Divorced after 20 years of marriage, I find traveling as a single woman a doorway to self-discovery. Without having to compromise, I'm free to live life on my own terms. Despite loneliness at times, I am pleased to have found a whole new world and a whole new me.
Here are seven of my favorite reasons to travel single:
1. I'm the boss. I choose what I want to do and when. I am spontaneous, and I don't have to cater to anyone. I wake up early if I want or sleep until noon, eat at the corner greasy spoon or dine with china and white tablecloths.
2. It's easier to meet locals. As a single woman, I've found that the locals are generally helpful and even protective. I'm more approachable to both sexes on my own, and people are more likely to ask me to join them for dinner. Part of the fun of traveling is meeting new friends from different cultures, something that happens much more often when you travel solo.
3. Flexibility. When I prefer alone time, I read a book or get a massage without worrying about hurting another's feelings. I spend money without having to explain my purchases, like why I splurged on that new pair of shoes.
4. Self-discovery. There are no filters for my experience. I'm responsible for my own happiness. I have time for reflection and self-knowledge. The beauty of solo travel is time to be alone, time to reflect and time to test myself. When I feel uncomfortable or lonely, I recognize those feelings and overcome them as part of the journey getting to know myself in new ways and becoming more comfortable with taking risks. When I travel solo, not only is the experience unfiltered by the perspective and opinions of a companion, but I can also create a journey that reflects my style. I'm the author of the story.
5. Confidence. My world becomes bigger when I take risks and conquer my fears, and in conquering my fears, I feel more confident about the next adventure.
6. Eating well. I eat healthily without being tempted by a partner's choices -- talk about a diet buster!
7. Sex life. I enjoy a sensual and sexual life without boundaries or restrictions. What goes on during travel stays, there unless I want to share it. Hallelujah!
As women, mothers and wives, we often feel the opposite, but it's important to devote your time and energy to focusing on you -- your health, interests and friendships.
If you dream of traveling the world solo, but feel timid or stuck, my advice is to start small. The first step could be taking a local road trip on your own, eating alone at a restaurant or buying those perfect traveling shoes -- your "glass slippers" to start your adventure.