Travel alone, like this woman hiking past Gosainkund Lake in Nepal’s Langtang region, and you may be more attuned to the beauty of your surroundings.

“You’re so brave!”

When I tell people I’m traveling solo, that’s the most common response I get. And while it’s a well-intentioned comment, I’m irked that anyone still thinks a woman setting off alone might feel isolated or intimidated. In an ideal world, solo female travel wouldn’t be defiant or courageous, it would be simply a personal preference. In fact, when I take a trip by myself, my senses seem acutely tuned in to my environment, from the people I meet (or shy away from) to the streets I walk down (or skip).

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