I traveled a lot in my 20s, but solo travel is the best now that I’m in my 30s

Most of the time, I traveled by myself, chasing parties worldwide. It resulted in many

Most of the time, I traveled by myself, chasing parties worldwide. It resulted in many days wasted, money spent, and nights forgotten.

Friends would come and go, and at the time, I thought this was how travel was supposed to be. But as I entered my 30s, I realized I wasn’t a 21-year-old on a mission to party five nights a week anymore.

Travel is way better this way.

In time, my idea of a bucket list stopped being to see how many European bars I could cross off my list. Now, I try to see how many local haunts and historic sites I can visit during a trip while still giving myself time to relax.

Some of my most treasured days are spent cruising around the Croatian Islands with friends, wandering through the Scottish Highlands, and learning about the cultures through the eyes of the locals.

I also started putting myself out there and participating in group walking tours and hostel-organized activities to learn about cultures and local cuisines.

By doing things I truly enjoy, I began to find others with similar interests along the way. And exploring an unfamiliar country is even better when you do it with friends you can relate to.

I’ve also learned how to let myself rest. In my 20s, I’d jump from hostel to hostel with a backpack and a plan to live on the edge.

No matter how tired I felt, I’d tell myself to keep going and power through. I’ve since realized some of the best evenings come from staying in with good friends.

And I know now that I’m not missing out on anything if I don’t rush through my travels.

A decade ago, I was bouncing around countries and friendships.

The people I met in hostels were friends I’d drink with — we felt no need to talk about feelings or real-life problems.

In my 30s, I find myself chasing deeper connections.

I’m more mature in my approach, too. Dinner dates and coffee talks, where I learn more about people in a few hours than I used to in weeks, are my new norm.

Sure, I still go on the occasional hostel bar crawl, but I find more of my nights end in deep chats at 3 a.m. with friends I’ll keep in touch with for life.

With 30 comes a whirlwind of emotions and insecurities, but it also comes with a whole new appreciation for life, relationships, and the beauty of exploring new cities to find our place in the world.

It’s come with confidence that’s allowed me to open up and share experiences with new people. Now, I’ve got friends around the world.

No longer am I the timid girl in her early 20s, unable to say no and make difficult decisions. In my 30s, I tell myself I hold the dice and the odds are always in my favor.

Really, I’ve found my travel bliss — a harmonious marriage between freedom and independence.