1. You shouldn't wait for that certain someone to come along to go to the place you've always wanted to go. Here's what I mean by that: I always thought I'd go to Italy for the first time on my honeymoon with the love of my life, but I'm currently single and didn't want to wait any longer to go—especially because I'm Italian. I want to get in touch with my roots! So, my friend Charlotte Palermino and I booked our tickets for the week of New Year's (because YOLO) and I can't tell you how rewarding it was to take that step. Honestly, it made me feel like I had control of my life, instead of waiting to meet the right guy to go to a destination I've always dreamed of.
2. When given the opportunity, you can figure out just about anything. When you're abroad and your phone is half-working and your friend is out of data, sometimes you have to figure things out for yourself. And whether that means navigating sans Google Maps or whatever, your sense of purpose all of a sudden feels heightened, which is never a bad feeling. Plus, you feel really good getting around town successfully with minimal help from the Internet (BUT SERIOUSLY, HOW DID WE LIVE BEFORE IT?!).
3. Slumber parties don't have to be just for teens. Bunking up with bestie when you're traveling not only saves you money, it takes you back to your high school days (only you get to drink wine now!) when you can just stay up late laughing and talking about boys—all while Instagramming, obviously.
4. Being positive, even when things go wrong, can change your entire vibe. Even though Charlotte and I missed our train to Milan from Florence and had to drop 200 euros on new tickets at the train station, we chose to laugh about the situation instead of letting it ruin our last day in Italy. Sure, we were crying inside about the money spent, but at the moment we had two choices: Be upset with one another and spoil the fun trip we just had, or choose not to sweat the small stuff. After all, it wasn't the worst thing that could have happened; we were both safe.
5. You're the most important thing in your life. Taking care of yourself and your wants, cares, and concerns should be your priority in life. When you do this, everything else falls in place—plus, you can better care for others. Just like when you're on the plane and the flight attendant tells you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others in an emergency.
6. You're not alone. There have been so many times where I've texted a guy and then thought to myself, Ugh, I should have waited until he texted me! but going on vacation with another single girl reminded me that I'm not the only one who does this. Plus, having one of your best girlfriends on vacation with you gives you a sounding board. So the next time you're being hard on yourself, remember you're not alone—aka some other girl is having the exact same conversation with herself that you're having with yourself.
7. Life is one big YOLO. This is an important lesson I learned from Charlotte. Get that extra glass of wine, bowl of pasta, or gelato—you can work it off together at boxing class when you get home.
8. Life is too short to surround yourself with negative people. Charlotte and I have been friends for a while, so I knew she was an awesome person, but you never know how people are when you travel with them. That said, we cried laughing the entire time (she couldn't keep her cat-eye intact) and I can't tell you how grateful I was for that. So, this awesome person you're traveling with? Surround yourself with more people like that in your everyday life and cut out anything or anyone negative, like that boy who doesn't understand how awesome you are.
9. You're luckier than you think you are. Just being able to go on vacation alone is a luxury, but going with someone who makes you have fun is a good reminder that you are amazing, you have amazing friends and an amazing life, you're able to experience new things, and you're in a far better place than you thought you were.
10. The one thing your life should be is effing awesome. You only get one go at this life, Charlotte says, and even though it sounds cliché, it's true. So set out to do everything you want to do to the best of your ability. Whether that's checking everything off your to-do list during a staycation, traveling a few hours away to explore a new place, or jet-setting across the world to another country—you deserve to live your best life!
11. Be open to trying new things. Sometimes you can get stuck in your ways and not go out of your comfort zone, but that's the cool thing about traveling with someone. Charlotte and I have different taste in food, so she would have me try things I wouldn't normally eat, like liver sausage (It wasn't as bad as it sounds, honestly!), octopus, and sardines. Not that I would eat any of that again, but I was glad I tried something new.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.