The beginning of a new year always triggers change and eye-opening self-reflection. It's normal if within these first couple months of 2017, you're questioning whether or not you feel fulfilled.
If you feel like your life is at a standstill, you feel lost or you feel stuck in a rut, it's obvious what you need.
You need to plan an amazing, perspective-altering and therapeutic trip.
You need a lavish, self-healing solo trip that shakes you out of the funk you've been trapped in and makes you realize how amazing life is.
You need to let loose, get out of your comfort zone and treat yourself to an unforgettable experience that changes your story.
Here are seven reasons you shouldn't feel guilty spending all your cash on a solo trip, especially if you're feeling stuck in a rut:
1. You actually can afford to stay at that fancy hotel.
Have you ever dreamed of treating yourself to a stay at a luxury hotel, but you convinced yourself that you simply can't afford to spend all that cash?
Chances are, you just don't realize you actually can swing it. For example, did you forget about the air miles you've earned through your credit card rewards program?
A recent rewards card study by Capital One found that nearly two-thirds of rewards cardholders aren't actually knowledgeable about their credit card's travel rewards.
I used to be guilty of this. I've let my air miles expire because I forgot I had them, all the while complaining that I couldn't afford to travel.
A friend of mine similarly didn't use the miles she had earned because she assumed that if she tried to use them, she'd get push-back in the form of complicated restrictions, and that it would be a hassle to redeem them.
It just goes to show so many of us fail to take advantage of money-saving perks that are right under our noses because we assume there's no such thing as a free ride.
Some credit cards, however, are specifically geared towards travelers such as Capital One's Venture card. It lets you redeem your miles toward any flight, any airline and any hotel with no blackout dates and no foreign transaction fees.
Long story short: By taking advantage of reward miles, I was able to spend more on my accommodation. Last summer, I got to stay at the luxurious Beverly Hills Hotel. (Don't be jealous, just read about my experience here and live vicariously through me!)
2. Temporarily living in a fantasy can help remind you of life's beauty.
When I was staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel, it was as though I had left the real world and had temporarily entered a fantasy world where my problems didn't exist, and my persona and decorum completely transformed (because all of my negativity simply vanished).
At times during my stay, I felt like a completely different person.
It reminded me the old, happy me was still in there somewhere. She was just hiding, that's all.
I hadn't seen that carefree version of myself in so long that it legitimately seemed like an out-of-body experience (in a good way). I had come out of hiding, and it felt amazing.
This was a very self-healing trip for me because at the time, I was feeling stuck, unhappy and lost.
This short getaway actually made me want to stop hiding from the world.
Now, I plan on visiting all 10 of the world's best beaches by 2019, and I'm more determined than ever to check off all the destinations on my bucket list.
3. A solo trip can help you break free from the metaphorical prison you've been trapped in.
Many of us choose to hide behind metaphorical prison bars throughout our day-to-day lives, despite being free agents.
Whether it be due to anxiety, depression, insecurities, heartbreak or low self-worth, many of us are trapped in a metaphorical prison cell.
A solo trip pushes you out of that mental prison and out into the world, where suddenly, your thoughts and feelings change.
You're reminded of who the real you is or could be.
4. A rebound vacation is so much better than a rebound relationship.
If you experienced heartbreak in 2016, let 2017 be the year you finally get past it and move on. A rebound relationship won't do this for you because so many of the same feelings and insecurities will come up.
A rebound vacation, however, can work wonders when it comes to healing heartbreak.
You'll be so consumed with the beauty, stimuli and sensations around you during your trip that you'll finally forget about whoever broke your heart.
5. A vacation can actually re-train your brain how to date.
There's a reason so many people attest to the fact that it's easier to find love abroad.
The carefree, in-the-moment, go-getter version of yourself that miraculously comes out during a holiday is the exact version that should be showcased when you're dating.
That's why getting away from your city and traveling can re-train your brain how to date.
This is what I like to call the holiday mindset, and I firmly believe that a permanent vacation mindset is the cure for dating stagnation.
If we always presented ourselves the way we do on vacation (being positive, happy, light-hearted and fun), we'd get a lot further in our dating lives.
6. An incredible memory that you gain on a trip will become your source of light during dark times.
Speaking of freeing yourself, the amazing memories you make after an incredible, transformative trip hold a lot of power.
It's these memories that change your life story, and you'll have them to hold on to and look back on whenever you're feeling imprisoned, stuck or depressed.
All it takes is one incredible memory of a time when you were inarguably happy to restore your faith in yourself, your hope for your future and your belief in your ability to be happy.
When shit gets dark, you can escape to your happy place, but only if you remember the last time you were in your happy place.
It's a lot easier if you've recently been away.
7. At the end of the day, experiences are more important than things.
The happiest people are those who spend their money on experiences instead of things. You don't need handbags or designer shoes.
What you need are experiences and memories to shape who you are, to help you become the best version of yourself and to restore your belief in life's beauty.
Experiences spur personal growth and self-betterment, and that's why they're worth every single dollar spent.
By spending your cash on a therapeutic getaway in the form of an enriching experience, you're bringing yourself more joy than any other "thing" could give you.