Travel Outside Your Comfort Zone

Travel Outside Your Comfort Zone

The nomad life is not all champagne and infinity pools, despite what Instagram might suggest. (When I tell people that I left my job to travel, that’s often what they imagine.) Lately, everywhere I look, I see another nomad off on a grand adventure [and you can too!]. Social media is full of these characters.

At first, I was incredibly inspired by the epic-osity of those lives. I planned my escape from the conventional office-job life for almost three years, and all the while I was relieved to see that other people had managed to do the same (thus instilling a small portion of confidence in an otherwise terrifying decision). But, I had a different style of travel in mind for my grand adventure.

 This is the sort of epic-osity that I was inspired by.  September 2017 - Iceland - Photo by  Derek Herndon .

This is the sort of epic-osity that I was inspired by.  September 2017 - Iceland - Photo by Derek Herndon.

Instead of traveling for glamour (I’m far from glamorous), I decided to travel for discomfort.

Why would I do that? Because I have had a very comfortable life thus far, and as a result, I’m incredibly picky (and a bit snobby if I’m being painfully honest).

I fear that if I don’t get out of my comfort zone, I’ll grow pickier (and snobbier) each year.

 If I had stuck to luxury, I never would have met this adorable little leader sheep.  September 2017- Iceland - Photo by Ali.

If I had stuck to luxury, I never would have met this adorable little leader sheep.  September 2017- Iceland - Photo by Ali.

With five months of the nomad life under my belt, let me just say that I’m still picky. But less so! How? I’ve dealt with some extremes that I had never experienced before (first world problems, I know). Here’s a brief sampling:

· I worked in a filthy hostel/restaurant that boasted just about every health code violation you can imagine.

· I hitchhiked for hundreds of miles with over a dozen strangers.

· I lived in a small family home with 13 adults sharing one bathroom.

· I worked on a sheep farm in the middle of nowhere.

· I visited a slaughterhouse and said goodbye to over 200 of the fluffy sheep that I had grown fond of.

 This was about a week before I visited the slaughterhouse.  September 2017 - Iceland - Photo by  Derek Herndon .

This was about a week before I visited the slaughterhouse.  September 2017 - Iceland - Photo by Derek Herndon.

Those experiences, which I will happily elaborate on in the future, were sometimes terrible, but they forced me to grow. I learned a lot from the extremes, and it’s all stuff I never would have discovered if I had been hitting the day spa or sipping on champagne in an infinity pool.

Plus, I’ve had exponentially more good experiences than bad, and most of them happened while I was amongst the discomfort!

· I spoke to strangers with confidence and befriended lovely people from over a dozen countries.

· I learned that not all people can be trusted, but many can be.

· I laughed harder than I ever had previously.

· I witnessed beautiful places at the recommendation of local people.

· I discovered that I love sheep! The actual animals, not just the cartoon versions that are so adorable.

· The list goes on…

These rewards definitely wouldn’t have happened if I had opted to stay in a posh hotel.

The mix of the good and the bad is a constant reminder to be appreciative of the people, experiences, and things that I do have.

This type of travel is certainly not for everyone, but it’s a great way to challenge yourself, learn about yourself, and collect some funny stories along the way.

Have you ever traveled outside your comfort zone? Did you enjoy it? If not, are you willing to give it a try?
 September 2017 - Iceland - Photo by  Derek Herndon .

September 2017 - Iceland - Photo by Derek Herndon.

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