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Want to Transform Your Life? Leave Your Comfort Zone!

5 Benefits of Busting Out of Your Comfort Zone Through Travel

It’s 3:00 PM, but it’s also 9:00 PM. My overnight flight from New York to Rome means that while it is technically 3:00 PM, it feels like 9:00 PM, and I haven’t slept in quite a while. My excitement is masking my jetlag, but make no mistake, I am jetlagged. I hand my ID to Andre at the RomeHello reception desk and fantasize about lying in bed before wandering around Rome while he checks me into my hostel. Andre has dreadlocks pulled back into a ponytail on the top of his head and a smile that lights up his entire face.

“We don’t have a reservation for you,” he says nonchalantly, still smiling, as though he hasn’t just delivered catastrophic news to an exhausted woman.

“No, I have a reservation. I have the email,” I assure him while frantically searching for my confirmation and trying not to panic. I find the email and show him my proof that I am entitled to a bed as soon as possible, please!

“Oh, yeah, that’s for yesterday. You didn’t call or show up, so whoever was working reception last night must have canceled your reservation.”

The information washes over me as I realize what I have done. I booked my flight for the 13th of January, so I also booked my accommodation for the 13th of January. Had I paid more attention, I would have noticed my flight left on the 13th at 10 PM New York time and landed on the 14th in Rome.

I’m mere hours into my three weeks of travel and have already encountered my first problem to solve. I’m starting to panic but also thinking about my options.

This is part of traveling, problem-solving.

I can find a hotel for the night. I can look for another hostel in the area. This is a solvable problem, I tell myself.

Meanwhile, Andre has been typing away, looking unbothered.

“Okay, I think there’s a bed for you.”

YES! My heart sings, and all my problem-solving energy shifts to gratitude for Andre and whatever strings he has pulled to secure me a bed for the week. One problem down, many to go.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is, well, uncomfortable. You choose to face problems, obstacles, and fears you have not encountered before. Sometimes in life, being in your comfort zone is where you need to be, but if you stay there too long, you are doing yourself a huge disservice.

The thing about a comfort zone is that it is where stagnance lives and where growth goes to die.

Venturing into the unknown, putting yourself in situations where you don’t know what to do, and forcing yourself to figure it out have benefits on multiple levels, and while there are a lot of ways to step out of your comfort zone, traveling is my favorite.

Among the many benefits, here are my top 5.

5 Benefits of Busting Out of Your Comfort Zone Through Travel

1.) You Practice Problem-Solving: In some ways, your ability to recognize and solve problems is a key to freedom. Problem-solving is an act of creativity and critical thinking. It takes practice, but when you shift your mindset to a problem-solving mindset, your brain starts approaching and processing information differently. When I began seeing challenges in my life as opportunities to practice problem-solving, everything shifted. My world opened up because suddenly everything was figureoutable. Traveling presents you with an opportunity to practice problem-solving every few minutes. Wrenches are thrown in plans, and hostels you thought were booked end up canceled. Every step of the way, you are given an opportunity to practice working through the problem, controlling your impulse to panic, and brainstorming until you find a solution because you have to find a solution. Comfort zones are comfortable because you have likely already faced the challenges necessary to be in that place. You have already figured out how to turn on the lights in your home or get to the grocery store. You already know who to call if something happens and you need help. You can settle into your daily routine and relax in the comfort of autopilot. When you decide to bust out of your comfort zone, you are putting yourself in situations that require you to start problem-solving, which is scary. Be scared. It is scary. Do it anyway. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will become with being scared and doing it anyway. By mastering this skill, you set yourself up to be able to do anything.

2.) You Face Failure: Speaking of being scared, next on my list is facing failure. Traveling puts you in a position to fail a lot. It’s natural to fear failure. It sucks to fail. It can hurt, leave you feeling vulnerable, and there are often consequences to face and pride to swallow. The gift here is only when you fail can you experience getting back up. When we leave our comfort zone, we increase our chances of failing because what we are attempting is new and unknown. As with problem-solving, facing failure is something to practice and learn. The more you know how to fail, get over it, dust yourself off, and get back up, the more resilience you will have and the more life you will live.

3.) You Build Confidence: The great thing about practicing problem-solving and facing failures is they both build confidence. You earn confidence by proving to yourself that you can do what you are setting out to do. When you first start traveling (or doing anything outside of your comfort zone), your confidence in your ability to problem-solve, face fear, and get through the challenges that come your way might be low, and that’s okay. Your confidence should be low. You don’t know yet that you can do it. You have not proven to yourself that you can do it. By putting yourself in situations that require you to solve the problem, get back up from the failure, and figure out the thing, you prove to yourself that you can do it. You gather evidence of your ability. When you can confidently say, ‘I did that. I know I can do it because I have done it,’ you build confidence based on substantial evidence. That is something you can stand on and grow from.

4.) You Increase Creativity: You use more creativity when you step out of your comfort zone. This comes into play with problem-solving and is also part of being surrounded by the new. When you travel, your senses are heightened by the newness all around. You start to see all the available possibilities. When you break out of your routine and expose yourself to new experiences, your creativity opens up and starts flowing in a new way. This is particularly present when traveling, but you surround yourself with newness and increase your creativity anytime you step into the unknown.

5.) You Build Resilience: According to Merriam-Webster, resilience is “An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” The more resilience you have as a human, the more capable you are to handle what life brings your way. The more easily you recover or adjust to misfortune or change. Through traveling or any experience that pushes you to expand your comfort zone, you are putting yourself in situations that build resilience and setting yourself up to recover or adjust quicker when life requires it of you.

Comfort zones can be valuable. It’s essential to have a place to relax and enjoy life without pushing yourself beyond what you know. Enjoy the comfort of what you know, use that time to prepare yourself for something more, then push yourself beyond what is comfortable.

The more you expose yourself to new experiences, the larger your comfort zone becomes. Over time, what once felt intimidating becomes manageable. And with travel, that means what is available expands exponentially in terms of experiencing the world.

Beyond that, you just might transform your life.

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