Stepping out of your comfort zone is the #1 message that I’m trying to spread through my travel writing. From my experience, it’s the best way to make the most of your time on the road.
But first, let’s back up a bit. If you are agreeing to travel in general, then you are already agreeing to step out of your comfort zone. You are willing and eager to explore new territories, meet new people, try new foods, and immerse yourself in a new culture. That’s the nuts and bolts for why we all travel. Creating new experiences, which later result in creating lifelong memories.
What it Means to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone Abroad
But that’s not all. That is just basic stuff.
If you really break down the phrase “Stepping out of your comfort zone,” it means doing things that you don’t feel comfortable with doing. Getting outside of your comfort levels. I encourage you to push yourself in unfamiliar places, to do things that you wouldn’t normally do. Now, I realize that this can mean several different things to different people.
In my mind, stepping out of my comfort zone means:
- Doing an extreme sport or activity (like bungee jumping)
- Asking random people on the streets for directions
- Approaching a girl in a bar who doesn’t speak English
- Trying a crazy foreign food
- Venturing out “off the beaten path” to explore hidden parts of a city
- Living on the edge
Everything on this list can be accomplished with the “mind over matter” mentality. If you can think of it, then you absolutely can do it!
Always New Possibilities
Every day when I am on the road, there are numerous opportunities where I can step out of my comfort zone.
I try to indulge in as many as possible, whether it be fun, crazy, exciting, thrilling, or all of the above. When you really think about it, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll see any of the people again that you meet in foreign countries. Take that mentality, and you can be whoever you want to be. That’s the way to do it!
By stepping out of my comfort zone over the last few years, I have created incredible and unforgettable experiences.
I can’t even describe to you how thrilling it was to go bungee jumping in Switzerland from 150 meters high, or that time when I went cliff jumping in Greece.
What about that time when I made best friends with a random stranger in Sri Lanka who didn’t speak a lick of English. All of these experiences are what keeps me hungry for more. There’s no question that it’s the best way to live life.
Lastly, I would like to share a story from a time when I stepped out of my comfort zone.
Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone in Istanbul
I was in Istanbul with 2 friends in the summer of 2012. On one warm summer afternoon, we were roaming around the streets when we saw a street sign for a “Turkish Bath.” We immediately looked at each other in agreement and walked inside the building.
My Turkish Bath Experience
At the time, I had only heard about Turkish Baths from a friend. He just told me that I needed to check it out.
I didn’t know any details. Well, my friends and I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.
From the second we walked through the doors, we were stared at from all directions by people who spoke zero English. Basically, we walked inside and were told to strip down fully nude and put on this tiny skirt that didn’t even fit around my waist. Then, we had to walk into a large sauna, where we got scrubbed down by an old, hairy, and fat Turkish guy.
The guy stretched out every muscle in my body while pouring buckets of freezing cold, soapy water on my head. I remember looking at my friend and saying “What in the hell are we doing right now?”
Overall, it was a hilarious and unforgettable experience. I can proudly look back, share my story and laugh at the memories. But this story only exists because of one thing. Can you guess what it was? I stepped out of my comfort zone.
Do it, and you won’t regret it 🙂
Bio: Drew is a college graduate who has visited 45+ countries since the beginning of 2012. His favorite things about traveling are eating the local foods, meeting awesome people and experiencing the nightlife scene.