From Cosmopolitan

The summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, I spent three weeks studying abroad in Salzburg, Austria. Like a lot of other students who go abroad, I used being on the European continent as an excuse to travel around by myself before and after my program. I thought it would be this magical, transformative journey where I’d learn a bunch of Important Shit about myself (I was 20 lol) and discover the true joys of being a fully independent young woman.

That’s what I’d been led to believe by all those aspirational, viral internet essays that assholes who study abroad (me) love to share with their friends. The experience felt like one that’s practically vital for anyone who can afford the extreme luxury of taking off to Europe for two months. Traveling all alone seemed especially vital for my development as a young woman, a bracket of society that’s often unfairly portrayed and criticized as too dependent (young men, of course, are independent and self-sufficient by the very nature of their male-ness). The fact that so much internet space is dedicated to lists about why women should do shit alone, what it really means to be a stay at home mom, or why it’s OK for women to be the breadwinner in the family, means the general assumption is that women, by default, are dependent. If women were independent enough on their own, all this discussion wouldn’t have to exist.