It may be time for ladies to gather round and get in formation, but declaring your independence as bold as America on the Fourth of July is all the rage right now. There’s nothing quite as empowering and enlightening as embarking on a solo trip across a city, state, nation or the globe. A 2014 survey by Booking.com found that 65% of women say they feel more confident when taking a trip by themselves.
It’s a journey all women should enjoy, s-o-l-o.
Last week, it was my time to shine on a six hour flight from Newark, NJ (SIGH) to North Wales for a little adventure that was all my own. My time in North Wales reignited my friendship with an old college pal, strengthened my love of Cadbury chocolate and introduced my eyes to majestic castles. As a public relations professional in the busiest city in the world, which doesn’t wait for anyone (T.Swift lied to us all), it was a luxury to slow down and just think.
When I reunited with my college friend, I talked to her without being distracted by text messages, Instagram notifications, emails and other miscellaneous life obligations. I realized when you’re not constantly being bombarded by meaningless distractions, you can truly make a wonderful impact on those around you.
After a short stay in North Wales, I took on Scotland with Braveheart swagger. I headed for Edinburgh to stay at my first Airbnb and explored Scotland at my own pace. My curiosity and need for happiness led to a long hike up Arthur’s Seat, afternoon tea, thrift store shopping, strolls through Princes Street Gardens and dinners for one.
Through this solo adventure, I learned that a dinner alone is not lonely and I can handle any social situation that awaits. Women grow up learning the “pack” mentality. We must always stay together and walk around in groups. Even as grown women, when we want to do something on our own, we often turn to our female peers and ask things such as, “Will you come with me?”, “Will people think I am weird?”, “Does this look OK?” These thoughts stem from a young age. According to a National Report on Self Esteem, 98% of girls feel there is an immense pressure from external sources to look a certain way, which is a feeling that never truly leaves us. This pressure from society can leave always wanting
to fit in, thus not feeling encouraged to explore the world on our own as imperfect human beings.
When I told my female friends I was going to Europe by myself, most of them were in awe, yet excited. A few women said they could never do that. The truth is, you can, and you should. Life is a grand time to learn to stand on your own and share all you have to offer with the rest of the world. If you can’t learn yourself and above all, love yourself, how are you going to be able to lead like Hillary, work like RiRi, inspire like Malala or dominate like Bey?
It’s crucial to be in formation, create and build positive relationships with fellow females, but it’s just as vital to explore your own self and highly recommended to do so in a foreign place. And with Cadbury.
As we're gearing up for another Monday, I would like to highlight two women who inspired and empowered me this past week.
Ariel Winter wore a stunning strapless black gown by Romona Keveźa, accessorized with scars from her breast reduction surgery. "Guys there is a reason I didn't make an effort to cover up my scars! They are part of me and I'm not ashamed of them at all," Winter tweeted to fans.
Growing up, I was often bullied for being "extra" curvy and even considered having a breast reduction surgery as well. After becoming more comfortable in my body and surrounding myself with beautiful and stylish curvy women, I decided to not undergo the treatment.
Winter is sharing a story many young women experience, yet do not discuss. We live in a society that slams photos of large breasts on billboards, magazines, movies and music. Yet, young girls are criticized for blossoming early or beholding a large chest. Winter showing that she's proud of her body, scars and all, is beyond inspirational.
Beyonce broke the Internet this weekend by sharing her "Formation" music video. I love that Beyonce is using her talent and space in pop culture to shed light on race relations, black culture, feminism and beauty. She truly slays so hard that all of America is going to survive Monday with extra heart and hustle. Beyonce makes me proud to be a woman in 2016.
This is the real me: what I love, what makes me happy and what makes me buzz.