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Is It Really about Getting Outside our Comfort Zones?

I’m sure you’ve heard people talk about getting outside our comfort zones as a positive way to challenge ourselves. They say, “you’ll be surprised what happens when you do it.”

But there is something about that phrase, when applied to travel in particular, that makes it feel undesirable to me.

Frankly, that phrase doesn’t make me want to travel. It makes me wonder, what kind of discomfort am I in for? And why would I want to be uncomfortable on my vacation?

At the root of it, the phrase is telling us to try something new, do something different, and go somewhere we’ve never gone before. Now, that sounds exhilarating and wonderfully escapist – not uncomfortable.

When you are in a new place, you have to be more aware of your surroundings. Like a meditation practice, you have to be hyper present. Everything is new. You come alive. And you turn into a child again – if only for a short time – observing and relishing the most mundane details of life.

And inevitably, travel lets stress and discomfort experienced in daily life melt away into the background.

So I’d prefer using a different phrase when talking about the benefits of travel. How about “exploring the unknown,” “feeling like a kid again,” “coming alive”, “escaping”, or “feeling freedom”?

What about you? What phrase or perspective inspires you to travel?

That’s me swinging on a Tarzan swing in the Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica. 🙂

  • chuck
    May 28, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    As I have been on the Magical Island of Kauai for the last week
    the WORD that comes to mind is SURRENDER
    Although you have captured it wonderfully in your piece.

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