All posts filed under: Solo Female Travel

8 important lessons I learned from traveling the world

As I contemplate the last four months of world travel, I realize I’ve learned a lot from the experience of backpacking across Europe and Southeast Asia. I’ve discovered places that eclipsed my wildest imaginings, explored modern cities and ancient ruins, watched sunrises and sunsets with newfound friends, climbed literal and figurative mountains and stripped away layers to reveal a stronger, smarter and braver version of myself.

I know I’ll want to remember a few of the lessons I’ve learned along the way, so here’s eight of the important ones…

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Why travel solo? 10 reasons to take on the world by yourself

I’ll admit it —when I first decided I was going to travel alone through Europe and Southeast Asia, I was terrified. The thought of spending four months by myself, traveling through foreign countries surrounded by a bunch of strangers who didn’t speak the same language sounded…scary. Friends and family telling me how dangerous the world was didn’t help much —according to popular opinion, if I wasn’t killed in a terrorist attack or raped in a dark alley, I would be lucky to arrive back in San Francisco as a travel-hardened survivor of sexual harassment, rampant pickpockets and mosquito-born illness.

A delayed bon voyage

After an unexpected plot twist set my departure back a day, I was eager to start my journey through Europe and Southeast Asia. My first destination? Paris. I hadn’t even left home yet, but the world of travel was already teaching me some valuable lessons. C’est la vie. Lesson #1 — Avoid flying on a budget airline. Lesson #2 — If ignoring lesson #1, triple check your departure time, especially when the budget airline you are flying on changed the departure time by shifting it forwards almost 12 hours in a cryptic email with departure times listed without AM or PM. Lesson #3 — When you have missed your budget airline flight to Europe and need to book a last minute flight because no refunds or rescheduling, airline miles are a girl’s best friend. So, how did it feel to embark on the trip of a lifetime, one that had been several years in the making and had taken countless hours of planning? It felt a little bit like the nervous excitement on your first …