“It is important to get out of your comfort zone.”
How many times do you hear this phrase? How many times do people tell you to be brave and try something new? Broaden your horizons and finally get out and do something you thought you would never do in your life?
Once we we decided to embark in this new adventure, of course we were definitely getting out of our comfort zone! But should it still be considered getting out of our comfort zone and simply learning to adjust to a new place?
Nomad = being always out of your comfort zone?
Some may think that because we chose to live this way, we are used to being constantly out of our usual routine. It is true for some aspects. However what we learned to do in these 2 years was actually adapt very quickly to a new place. Create a new little routine that works for us every time and everywhere.
At this point in our travel experience, we know very well that once we change country, everything we were used to previously will probably be different. The food, the houses, the people, the traditions will all be new.
In order to get a feel for the new place, we usually start by going to a grocery store. That is the first step to understand which of the food we like to eat is accessible to us there. However we have learned not to be too picky!
When we arrive in a new house, we organize our few things in a way that makes us feel at home right away. It doesn’t make a difference if it is going to be for 3 days or 3 weeks.
We are also experimenting more local dishes as we travel. Everyone is getting more curious about the typical local food. For example, we were in Bhutan and loved eating their momos (dumplings) every time we had a chance! When we were in Thailand we ate lots of Pad Thai! If we think back at the first months of travel, we can see that now we are way more open to try different tastes.
Do you think we are actually getting out of our comfort zone or are we simply learning to adapt quickly?
I think we have simply learned to adapt very quickly!
So what does getting out of our comfort zone mean for us, full-time travelers?
Let me tell you a very recent story
We are on a 4 day hiking trip here in Nepal. We are staying in Tea Houses (guest houses) in little villages along the way.
As soon as we arrived at our first one and I felt uncomfortable. Why? I was tired, it was cold and our rooms were extremely basic. Which means: without heating, the windows didn’t close all the way (so imagine the inside temperature) and the bed was just a piece of wood with a very thin mattress! At the time of booking we were given a more expensive option as well, if we wanted more comfort, but we didn’t feel the need. We usually travel pretty simple, so why upgrade? How bad could it be?
That was our “possible way out” from that situation. We knew there was this option. I’ll be honest, I did consider it for a moment, the day we arrived. I thought that maybe for the next nights we could simply change and stay in a “better” accommodation. So we could be warm at night and for what I thought more comfortable!
What made me change opinion?
In the afternoon we went for a walk in the village while our kids played with some local kids right across from our tea house. They played all afternoon. Once we got back we sat outside, drank some tea while watching our kids play and started chatting with a very friendly Australian girl. The afternoon was perfect.
Our mood changed, we started taking in the new environment and adapting to our lifestyle for the next 4 days. Once we went to bed, we snuggled up all together in our sleeping bags and slept magically. The cold wasn’t as bad after all!
As we started hiking the next morning, my mind was in a completely new place! I was looking forward to the hike (longer and tougher than the day before). I was excited of exploring the new village and most of all checking out our “new house” for the night!
In the past 5 weeks we had been staying in hotels, for the most part with heating and comforts. But we were stuck more in our hotel rooms, due to the weather and we did not have much access to the outside. During these days we have a chance to truly enjoy the outside, the mountains are constantly in our background and the laughter of our kids playing, is music to our ears.
Now while I’m sitting here writing, Emma is drawing and Cosimo is reading right next to me. The clouds are covering the sky, the wind is blowing, but we are sitting outside, fully enjoying this magical moment in. Enjoying the fresh air and a great cup of ginger lemon tea in the mountains! What could be more comfortable than this?
What makes it challenging to get out of your comfort zone?
We are our first limitation to this!
Our fear, as well as our “possibility” to avoid it are our first challenge!
I was finding all the possible excuses. First of all my kids, who were actually perfectly happy with the situation! I soon came to the realization that my kids were just fine! They were playing with other kids, they were trilled to snuggle up in the sleeping bags, they were also excited about having to get undressed in the cold!!! Go figure!
I was the one feeling out of my comfort zone. I was the one that wanted to be in a warm room. I was the one that was having a hard time adjusting! My husband made fun of me too, wondering how could this be such a challenge now, when I had been a scout for many years and slept often out in the cold.
Something to think about for me. I had experienced this type of situation so many times, why was it harder now? Maybe because as you get older you get accustomed to certain comforts and you have a hard time letting them go? But my lifestyle right now doesn’t really keep me comfortable all the time. Having to adjust monthly to a new routine, has its challenges, but we always overcome them.
What made me feel uncomfortable for a few hours, probably was simply feeling tired. Feeling overwhelmed by the moment and maybe having a different expectation in my mind. This is the downfall of having had so many experiences in so many different places. Inevitably at times you have a certain type of expectations based on a previous location and for a moment you think that it will be exactly the same.
Our walk in the village, brought me back into that moment we were living right then and in that location. Slowly the discomfort disappeared. I walked out of my comfort zone but walked right into a new reality that started working perfectly well for me, as soon as I let down my guard and most of all my fear!
How do you feel about this?
Another experience that forced our whole family out of our comfort, was our adventure of Navigating the Canal Du Midi. Our first time on a boat all together, figuring out the new space, navigating through locks, and trying to maneuver a boat . It was uncomfortable and a bit challenging for the first few hours. However by the end we were thrilled and excited for overcoming the initial obstacles and for doing it together as a family!
How do you manage to overcome this type of moment? Is it easy for you to get out of your comfort zone? What type of emotions play for you in that moment?
We would love to hear some personal stories! Please feel free to share also privately with us!