distance gives perspective.

This year, I spent the holidays in Chile. I spent a week, including Christmas, in Pichilemu, a sleepy little surf town three hours south of Santiago, and then ventured north to Valparaiso, a colorful coastal town built into hills overlooking the Pacific, to ring in 2017.

In all, it was a great trip. I really loved both towns and hope to return to each of them again someday — hopefully with a fellow traveler, or more, in tow.

During my travels, I had my share of tough times, too, especially since I was traveling solo during the holidays.

The distance from my family, friends and even my new home in Buenos Aires gave me new perspective. Traveling solo during the holidays gave me a deeper appreciation for the familiar in my life. It made me see my holiday traditions, the way I usually spend my holidays, in a different way. New places and experiences do that. It’s part of the reason to travel, to explore, to see the world. But it’s tough to do that and stomach those lessons on your own around the holidays.

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what I learned while traveling solo

Last year, after a week of work in Turin, Italy, I embarked on my first true solo travel adventure. It wasn’t my first time on my own. I’ve road tripped across the U.S. and camped solo before — well, actually, I had my cat with me both times. But my time in Europe was my first time with no one but me, myself and I in a foreign place for an extended period of time.

I didn’t have much of a plan. I knew I’d start in Italy, end in France and visit a friend in Austria along the way. Between hopping on a train in Turin and boarding my flight home in Paris, I learned a few lessons about traveling solo — ones I’ll keep and carry with me on future adventures. Perhaps you will, too.

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