Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone When Traveling
You surely love your comfort zone. Right? After all, it is familiar and predictable and makes you feel safe and secure. It is a healthy adaptation of your life, for you know what is your risk tolerance and what is non-negotiable for you. I’d say that it is a dangerous place as well, for it stops you from growth and newer experiences. In fact, it is a self-created prison which has walls made up of can’ts, shouldn’ts, negative self-talks and rigid thoughts and ideas.
Should you stay safely in this prison? The answer is a big No.
They say that you must live your life to the fullest and that means you must experience and explore unknown territories, both outside and inside of yourself. You should strive for more, you should step outside your comfort zone. Now, all that sounds good, but how do you do that?
Well, I believe that traveling is the best way to leave your comfort zone.
Over the last two decades, I have traveled a lot. A large part of it is due to work. For those of you who don’t know me, I’d like to share that I was an introvert and had huge mental blocks in doing anything out of routine. But extensive traveling has made me step out of my comfort zone and turned me into an outgoing introvert or an ambivert.
Stepping out of comfort zone does not mean that you must jump off a cliff or swim in a river with crocodiles, unless you want to, of course. It could be as simple as going on a solo trip or eating alone in a fancy restaurant or staying in a camping site.
Here are a few ways in which traveling expanded my comfort zone, forever.
- I can talk to people. For a shy person like me, interaction with people was an anxiety-filled experience and I avoided talking to strangers, completely. But when I started traveling for work and that too alone, I realized that keeping quiet did not help me in any way. If I needed directions, I had to ask someone. If I had talkative co-passengers, I couldn’t bury my nose in a book or use an eye mask, forever. It started with small chats and soon I realized that talking to strangers wasn’t all that difficult, in fact, some of my best chats have been with strangers which I remember with a fond smile, always.
- I can eat anything. I am that person, who orders masala dosa after scanning the menu from the first to the last page, every single time. Also, I am paranoid about hygiene and cleanliness. Few years ago, when I went to Kuwait, we were invited by our local hosts for dinner. They had prepared a lavish meal comprising of ducks, crabs and prawns. I am a non-vegetarian but restrict myself only to the chicken and mutton. The spread was certainly not in my comfort zone, but I ate all that was served that day. And then even tried beef and camel’s meat at a restaurant. I draw the line at some things and some places, but by and large, I eat whatever is available now.
- I can live without the comforts of home. Usually, I get to stay at star hotels but there have been times when I have stayed in a basic camp which had a bed, a small table, a very small mirror, a chair, 2 candles and a match box. Yes, you got it right, no electricity!! It was my home for a week. While this was ok, it was the dry-pit toilet that was challenging. Dry-pits are eco-friendly, no fuss toilets. There is a hole in the ground with a western style wooden “thunder box” placed over the hole. No squatting required!! You’d like to thank the inventor for this one!! The back of this “thunder box” is open so that it is easy to scoop in sand and lime from the back for covering up. A scoop is provided for this purpose. Toilet paper is provided too!! Thank God for small mercies! While I dilly dallied for a while, but could I survive without using the dry-pit toilets?
My travel experiences have made me stretch my personal boundaries. I am open to doing things I never would have imagined. The resultant experiences were uncomfortable initially but have been fantastic and memorable. They also helped me to learn what I am capable of and changed my perspective on a lot many things and made me a more confident version of myself.
What about you? How do you travel outside your comfort zone? What lessons can you share with us?
March 2, 2018 12:51 pm|
Oh yes, Shilpa. Been there as well. Traveling by road has brought me face to face with many lessons that wouldn’t have come otherwise. Like eating at places I’d never venture into, otherwise. Or befriending people that I’d happily pass by with a smile perhaps? I’ve gone beyond my comfort zones while trekking and those have been real toughies…ones that have taught me to appreciate whatever comes by and accept them with gratitude. I’d like my son to go through these as well, so that he learns to appreciate the comforts and the privileges that comes to him now.
March 2, 2018 1:11 pm|
Interesting points Your so right, travel broadens the mind. I was lucky to travel when I was younger and I think the world would be a better place if all youngsters travelled. My students are so insular and narrow minded.
March 2, 2018 5:07 pm|
Very interesting and amazing points. Traveling made me appreciate other culture and customs,
March 2, 2018 5:54 pm|
So happy to hear that travelling is made you step out and make friends in all spheres.
I remember an experience with the dry toilet – it was at a rafting camp at Rishikesh and I was aghast by the smell emanating out of it – it was painful as it was a communal sharing one and not restricted to a few. I had a hard time getting the job done as the smell was nauseating- hats off to you for mastering it!! 😉
March 2, 2018 6:17 pm|
A group of us bloggers once did a fiction workshop . Some topics were totally out of my comfort zone yet I managed . The start is always difficult but once you overcome it’s a lot easier for any mental block
March 2, 2018 9:38 pm|
Not been there … never done that.. wow.. your experiences must be so uncomfortable at first…
Life happens at the end of the comfort zone. Never tried camel’s meat. Or stayed in camps. Sounds exciting though. 🙂
March 2, 2018 10:31 pm|
Necessity can be the force of change that we never knew we are capable of. Having said this, I have to say that now that I am in my mid 60’s, it is a lot harder to step out of that comfort zone – and I really have to force myself, even for small steps. The comfort zone is just too comfy. The one thing that surprises me is how I (an introvert) can easily talk with others – IF they make the initial contact.
March 2, 2018 10:55 pm|
My life is traveling. I live full time in an RV. It’s not roughing it. I meet many new people, see new things and places, and eat local foods.
I just relocated from a few months exploring New Orleans to Magnolia Branch Wildlife Reserve. I moved from urban camping to rural camping.
March 2, 2018 10:55 pm|
Sometimes I think my comfort zone may be nomadic life.
