When I returned home from my very first solo trip abroad, I was really proud of myself. I had the chance to spend a summer in Europe and explore Italy, France and England, and I did it completely on my own.

Every train ride, every connecting flight, every type of metro card, every meal. Never had I ever been out of the country completely by myself.

As a 24 year old female from America, who didn’t go away to college  yet to move out of her parent’s home, I’m pretty proud of myself for taking the initiative to do something on my own!view of big ben behind westminster tube entranceEveryday people travel the world by themselves, and they go to much more dangerous or exotic places then Europe. But travel, especially solo travel, is a personal journey. And even the smallest steps can turn into giant leaps for an individual.

Coming home

After returning, I felt much more inclined (or empowered?) to do things by myself. Whether it was going out to a restaurant for a meal by myself, trying new activities, going for a hike hours away from home, or just sitting in a park and not needing to hide behind a book, tablet or phone.view of brunette girl standing on riverbank through trees looking out to the waterI’ve felt brave enough to do all of those things. Bravery that might not had been there before climbing the Eiffel Tower alone or taking a wine class as the only person not part of a couple or group.

I relish in this new found alone time. I like that it had helped me really come out of my shell.

Yet I was welcomed home with multiple inquires about my wellness. Can you believe that?

People looked at this new found bravery as something weird. I would state that I’m doing yet another activity by myself, and instead of receiving comfort or praise I was met with questions and concerns… as if it weren’t okay that I’m doing things alone.view of girls feet at road edge, look left sign on floor

Finding my feet

Why is it that we can’t understand a young woman’s desire to explore the world… whether that be 10 miles away or 10 hours ahead. Why is the question centered on her being alone? If she were with her friends, or significant other, or a beloved family member… it wouldn’t be odd.

But because she expresses the desire to do things by herself, it becomes a question mark rather than an exclamation point.

Well, I would like to address those questioning brows and curious onlookers.

It’s not only okay, but it’s totally normal to do things alone.

It’s actually beneficial for personal growth and satisfaction to go about things by yourself sometimes!

There is a giant world out there worth exploring. From every unknown hiking trail to touristy monument, there is a world to be seen. And sometimes, we can’t hold ourselves back waiting for someone else to see them with us.pastel houses along river and view of church in backgroundIf there aren’t enough vacation days or paid time off or funds in the rainy-day accounts, are we supposed to just shrug our shoulders and say we’ll wait until someone is available?

We could. We could spend our prime years waiting for friends and comrades to have the time and money and desire to do the things we also want to do.

Or we could just go about it solo. There is so much personal insight to gain from a solo adventure of any kind.

Whether you spend one month exploring a new country, or one day playing tourist in your own city, the freedom in being able to decide what you do and how you do it is a personal lesson in itself.

pretty brunette standing against wall painted with peacock street artSo, I’m here to not only provide a thumbs up of reassurance to anyone (especially my fellow gal travelers!) desiring to do things by themselves, but to encourage it. Our brains and bodies and souls feed off of this alone time.

It’s a time to recharge, to grow, and to get in touch with ourselves without any interference. So much can be learned by stripping away the distractions.

So I encourage you to turn your own question marks into exclamation points and do whatever it is you want to do without any limitations!

Do you travel solo? Share your experiences in the comments.