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5 Reasons Why YOU Should Travel as a Young Woman

After I got back from my summer in Europe, I found myself constantly talking about my trip. I somehow managed to relate every aspect of my everyday life to a place I had been or a memory I had made. I got quite a few reactions to my stories. Most people just shook their head in agreement and told me how “cool” my story was. Others that were around me more often (and who had probably heard me say the same thing twice before) got to the point where they would tune me out. But the most confusing responses I received were from people who couldn’t believe I had taken such a “risk” by traveling by myself. Some said that I was crazy for putting myself in such a “dangerous situation,” some would list all of the things that could have gone wrong. But by far the worst thing I heard as a response is “I never want to leave the country.” Those seven words make me cringe.

While traveling, people that weren’t from the United States would give me crap about how nobody in America ever travels, and 75% of us don’t even have passports, etc. I always told them that it was because the USA is do diverse geographically that we don’t have to leave the country to experience different sites. We can go to mountains, beaches, deserts, rivers, all without leaving our borders. But when I hear that there are people that say they would never want to leave the country, it breaks my heart. Leaving the country was the best decision that I ever made and it has made me the person I am today. That’s why I’ve made a list of the Top 5 Reasons You Should Travel as a Young Woman!

1) Escape Routine
The reason I decided to go to Europe in the first place was to escape my small town life. Pre-travel Rachel never did anything exciting and new. I would wake up, eat, go to school, eat, go to work, eat, do homework, sleep. On the weekends I would go for a hike or see a movie, but it was always the same thing every week. Months would pass without me doing anything memorable. When I started planning my trip I was a junior in high school. Suddenly the whole world was open to me. I realized that I didn’t have to be stuck in little ole Danville, KY forever. I could literally be anywhere in the world in the course of 24 hours. I could wake up in Barcelona and fall asleep in Berlin. I could try new foods, experience new things, and live however I want. Escaping my routine was one of the best things that travel did for me. There is something so stressful about always having a to do list, always having somewhere to be. When you travel, you don’t have to worry about all of that. You can just sit back, relax, and (to be cheesy) go wherever the wind takes you.

2) Discover Yourself
While you’re out and about, doing whatever your heart desires, you have a lot of time to think. Because I chose to travel by myself, I spent a lot of time alone. Of course I made friends along the way, but when I was traveling between cities or taking a personal day it was just me, myself, and I. You have a lot of time to reflect on who you are as a person and how you would rather act. I remember the moment that I realized that I hated the person I was before I started to travel. I had just missed my train to Rome from Venice that I had paid for in advance, and instead of being angry or frustrated like I would have been before, I was calm and knew that there would eventually be another train. If it had been a month prior, I would have thrown a fit, stressed myself out about my schedule being thrown off, and I would have ruined a whole day. Instead, I took the time to explore my surroundings, take pictures, and think. When you remove stress from your life, you’ll be surprised at the person you become.

When you travel, you also have an advantage when it comes to making friends. I wasn’t a very cool kid in high school. I was a nerd, I was awkward, and everyone knew everything about everyone because you had known them your whole life. When I got to Europe, I realized that nobody knew me. I could be cool if I wanted to, I could be anyone I wanted. There were times that I would adapt whole new persona for a night, just for the fun of it. But when you find people on your travels that you are 100% yourself with, those are the people that become your closest friends.

3) Create New Friendships
The best part about traveling by yourself is that you have to make friends. Just think about it for a second: if you are traveling in a group or with one other person, you want to hang out with them because they are familiar. You aren’t as open to meeting new people because you already have your friends. When you travel alone, it’s the complete opposite. You meet other solo backpackers and groups so that you have  people to hang out with, and you end up meeting way more people. When you travel, everything changes. You begin to add travel to the beginning of words: travel time, travel food, travel relationships. When you spend a lot of time with someone in a foreign country its like time moves slower. You feel like you have known someone for years when in reality its only been a few days. Those relationships last longer than you can imagine. To this day, the people I met in Europe are some of my best friends.

4) Face Your Fears and Gain Courage
I was scared out of my mind to travel by myself. When it finally set in that my trip was really happening, I got so nervous that I almost canceled my trip. I feel like the biggest problem that people have when it comes to traveling is their own fear. Sometimes you just need to have faith that you are making the right decision. The idea of being thousands of miles away from home in a place you’ve never been to can seem pretty daunting, but if you can learn to face your fears, the whole world is open to you. Once you take the first step of getting to a country, everything just gets easier. I gained so much courage on my solo trip that still impacts me to this day. I’m not afraid to meet new people, try new things, and put myself out there. Confidence is one of the best things you can gain from traveling. When you look back on your life twenty years from now, the last thing you want to feel is regret. Don’t let your fears keep you from experiencing things that could change your life forever. YOLO!

5) Become a Storyteller
Traveling offers so many new experiences and memories that you will keep with you for the rest of your life. Until I went to Europe, I lived a boring life with boring people who talked about the same boring things every day of their boring life. Now that I am in college and away from my hometown, I have found that traveling helps me meet and connect with new people. Swapping stories with other people that have been to the same places as you is always a lot of fun. The best part about having stories to tell is knowing that one day one of your stories might just inspire someone to take a trip of their own and change their life forever.

These are just my top 5 reasons why I think young women should travel, but there are so many others. There are so many things I gained from traveling that I can’t even begin to list them all. One of my favorite quotes of all time is “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” So go out on a limb and take your first trip, you never know what traveling treasures await you!

Keep an eye out for more travel tips and tricks from Bakpak Girl and for tons of info about backpacking Europe check out Bakpak Dave's Backpacking Europe section!

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