“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” -Neale Donald Walsch
If you take a look at life economically, it is a series of risk/reward trade-offs. That is how you determine where you live, what you do for income, who you spend your time with, and so on. With little risk comes little reward, while the opposite is also true.
When you jet off to a new location, you are essentially taking a decent-sized risk. More often than not, this will translate into a fantastic reward. So get out of your comfort zone and start living life with heightened dopamine levels.
For years you have lived in your own little corner of the universe. It’s all you have ever known. Going to a completely different country, even a different part of the United States, will give you a unique view of your life back home.
Whether it be one state over or halfway across the globe, a fresh outlook on the grandness of the world and a glimpse of culture beyond your hometown are extremely beneficial. It makes you look at how you live and whether or not you’re living the way you want to. Also, every time you go out and discover something new to you, you bring a piece of that experience back; hopefully it sticks enough that you use that culture in your day-to-day life.
When in another country, you recognize how unprepared you are for residing there for a week. The language barrier, the customary etiquette, the change in altitude, cuisine, geography…all of this results in a massive culture shock. You might be prepared, but it still shows you how different people are across the world. Even if you go to an adjacent state, lifestyle changes with latitude and attitude.
It also shows you how similar human beings are. Trust me, you will meet some of the nicest people while traveling abroad. We’re all living on this planet together; be nice to people and they will reciprocate that sentiment tenfold. You are still unique, for sure, but when you’re on the road, a little help from strangers can go a long way.
At some point in your adventures, you will be faced with an emergency situation. How you deal with said emergency will tell you a lot about your tendencies and how you handle conflict. This is a spin-off from the first reason regarding leaving your comfort zone.
Sad to say, you can’t bring your queen sized bed and favorite flat screen T.V. with you as you hike Machu Picchu (unless, hey, you really want to). Travel demands you leave some belongings behind. In the moment where you are choosing between this cardigan and that sweater, you realize what is truly essential and what is actually excess that can be shed.
Travel thrives on minimalism. And when I say “minimalism,” I mean for physical possessions; having less distracting items in your life makes room for things that have tremendous value, like memories, friends, love, great conversation (in other languages), and courage to express who you really are. You can’t withdraw from your memory bank — you can only deposit.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” -Eleanor Roosevelt