Actress Drew Barrymore "freaked out" after turning her back on Hollywood to embark on a year-long spiritual quest abroad.

After wrapping her 2009 directorial debut in Whip It, Barrymore went on a solo journey to India to give herself a chance to reflect on her future.

However, the Charlie's Angels star admits she panicked when the time came to give up her career, since she has been working on movies continuously since her childhood.

She tells Good Housekeeping magazine, "It freaked me out. I was afraid to let go. But with great risk comes great reward. We always wonder (when single), 'Where is this person? Oh my God, I'm lonely; what's my future?' But eventually you'll meet somebody, and this time will be gone. And you will kick yourself for not enjoying it. For me, that year was a great investment. It made me realise, I'm ready for something different."

Barrymore is convinced the life-changing trip also made her better prepared for her new role as a wife and mother after marrying Will Kopelman and giving birth to a daughter, Olive, last September (12).

She adds, "Had I not carved out that time for myself, I don't know if I'd be as happy trying to figure out what makes my husband happy and how to be a good mom. I needed to be on my own and do my own thing."