The number one question I am constantly getting asked is "Is it safe as a female to travel abroad solo?" and my answer is always "Yes!". I feel as if it's almost a right of passage. You have no idea what you’re capable of until you travel by yourself. Whenall there isto rely on is you. Every disaster that might happen, every time a decision is up to you, you get to know yourself better than you ever have before.
The first time I ever traveled alone was to Washington D.C. I was 16 years old and I got nominated to be a part of an organization to experience D.C. through different areas of education. My area was Journalism because I thought I was going to either become a lobbyist or a writer of some sort. This was one of the absolute best experiences of my life. I was throwninto situations where I had to be responsible for everything, after relying on my parents all my life when it came to traveling, I now had to do all these thingson my own. I was able to grow so much on that trip and it wassuch a great experience that when they invited me back 2 years later to the inauguration of our 43rd President George W. Bush. I just couldn’t refuse. Not only was it a once in a lifetime opportunity, but come on how many people have been to a Presidential Inauguration before? I really enjoyed traveling on my own and was excited for what this experience would bring me.
This was all to prepare for many years later, my sister and I both had a “gap semester” and we were both in a transitional point in our lives. We had also just come back from an amazing Euro-trip with our family. I was working at our travel agency part-time and I found an amazing Mediterranean Cruise. A week in Europe for $600, I booked it without hesitation and somehow convinced my sister to come with me. We had to make the trip as cheap as possible, so we had to fly with frequent flyer miles to London, a week before the cruise was about to leave and had to find our way to Rome. We were leaving a week after our cruise and had to find our way to Vienna. This was the best trip of my life. This was an actual milestone trip for me because yes, I was with my sister, butt we were 2 young girls in Europe that had to prove everyone back home that we were right, Europe was safe, and we could handle it.
Not to say we didn’t have our disasters, which I’ll highlight, in my different destinations, but it was the catapult to what my life is now. On that trip my sister mentioned how amazing it would be to live a summer abroad. Two years later there we were again. I was dropping her off in Brno, Czech Republic on my way to San Remo, Italy ready to spend our summer solo in Europe.
I spent a very emotional, life changing, reflective month in San Remo. Because of this, San Remo and Italy will always have a special place in my heart. It wasa time of extreme growth for me. I got to know myself without everyone’s expectations of what I should be. Don’t get me wrong, family and friends will always want the absolute best for you, but they all have a certain expectation of what you should be. Sitting on my balcony looking out to the beach and hearing the Italian language being spoken all around me, being an absolute foreigner in a place where I didn’t know a soul I found myself.
I got to spend time by myself, I took myself on adventures that I never knew I wanted or even needed for myself to feel complete. I took a cooking class by an Italian grandmother; I hiked up a mountain for 3 hours straight (if you know me personally you know this is a huge deal), I then had to hike down the mountain, which I wasn’t counting on lol. I attended an Italian Catholic mass, and I healed heartbreak. A lot of things women don’t like to admit is that we get our heart broken and that doesn’t make us weak, or give the men power. This makes us strong because we need to be strong enough to be vulnerable enough to accept love. That night in that church, I realized that it was okay to be heartbroken and it was up to me to heal my own broken heart.
I also learned what was important in my life, as cliché as that sounds. I have always said that I wasn’t meant to live the traditional life that everyone else lives; I was meant for something different. I remember clearly the day that it all clicked on my balcony in San Remo that this is what I was supposed to be doing with my life. I was supposed to be traveling forever. I didn’t want to go back to law school and be a big shot attorney, and work countless hours with the corner office. That wasn’t what my life was supposed to be. And that’s totally okay.
I’ll talk a lot more of all of my adventures in San Remo later on, but if you ever think that you would like to travel solo or you’re wondering if it’s safe, it is! I’ve survived it twice and I’ve loved it. I’ll also keep doing it until someone fills the position of a permanent travel buddy and I can stand them enough to keep traveling with them permanently lol. If you ever want any tips or to pick my brain on it all feel free to reach out to me I’d love to hear from you and see how I can help you out.