Travel Gets You Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Out of Your Comfort Zone

The thought of trying something new is always a little nerve-wracking, and when you hop on a plane that will take you far away, and far out of your comfort zone as well, it can understandably be a scary experience at first. Traveling to an unfamiliar location, with an entirely different way of living, where they might not even speak to same language as you is an incredibly daunting prospect to most people. It’s a challenge, and by the very nature of that word, it is never going to be easy. But most experienced travelers, myself included, will tell you that going around the globe is one of the greatest challenges they have ever set out on.

I’m standing on a cliff in the middle of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a deep pool of water down below me, and a group of 10 backpackers behind me, slow clapping the build-up to my jump. I have always been afraid of heights, and to me, the idea of throwing myself off anything in order get less than 5 seconds of adrenaline seems insane. Having said that, as I stood at the top of a 13 metre drop, after climbing between waterfalls and swimming through rivers to get there, I knew I would never forgive myself if I didn’t do it. I reassured myself that the jump wasn’t going to kill me (luckily those were not my famous last words), and I thought, what better place to face my fears?

One of the main things that ran through my mind at that moment was how lucky I was to have even been presented with this challenge in the first place. It is through travel that you’ll come across things that will put you to the test, whether it be jumping off a cliff, communicating with those who speak a different language, taking your first long-haul night bus, anything. But those kinds of challenges will help you to evolve and learn, and when you’re traveling that happens almost every day. Eventually they help you to shape and become the person that you are, and will be, for years to come.

So I jumped off that cliff, pushing my body out of my comfort zone, and plunged down into the water. In hindsight, confronting my fears head-on made them seem far less significant than they were before. As the blood pumped through my veins during the jump, I can safely say that there has never been a moment where I have felt more alive. That challenge, and others I have faced whilst traveling, has given me a new perspective on life. I now know that jumping off something high isn’t nearly as horrible as I thought it would be; patience is always a virtue, especially when you’re waiting for a bus in South America; valuables can be replaced, but your life cannot; and once you’ve seen a public toilet in Bolivia, you’ve seen the worst of them all.

Sir Francis Younghusband, a founding figure of Himalayan exploration, said back in 1921, ‘Those who have struggled with the mountains reveal beauties they will not disclose to those who make no effort.’ Now, I’m not telling anyone to go and climb the highest peak on earth, but Younghusband has a point here that can be transferred into all walks of life. The mountains for him signified a challenge, one with the greatest reward of them all, to be on top of the world. Being a travel writer, I do my best to put into words the beauties I have seen around the globe, but it’s always difficult to describe the sense of achievement you feel when you’ve reached your goal, overcoming everything in your way. All I can try and do is convince you to complete your own journey, defeating your own obstacles, with a little bit of warning from me as to what they might be. You’ll never realise how strong you are until you get out of your house, your hometown, your country, and tackle the tests the world is waiting to throw at you, and you’ll never know the person you have the potential to be unless you challenge yourself to become them.


Emma Higgins has been writing and traveling on and off since 2009. Her blog, Gotta Keep Movin’ is full of stories and advice from her trips, which include Europe, India, Morocco, South America, the USA and Canada. Her main focuses are budget travel and volunteering, and she has been involved in sustainable farming in Argentina, animal shelters in Peru, and even tried her hand at making goats cheese in British Columbia. Follow her travels on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Categories: Inspiration

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