. Conquering that fear felt like a hurdle and learning experience I was yearning for.
What I got out of it: A lot. I learned a lot about myself (because you have NO idea what it’s like being alone until you’re literally alone in your thoughts in another country), met a ton of people, got way out of my comfort zone, and ultimately conquered my fears – which alone made it all worth it. Side note: For part of my trip I did a “group tour,” which was basically a bunch of single people from different countries coming together to explore different cities. That was also an incredible part of my experience because I got to meet new people and put myself out there, which was another highlight of my journey.
Why everyone should do it: All of the reasons above. I honestly would do it again but go to other countries if I can, because everyone should travel and explore new places and cultures. If you’re itching to travel, do it. Make a plan for how you’re going to get there and go after it. You won’t regret it!
All in all, traveling alone was a huge confidence booster and personal growth experience. I came home and was like, “wow, I’m not afraid of anything anymore!” Of course, I’m human and have fears still just like everyone, but this experience truly helped me in so many ways personally that I am so grateful for. And I hope others feel inspired to take the plunge.
Now who’s booking their solo trip? 😉