• In 2016, I moved overseas from England to the United States for the first semester.
  • This was the first time I lived away from home when I was 20 years old.
  • Even if the concept scares you, I recommend traveling alone to anyone who can.

When I boarded the plane to Philadelphia, I swallowed my tears.

That year was 2016 and I was about to start. 4-month exchange semester At Millersville University, Pennsylvania. At that time, I was 20 years old, it was my first time to fly alone, and my first time to live away from home.

For those who are used to leaving their families, four months may seem like a moment, but I wasn’t.I Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, where I attended college as well. I stayed at my parents’ house to save money, and whenever I traveled it was a family vacation.

Moving abroad alone was the most horrifying thing I’ve ever done. I would recommend it to anyone who thinks of themselves as a “home body” like me, or who can.

It made me brave and influenced the decisions I made later in my life

If I was asked what I was scared of when I boarded the plane, I wouldn’t have been able to give a reasonable answer. What if the university wasn’t safe? What if I don’t get along with my roommate? What if I hate the United States and want to return home?

For the first few weeks, I remember always calling my mother to update her or ask for advice when she came across something to worry about or challenge.

There were many things surprised About Millersville and American university culture in general. Millersville is a dry campus (not in the UK), more workloadd than before, and shocked to see emergency calls connected to local police scattered around the campus. I did.

But in the end, I adapted to my surroundings. Being in Millersville was spectacular and allowed me to celebrate traditions and holidays not found in Britain, such as returning home, Thanksgiving, and American football games. I made friends with other international students. Taught each other about each culture And language.

Miheira us

Miheira of America.

Miheira Friel / Insider


By the time four months had passed, I was no longer aware of myself. I am more confident than ever and have been inspired to continue trying new life experiences to get out of my comfort zone.

So, three years later, when I was offered a reporting job at Insider’s London office, I never thought about accepting it twice. At that time, I didn’t know anyone in the British capital, which I had only visited a few times — certainly not enough to know it well.

But I found myself excited, not scared. It was the opposite of what it was three years ago.

Spending time in America stimulated my love for travel

While studying abroad, I was able to explore several places such as New York City, Washington DC, Harrisburg, and New Jersey. I kept a travel blog and recorded each trip. I went home and gave it to my family and friends.

By studying abroad, I have come to prioritize travel. After that, I visited my friends who live abroad, I explored the neighborhood of my city I’ve never been there before.The latter was what I started doing more During a pandemicWhen I find out that you don’t have to go far or spend a lot of money to travel.

A few years after my role as an insider, I was given the opportunity to write some trips. Started for the first time in October Solo cruise, Cunard’s five-night voyage in Western Europe.It was one of the first cruises to Leaving the UK since the pandemic I started.

Mihaira Cruise

Miheira Friel was on her first port of call in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Miheira Friel / Insider


There was no plus one during the trip, but soon Became a friend With other passengers.

If I hadn’t been to the United States many years ago, I thought I might not have been confident of navigating other experiences that define my life, such as moving to London and embarking on my first solo cruise.

Traveling alone, and traveling at a young age, can be a terrifying experience if you’ve never been there before. But it is often a horrifying experience that tells us the most about ourselves and what we can do.