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travel:: independence

August 7, 2013

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There are few things as important to me as my independence. I never have wanted to be too scared to try or do anything that comes to my mind. The lead females in my life, my mom and grandma have always taught me to be a strong woman, embrace all possibilities, and to never settle.

This trip was a big deal for me for many reasons. I had wanted to do something alone like this since high school. I had never stayed in a hostel or traveled on a budget. I had just gotten out of a serious relationship. I was graduating college. In all honesty, there seemed no reason not to go. At first I began asking friends and family to come, trying to get a companion along the way. But all signs eventually pointed to me doing it on my own.

I have always considered myself independent, but even from day one I began noticing this trip was going to teach me how to be alone more than I knew. Landing in Frankfurt for a transfer to Izmir, I had to navigate where I was going, I had to make sure I had all my belongings on me and figure out timing. Throughout my trip I made many friends but in all of it, what I did I had to own. No one else was holding the map for me, or budgeting, or deciding which flavor of gelato to try. I learned that eating dinner at a restaurant alone was okay. It was fine for me to go to the Eiffel Tower without a man on my arms.

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I didn’t have to answer to anyone or anyone answering to me. Coming from a place where I had a set phone call with someone every single night at ten to talk about our day and my parents lived within driving distance, I now was in a world where that just didn’t happen. All my Ali-ness was exposed and what I was and how I acted was sincerely something only I had to own up to.

Bringing back this sense of independence allowed me the courage to move to first Boulder and then Los Angeles. It allowed me to realize that I don’t need a man in my life to be happy. This trip more than anything taught me that loving and embracing yourself is so important because you are the only one dealing with you everyday.

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