March 3, 2018 3:55 pm|
I really don’t travel much and that is perhaps why I suffer from a huge amount of travel anxiety. The food and the stay wouldn’t be an issue, nor would be talking to strangers, which like you now, I enjoy too. It’s the other things that worry me – the keeping track of flight timings and making sure catch it.
March 4, 2018 12:36 pm|
I still don’t know how would I survive in a camp. Corbett is like 2 hours drive from our home, and I haven’t visited ever due to my paranoia of lizards and likes.
March 4, 2018 1:19 pm|
I couldn’t agree more. With my parents, we traveled a lot and that is where I learnt about having conversations with strangers. I can talk to anyone. And I also know how much to share and how much to ask. Then we VT, our road trips have pushed us to areas that are new and hardships like never before. Our last Ladakh trip was way out of comfort. 12 days on the road taught us more that we could imagine. So with you there, Shilpa! How I wish I could travel more 🙂
March 4, 2018 2:44 pm|
Oh, absolutely! Though we take vacations, thanks to P’s postings, we get to move around a lot. Being a typical South Indian, I never had a palate for Methi, Mustard fish and the likes. But now I’m all up for it. Love the post, Shilpa 🙂
March 5, 2018 6:25 am|
On Easter, 1980, I traveled down to Guaymas, Mexico and spent a day or so at Playa San Carlos. Taking the train back to Nogales, I found myself in a large, crowded car, with about 50 locals. We all stretched out on large pads, as there were no seats. A bottle of local water was passed around. I was raised to never insult people, so I took a healthy swig. The dysentary lasted two days, but I am immune to that sort of amoeba now.
March 5, 2018 8:52 am|
Yes, travel is an expereince, it teaches you much more than you are actually aware. From valuing all things familiar which we otherwise take for granted to learning to manage with the available resources, its a must on a regular basis for one and all.
March 5, 2018 10:49 am|
Yes, travelling does make up open to a lot of new experiences. Even I started experimenting with food after I started living in different places. But I don’t know if I will survive a dry pit toilet… I once went to a toilet in a dense national park where the hole was so deep that it actually scared me… It looked dark and I was afraid a snake might jump out of it . But then these are experiences that make travelling so fascinating and interesting
March 5, 2018 5:18 pm|
I been travelling a lot recently so am getting the hang on it all , seeing new places and offcourse meeting new people .
and as everyone said it does enrich one with experiences 🙂
March 5, 2018 9:11 pm|
I am actually not such a huge fan of travel, unless it’s with family. I do like the occasional work trips but I need basic comforts. Being a vegetarian also means I have specific meal options and requirements. But having said all that, I can adapt quite well to circumstances when I travel.. In principle, it’s essentially, being able to manage with what we have. 🙂
March 7, 2018 8:42 am|
I’ve never had to “live rough” for extended periods, but my husband and I used to tent camp each summer, and I always figured I could deal with almost any living conditions for limited periods of time. I also don’t understand why people want “familiar” food when traveling to a foreign country. I may not eat every exotic thing on the menu, but I would hate to never expand my palate.
You sound like travel has done wonderful things for you, Shilpa! (And hey, I like the look of the blog.)
March 7, 2018 12:35 pm|
I love travelling – less the plane trips and being squeezed in with strangers for hours, but all the rest! I’ve still not become very comfortable chatting with strangers, but I do enjoy the rest 🙂
March 7, 2018 2:23 pm|
I love to travel. And while I prefer basic comfort, I am game for trying different things. In food though, I stick with seafood and chicken. But we encourage the kids to try other meats. I also love to chat and mingle with the locals. That has made my travels so enriching and exciting. Actually the husband and I start feeling antsy if we don’t travel for a few months. These days we try to take Coco along with us for some more fun.
March 7, 2018 4:12 pm|
I’m a huge traveler. My biggest issue was transcending the fear that came with physically challenging travel, such as sailing across the Pacific. What was most helpful was digging deep into my past to understand where the fear came from and learning strategies, i.e breathing techniques, more experience in sailing, anti-anxiety medication, therapy, relaxing music, puzzles, well-balanced diet, exercise… to use the fear to help me through my journey.
March 8, 2018 1:21 pm|
So truly said Shilpa. We must push ourselves to the wall and cliff edge’s to liberate the soul and mind. It’s priceless. No tag for such freedom. Very motivating
March 9, 2018 11:15 am|
The dry-pit toilet sounds like an interesting concept :)))
Traveling is what I love doing and what has shaped me into the person I am today, from a fussy, spoilt brat that I was!
Your well written post resonated with me, Shilpa. Loved it!
March 9, 2018 11:35 am|
There was a time I didn’t know what it was to stay in one place. Traveling was a way of life for me. My hubby was in a follow the sun project and every six months we would move to a new place. I have lived in a car due to landslide and many such places which today sounds adventurous but during that time, it was scary. Lovely post-Shilpa. Took me back a few years.
February 2, 2023 7:16 pm|
From what I’ve read, it’s kind of fun. It makes me relax and feel happy in your blog.
February 3, 2023 11:57 am|
I like your comment post thanks for sharing.
February 12, 2023 11:25 pm|
Ioanna Andrianopoulou, innehaver av Afrodite’s Beauty, er opprinnelig fra Hellas hvor hun har tatt sin utdanning, men har bott og arbeidet i Sverige og Norge de siste 7 årene. Hun har over 15 års erfaring i bransjen. Som kunde kan du altså føle deg trygg på at alle behandlinger blir utført på en proffesjonell måte.
February 12, 2023 11:26 pm|
hye i liked your comment
March 27, 2023 9:49 pm|
here are strategies to maintain cash to stretch your excursion price range. Booking matters earlier isn’t typically a smart concept … for me, last minute bookings work.