Traveling on Your Own

By Amanda Tonoli

During my four years in college, I watched my friends come and go on vacations, road trips and weekend getaways as I worked my way through the school year, paying bills and never taking a day off.

Despite not really venturing too far on spring break, I did take full advantage of my summer vacations. I went with friends to visit other friends, to places that I fell in love with. Vacations give you a chance to figure out where you do, and don’t, want to end up.

In “Why Travel Makes You An Awesome Person,” published in The Huffington Post in February 2012, Matt Kepnes said traveling is enriching, regardless of where you go.

“In fact, I think travel makes everybody a more awesome person,” Kepnes said. “We end our travels way better off than when we started. … I believe that travel is something that makes you not only a better human being, but a way cooler one too.”

Traveling adds to life experience, which makes up who you are. I found one of my favorite places in the world while on vacation — the perfect weather, the funny accents and the southern hospitality of North Carolina. I fell in love with it when I went to see a few of my friends who live there now. So I try to continue going there once a year, not just to see them, but to possibly see my future home.

Kepnes talked about the importance of discovery while traveling, not only physically but also mentally.

“When you learn more about the world and the people in it, push your boundaries and try new things, you become a more open, outgoing and awesome person,” Kepnes said.

Gaining independence and wisdom with each venture matures us, making us different people in small ways. Although we don’t notice it while we are on vacation, it happens.

For example, going on vacation for the first time without our parents is a life-changing experience. Who is going to plan everything and make sure everyone makes it back to the hotel okay? Someone always takes that role. If you go with a group of friends, you all seem to care for one another like a family — you take on this adult persona you didn’t know existed in you.

Not to say that you’re paranoid every step of the way. Going with friends as an adult is a very exhilarating experience on an entirely different level. You have freedom.

“Travel simply teaches you how to be happy,” Kepnes said. “You’ll become more relaxed, more confident and see the world as a brighter place.”

You’re free to see the world in your own way. Free from supervision. Free from being told what to look at and how to look at it. Traveling is a wonderful experience — one that is completely different as an adult.