How Travel Can Expand Your Comfort Zone (Even if it Scares You)

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How Travel Can Expand Your Comfort Zone (Even if it Scares You)

Expand your comfort zone and build self confidence with travel.

There are a million reasons to travel. I firmly believe that there’s not a wrong way to travel. Everyone has different motivations. You might be looking to learn something new. Perhaps you’re fascinated by the history, the art, or the architecture of a place. Travel is the best way to experience new cultures and languages. You can explore nature and see wildlife that you might never have seen before. Maybe you’re not looking to even learn anything at all because you simply want to relax on a beautiful beach. No matter the reason, I am happy anytime I see people retreating from the everyday to see the world. However, maybe you didn’t immediately think that the trip you’re about to take could expand your comfort zone and make you stronger.

Use Travel to Expand Your Comfort Zone

By taking on new challenges as you travel, you’re stepping outside your comfort zone. This might be a little bit scary. Trust me, if you’re scared, it means that you’re doing it right! Let me admit something to you right now: I get scared sometimes when I travel to a new place.

I remember flying alone for the first time. I wasn’t afraid necessarily of sitting in a chair at an altitude of 30,000 feet in the sky. It was the fact that I was by myself. It was a fear of the unknown. Of course, I navigated the airports for my connecting flights. I picked up my luggage and took public transit to my hotel without any issues. After that first time flying by myself, it became easier the next time I did it. Now, it’s a total breeze and I don’t even question flying on my own. By stepping outside my comfort zone, I gained confidence and became more self reliant. 

I didn’t fly anywhere until I was 22 years old. Could you imagine if I had never taken that first flight? While fear never kept me from flying, I was nervous to get in the plane for the first time. If I didn’t expand my comfort zone and feel the initial discomfort of facing the unknown, I would not be the same person that I am today. If there’s something I’ve learned, I’ve never regretted pushing myself to try something new, even if it’s scary.

How Travel Can Expand Your Comfort Zone (Even if it Scares You)

Try Something New, No Matter How Small

Maybe you aren’t ready to try an extreme sport. Skydiving and bungee jumping just isn’t my idea of fun. You don’t have to try anything too crazy to expand your comfort zone. Travel experiences can challenge us to try something new.

For instance, I was intimidated to drive on the other side of the road (the left) when I’m used to driving on the right. But, I really want to take road trips around countries like Ireland and New Zealand where they drive on the left. Once I tried driving on the left, I realized that it wasn’t that bad and I just needed to get used to it. 

My sister was downright terrified after attempting to ride a scooter in the Turks and Caicos. We rented scooters in Grand Turk and she was very intimidated to operate a scooter for the first time on bumpy dirt roads. But, she persevered. We both wanted to explore the island on our own, and that was the only way we could do it properly in a day. She pushed herself to keep going and after a while, it became easier to ride from place to place.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone while traveling doesn’t have to be a grand feat. You might decide to try speaking in an unfamiliar language to a local. If you’re embarking on a solo trip, you might need to dine at a restaurant alone. It could be trying a new sport, like snorkeling or surfing. Out of all the times where I pushed myself to try something new, I’ve never regretted it. In fact, I’ve always either come away absolutely loving the experience or having a fascinating story to share

How Travel Can Expand Your Comfort Zone (Even if it Scares You)
I never imagined that I’d get this close to a giraffe at the Giraffe Center in Nairobi!

Destinations to Expand Your Comfort Zone

Sometimes the country or destination itself can expand your comfort zone. It might be easier or more comfortable to travel within your own country or region so you don’t experience culture shock. While it’s more relaxing to retreat to a cruise ship or resort (don’t get me wrong; I adore these types of holidays, too!), let’s challenge ourselves this year. For your next trip, choose somewhere that’s more challenging. Pick a place that has a language barrier or cultural differences. Select a country that you find intriguing and interesting, but you’ve always put off visiting because it’s trickier to plan and experience.

I’ve got a few ideas and suggestions that aren’t too wild. They’re perfect to expand your comfort zone just enough. Learn about fascinating new cultures and customs. Try new food and dishes that you’ll be craving once you come home. Step outside of the ordinary to witness extraordinary scenery that might take a little bit of effort to reach. These experiences will have you craving more and will surely fuel your wanderlust for years to come. If you’re looking to go above and beyond, check out this article about backpacking off the beaten track.

Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is a massive area with an immense variety for world travelers. There are a large amount of countries, and it’s tricky to know where to start. Consider a backpacking trip across some of the countries, taking in the local flavors, sights, and cultures as you go. The natural attractions and history of the region, both varied and fascinating, attracts travelers from all over the world. 

Angkor Wat and Bali are must see locations that you should incorporate into your travel plans. In Vietnam, consider visiting the rice fields in Ninh Binh. To venture off the beaten path, go to Burma to explore ancient temples and be dazzled by the stunning Inle Lake. Tourists have only been able to visit Myanmar in recent years, and it’s important to be familiar with the local laws, customs and traditions. Dress conservatively and cover your shoulders in temples. Do not discuss politics in public with the locals. Be sure to give money only with your right hand, as using the left hand is offensive. By visiting Southeast Asia, you’ll expand your comfort zone by learning new customs and immersing yourself fully in entirely new situations.

How Travel Can Expand Your Comfort Zone (Even if it Scares You)

Retreats Across the World

Try some unusual retreats for your next holiday abroad. Going to a yoga retreat in India, the birthplace of yoga, can be a life-altering experience. Goa or Kerala boast of some of the finest in the world. Wellness retreats across the pond in countries like New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, and Thailand can be extremely rewarding. If you’re seeking a spiritual high, consider Isha in Tennessee to learn classical yoga at a mountain retreat in the USA. You will feel completely rejuvenated physically and mentally, plus you’ll be stepping outside of your comfort zone to try something new.

Brazil

Although the Carnival is the most well known Brazilian attraction, you can step outside of your comfort zone to go beyond. The Blue Lake Grotto is one such spot to add to your itinerary. The extraordinary shade of blue in the still waters of the lake is a sight to behold. Make sure to also plan a trip to the House of Stone, the largest cave mouth in the world. These natural marvels are astounding.

Did you know that you can go surfing on the Amazon? You’ll actually be riding a tidal bore, a wave that flows from the ocean, on the largest river in the world. While it might not seem like a way to expand your comfort zone, especially if you’ve surfed before, riding this wave can be quite dangerous. Not only can the Amazonian bore tides have a tsunami force, but you’re surfing in the land of crocodiles, snakes, and parasites. Not to fear, a knowledgeable local tour guide will ensure your safety.

Peru

Machu Picchu is likely the first place that comes to mind when you dream about Peru. However, for something a little less traditional, plan a visit to the eerie catacombs. Rediscovered in 1943, the catacombs in Lima contain thousands of skulls and bones, organized to form geometric patterns.

If you plan your trip during the summer, you might be fortunate enough to attend festivals celebrating the Sun God. A trip to Lake Titicaca to tour around the floating islands where aboriginals live is another bucket list item for Peru. For the ultimate journey to Peru, experience an Ayahuasca retreat. At this holistic journey, expand your consciousness on a lush rainforest reserve.

South Africa

In addition to planning an African safari, visit the breathtaking backwaters of Upper Karoo. The journey across gravel roads to this desolate landscape is an experience in itself. At night, check out the amazing stargazing opportunities in this barren and isolated land. By making your way to a destination off the beaten track, you’ll expand your comfort zone and come away with incredible stories.

By stepping outside your comfort zone, you open yourself up to new challenges and experiences. Even though I might be scared at first, I don’t have any regrets. If there’s even a small amount of fear, you know you’re escaping the everyday. By overcoming your feelings of fear and self doubt, you’ll grow and gain confidence in yourself. The world is your oyster.

How Travel Can Expand Your Comfort Zone (Even if it Scares You) - Step outside your comfort zone with travel for a more fulfilling life! The world is your oyster. #Travel #TravelTips #TravelLife #Adventures #WorldTravel #SoloTravel

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What’s the most challenging travel experience you’ve ever faced? How did you step outside your comfort zone?

4 Responses

  1. Lara
    | Reply

    Enjoyed reading your post. I totally agree with trying new experiences. I was amazed at the confidence I gained after traveling in Mexico by myself with limited Spanish. Thanks!

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      Lara, yes I could imagine that there were times that were challenging, but it’s all so worth it!

  2. Tammy Cassin
    | Reply

    Absolutely agree. The first time I travelled to Alberta and went exploring on my own, I felt a freedom I had never felt before. I did have a child living in Alberta so I had a spot to finish my trip. Trying to plan a solo trip now and so overwhelmed just trying to pick one.

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      It’s hard to choose where to travel next sometimes! Maybe browse around our blog to see where we’ve been for some ideas! :)

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