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by Lauren Zelek, Pack Up + Go Contributor

Spring is right around the corner, meaning folks are ready to come out of their dens and do some exploring… Have you been thinking of taking a solo trip, whether it’s for spiritual or personal reasons, or just taking a break from work?

Numerous factors will shape where, when and how to travel solo, especially when you are tight on time, money, or have no clue where to start. Everyday some 102,465 flights take off around the world, and according to the U.S. Travel Association, international travel is one of America’s leading exports. The choices aren’t overwhelming at all…

Deciding where to go should not be stressful and complex, though. Since returning to the U.S. after growing up in Asia, I’ve become a big proponent of traveling, exploring, and experiencing the thick — the real fiber — of my own country and its kaleidoscope of subcultures. This natural curiosity has granted me amazing group adventures — like the The Millennial Train Project and meaningful experiences with Americans across the country.

The real surprise, however, is that I’ve enjoyed many U.S. cities “flying solo.”

Have you ever ventured to the opposite coast or headed to a border North or South of the U.S.?

Here are four reasons to discover America on your own time, terms, and agenda this spring:

1. Dive into our diverse history: From visiting the slave quarters of Mount Pleasant, SC and the Cuban culture of Miami, to the pilgrim houses in Boston and Japanese-American internment camps in California or Hawaii, you’ll see for yourself the many treasures that still stand as tributes to our becoming the greatest nation on earth. Seeing it solo is a powerful way to connect with your heritage, intentions and goals as a global citizen of the world.

2. Experience our awe-inspiring geography: Forests, seas, mountains, caverns, deserts, rivers, lakes…the U.S. has it all. Our country is known for it’s 58 diverse national parks (some even accommodating to the solo traveler). The lesser-known, preserved outdoor regions give you a chance to unplug and roam the paths in solitude.

3. Indulge in regionally influenced, palate-pleasing food: Given our melting pot history, wherever you go, you’ll delight in regional cuisines that send the palate on a magic carpet of tasting adventures that cannot be rivaled. Some of my “stuffing my face favorites” are: Japanese restaurants of San Francisco, CA and New York City; food trucks of D.C. and Austin, TX; and “fusing” multicultural restaurants bolstering the economy of cities like Atlanta, GA, New Orleans, LA and Colorado Springs, CO.

For the rest of this article and for more inspiration, head over to Lauren’s blog!

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