Laz Alonso hosted a private launch party and press conference at the Studio Museum in Harlem to commemorate his new role as the travel ambassador of BlackAtlas.com, American Airlines’ self-proclaimed “passport to the black experience.” As ambassador, Alonso will travel around the world, chronicling his journey in videos featured on the BlackAtlas.com website. While a select group of guests celebrated Alonso’s new endeavor in one of the most historic black meccas in the world, I couldn’t help but beam with pride.

I remember a time when it was believed that traveling was for white people. They were cultured enough and had the means and resources to take it up as a hobby. On Friday night, Laz Alonso’s party was full of people of color who had traveled around the world. And the very fact that American Airlines is investing in black travel, with a website and celebrity ambassador, is a testament to how much we collectively enjoy it.

One facet of traveling we don’t readily embrace, however, is the idea of traveling solo. As Laz prepares to explore exciting destinations across the world, I couldn’t help but think of how thrilling, exhilarating and liberating it is to travel alone.

Here are four reasons we should give it a chance:

1. Freedom

There’s nothing like the freedom of solo travel. You are by yourself and therefore, in total control of your schedule. You don’t have to answer to friends with their specific interests and needs. You can stick closely to an itinerary or throw it away and let serendipity lead the way. The choice is all yours.

2. Friends

When traveling as a group, it’s easy to get engrossed in the people you came with. Sure it’s wonderful to create memories with old friends, but there’s something to be said for venturing out and making new friends.

As a solo traveler, you are more open to meeting people as situations call for you to seek out help. In doing so, you foster new connections that enrich your experience as a whole.

3. Self-Discovery

I’m the kind of person that loves to be alone to hear her own thoughts. Solo travel lets you be introspective and observational while discovering new land, foods, customs and ways of living.

You also discover so much about yourself as you learn to adapt to an unfamiliar environment. You will come back with a greater sense of self and will be richer for the experience.

4. Challenge

The idea of traveling to a new place alone is scary for some and not just for reasons of safety and perceived security. It’s daunting to have to rely on yourself to figure out an itinerary, learn the lay of the land, master basic communication, meet new people and navigate unfamiliar territory. But it’s also thrilling and invigorating.

As a solo traveler, you’ll be challenged in new ways every single day. Imagine the pride you’ll feel after you rise to the occasion each time.

What are your thoughts, Clutchettes? Would you consider traveling alone?


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