Getting out of my comfort zone has always been something that I have struggled with. I love my comfort zone - it's reliable & safe, what can I say? So when I traveled abroad for the very first time, I had no expectations to do anything that made me uncomfortable. I had had enough discomfort on the sixteen hour flight to Australia in coach with about a square foot of space, right? Little did I know that the month I spent in Australia would push me out of my secure bubble on innumerable occasions, and ultimately help me discover parts of myself that I didn't even know were there.
The first thing in Australia that made me feel a little weird was the food. Call me a baby, but the food was hard to adapt to at first. My initial meal after I arrived at my host location was pumpkin soup. Lord have mercy, as a girl from small-town Kentucky, I didn't even know pumpkin soup was a thing; I wouldn't even eat vegetable soup at home. But guess what... I ate the pumpkin soup, and it was surprisingly good. This was a foremost baby step out of my comfort zone.
From that little step came longer strides - I conquered so many things in Australia that I never expected to do in my entire life. I went bungee jumping, I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I went snorkeling through the Great Barrier Reef, I learned how to surf (sort of), I went white water rafting on grade IV rapids. And the thing that makes all these activities significant: each one had an element of one of my biggest fears. With bungee jumping and bridge climbing, came my fear of heights. When I snorkeled & surfed, the water was over twenty feet deep &I have an extremely irrational fear of deep water. White water rafting in and of itself is terrifying so it doesn't need an explanation. ;) But seriously, I never in a million years thought I would do any of these things, let alone do them on an international trip where I essentially knew no one. But in doing these things, I conquered some of my biggest fears and found out that adrenaline-pumping activities can be exceptionally rewarding.
Traveling is about getting out of your comfort zone. If you know me, you know that I am always preaching about how travel changed my life and how going somewhere new can change your perspective on life, but it's not simply visiting a new destination that makes those changes. It's what you do while you're there. You have to get involved in the area's culture & get uncomfortable. In Australia, especially Cairns, the outdoors and risk-taking go hand-in-hand; adrenaline is what they live for. If I had stood by the wayside and not participated in these activities, I would be the same as I was when I boarded the plane. The importance of doing things you haven't done before, even when you're not traveling, is what makes life - & trips - worthwhile. My favorite memories of Australia almost always include one of my "uncomfortable" experiences. It's simply not enough, at least for me, to travel without experiencing something new and escaping the safe haven of my comfort zone.
You don't necessarily have to jump off of a ledge or climb a giant bridge to get out of your comfort zone & make your travels meaningful, you just have to do something different. Something that might make you feel weird or awkward or disagreeable. Something that makes you question yourself & your beliefs. Something that challenges you. Something that makes you want to do more.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. - Helen Keller
Hi, I'm Madeline
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