Friday 29 November 2019


Travel; it's supposed to broaden the mind, right?

Then why do so many of us stick rigidly to our comfort zones when we take our vacations? We stick to the same places, gravitate towards the same hotels, and limit ourselves from the many new experiences that could be open to us. So, rather than broadening our minds, we do little to increase our worldly perspectives. And that's a shame because there are many hidden gems around the world to explore. There is potential for life-changing experiences. So, if you're relating to what we are saying, and if you are planning to travel anytime soon, be that for a two-week break or for a longer period, consider the following suggestions on stepping out of your travel comfort zone. 
#1: Travel solo
If you're forever travelling with family members or friends, you might be limiting the number of experiences you could be having.  So, you might miss out on opportunities to meet new people if you're always sticking with your travelling companions. You might be forced to go with group decisions on where to eat and sleep too, and you might miss out on certain activities. 

So, if you have never travelled solo, consider the option. We know it can be scary, but leaving any comfort zone is an uncomfortable experience at first. But think of the benefits. You could eat where you wanted, stay where you wanted, and you could travel around at your own pace without anybody else to rush you onwards.  Consider the option, and if you're worried about the safety aspect, check out this article on solo travel for some useful tips. *This is a partnership post.

#2: Push yourself towards an adventure


Sure, you could sit on the beach all day with just a book and an ice cream to keep you company. And you could lounge by the hotel pool with a fruity cocktail. But if you're visiting another country, why do these things? Have an adventure, because when the people at home ask you about your vacation, you will have more to say than, 'I got a lovely suntan' and 'I slept through most of it.' So, when charting your destination, imagine the possibilities ahead of you. You could sail down the River Nile on one of these  Egypt and Jordan tours. You could fly over the Grand Canyon in a glider. You could take a hot air balloon over the plains of Africa. And you could have any number of other adventures that are unique to the place you are visiting. When planning your trip then, think about the activities you could get involved in. Bring out your inner Indiana Jones or Lara Croft and search for adventure. And then return home to tell your friends about the adventures you had swimming with sharks, zip-wiring down mountains, and riding on a camel. Then show them the pictures you took to prove it! 

#3: Talk to the locals 
First of all, learn the lingo of the place you intend to visit. This will make your life a lot easier when you're asking for the whereabouts of the nearest restroom or for directions to your hotel. However, learning the lingo will also give you the scope to have more interesting conversations with local people. You will then learn more about the local culture, discover more about the city or country you are visiting, and have the opportunity to make new friendships too.

So, whether you're travelling alone or with others, don't be afraid to say hello to a stranger. Step away from your shyness and introduce yourself. Who knows what you might learn from the conversations you have others? You might learn nothing at all, but then again, you might experience a sudden increase in knowledge through one simple interaction.

#4: Put away the tour guide
Okay, so there's no harm in visiting the touristy places. There will be sights that you don't want to miss. But don't spend all of your time away with an itinerary based on the tour guide. Step out of your comfort zone and take the roads less travelled. 

You might stumble across a scenic backdrop of breathtaking beauty. You might discover an out-of-the-way diner with the best foods you have ever eaten. You could find a quaint antique shop that is overloaded with incredible treasures. And you might come across any number of other experiences that have previously been uncharted. Alternatively, you might find nothing of interest at all. You wouldn't know unless you took your foot off the path, so be bold, be brave, and in a very literal sense, step out of your comfort zone!

#5: Eat something new from the menu
Oh sure, you could pick those foods that you have tried before. You could also eat those foods that looked and smelled absolutely delicious. But how about those foods that you haven't tried before? How about those foods that are intrinsic to the culture of the land you are visiting? How about those foods that might at first appear off-putting? We are thinking of these strange delicacies, for example. 

To step out of your comfort zone, you need to step away from anything that is familiar. And while wasp crackers, fried spiders, and tuna eyeballs (all from the previous link) might not be your first choice when scrolling down the menu, it might be that the weird things you see might not taste that bad, after all. You might even find your new favourite food! 

#6: Avoid the hotels


Okay, we know that hotels offer opportunities for rest, relaxation, and a little bit of luxury, but they're all a bit samey, aren't they? Why not forego a night (or longer) in a hotel, and stay somewhere different instead. It could be with a local at an Airbnb, or roughing it with others in a hostel (this would certainly be a cheaper option). 

Or what about a Hobbit hole, a treehouse, or even a prison cell? With regards to the latter, we aren't suggesting you commit a crime while away (that might be a step out of your comfort zone too far). Rather, we are referring to these unusual accommodation types that would make for some interesting alternatives to your usual hotel room. Have a look, and then consider a change to your usual sleeping arrangements the next time you're away.

So, where to for your next travel adventure? Will be it somewhere you have been before, or will it be somewhere new? Will you stick to the signposted roads, or will you dare to go for a wander? Will you enjoy a nice warm stew, or will you brave a bowl of tuna eyeballs? It's up to you, but even if you stick to much of what is familiar, at least try to step out of your comfort zone a little. You will have fewer regrets if you do. Admittedly, you might regret that bowl of tuna eyeballs, but hey, you will never know unless you try, right?

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