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A Case for Solo Travel Abroad

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It’s that time of year again! Loyola is hosting study abroad fairs and info sessions, starting Tuesday, Oct. 3.

For those of you who are planning to study abroad, let me start off by saying my study abroad experience was the best time of my life, and I couldn’t recommend it more.

I think it’s safe to say that most Loyola students feel the same about their time abroad. Going to college in a different country is the most exhilarating thing a student can do.

When you study abroad, you will likely do a lot of traveling. You’ll want to see and experience your destination as much as possible, so going to a new place every weekend will not be out of the norm.

I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain last semester and loved every second of it. I met so many people from all over the world, and truly became immersed in Spanish culture and customs.

Studying abroad in Europe is great because you have easy access to so many countries. One weekend I would be in Italy, and the next I would be in Portugal.

I loved traveling with friends and other exchange students. I created so many amazing memories with them during my travels.

However, one of my proudest accomplishments abroad was embarking on solo trips.

Just me and my passport.

Instead of going back to America after finishing my final exams, I decided to embark upon a three-week solo journey around Europe.

I ended up going to Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, and Norway—all alone.

When I tell people about my solo trip, their reactions generally include shock, fear, and confusion. Why would anyone want to travel alone?

Well, I will tell you exactly why you should.

Solo travel is something so valuable. Let me start this off by saying I was never lonely, in fact, I found that because I was alone, I would meet and make friends with other travelers very easily. I would meet people from all around the world by going on tours, day trips, and staying at hostels and Airbnbs.

I ended up making friends from all over the world, many of whom I am still in contact with.

When I would travel with friends, the group would generally stick to themselves. I realized I met a lot more people when I would travel solo.

There were many moments spent alone on my trip. And I loved every second of it.

When I would be exploring a new destination alone, I found myself in deep thought and reflection. I ended up learning how to truly enjoy my own company.

I found that I am pretty damn good company.

I found that I could truly appreciate the small details that surrounded me. The beauty of the Spanish sunset behind the Alhambra, the moss-covered evergreen forests of Norway. The list goes on and on.

I truly fell in love with solo travel while in Croatia.

I was in Dubrovnik, more commonly known as “King’s Landing” in Game of Thrones, and took a ferry to the nearby Island of Lokrum. The island is stunning: it’s filled with peacocks, an ancient monastery, cliffs, and surrounded by a crystal clear, turquoise sea.

As I was hiking along the island, I found a quiet little spot, overlooking the fluorescent color of the Adriatic Sea.

I ended up stopping there, and sat in meditation and contemplation for about an hour.

In that moment, I realized how beautiful life is.

Here I was, on a tiny island in the middle of the Adriatic, alone, and surrounded by nature.

It was one of my favorite memories from studying abroad.

In these moments alone, surrounded by your own thoughts, you begin to realize who you truly are as a person. What your likes and dislikes are, your desires, what you truly want out of life.

I grew so much from traveling solo. Primarily, I gained independence. While traveling alone, I could only rely on myself. When things went awry, it was up to me to solve the problem.

I realized that I have a passion for travel and meeting people from all over the world. Travel is something I hope to continue to pursue throughout my life.

I even started a travel blog, where I have begun to connect with other travelers who also love to travel solo.

So, a word of advice to anyone who is studying abroad or is planning on studying abroad: take a solo trip. Even if it’s just outside of the city. Go somewhere alone. Spend time reflecting, and meditating. Meet new people. Explore as much as you can.

Most importantly, discover yourself.

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A Case for Solo Travel Abroad