How Traveling Helps Me Get Out Of My Comfort Zone

I’ve always had this fascination/fear of doing things outside of my comfort zone – I love it and hate it at the same time, BUT it’s the feeling afterwards which gets me addicted to it.

Everything from speaking in public to learning new skills like skiing and surfing – I keep doing it and keep looking for those opportunities all the time, despite being really scared of trying them.

Why? Because I know how rewarding the feeling is once I’ve faced my fears, or once I’ve done something I wasn’t so sure about.

I realized that by traveling I get to try so many new things that I otherwise wouldn’t have done, and I grow stronger as a person every time.

In New Zealand I tried golf, for example. Golf was something I had never tried in my life, and honestly hadn’t really planned to try either.

While it’s more common for rich Europeans to visit a golf course in St Andrews in Scotland, New Zealand was a good place for me to start because golf there is incredibly cheap and you can do it everywhere.

In Europe it’s seen more as a sport for rich people, and families who go on golf breaks around Europe during the summer.

Just like wine tasting, it’s something of a luxury experience, and both of those are cheap and so easy to do when you are in New Zealand.

So we decided to play some golf, and I started out really cocky. :p

I had played quite a lot of ‘mini golf’ and thought I was pretty good, forgetting what a bad loser I am when it comes to these kinds of games …

I understood pretty soon that real golf was nothing like ‘mini golf’, and I think I broke a world record in worst golf-player ever.

I even surprised myself when I hit the ball and it somehow ended up 30 meters behind me rather than in the hole 20 meters in front of me.

It annoyed me even more that Nathan just picked up the game as though he had played it his whole life – as usual.

While golf didn’t turn out to be a skill I was born with, my point is the feeling of having tried something new was still so rewarding.

It was the same with learning how to play tennis, I wasn’t very good, but I learned a lot about myself while doing it.

While it might not be the most enjoyable thing at the time, you can at least be proud that you did it, and don’t forget that it could grow on you, and you might start enjoying it.

Surfing was one of those things I fell in love with - the first few weeks in Australia I spent the whole time getting wiped out and after swallowing half the ocean I crawled up on the beach like a drowned rat telling myself that I would never ever go surfing again.

Fast forward a month, the sport had really grown on me, and surprisingly, I didn’t want to leave Australia but wanted to stay there and continue surfing.

This has repeated itself over and over again with me - from surfing, skiing and playing golf.

For some reason I always seem to hate things at the start, and then end up loving it.

Who knows, maybe if I try golf in Scotland when we head there later this year and give it a second chance, I would like it better.

How about you? What are some things you tried which you hated at first but then fell in love with?

13 Responses to How Traveling Helps Me Get Out Of My Comfort Zone

  1. Anonymous September 8, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    I am the same way, I always feel the need to challenge myself. It’s a love hate kinda thing. 

    I never really hate stuff at first though, I always force myself to like things no matter what. 

    I was shit at surfing at first, but I kept at it and now, like you, I love it. I lived in Maui for a bit and really got into surfing there. You guys oughta spend some time exploring the hawaiian islands. If you ever go to Maui, let me know and I will get you the hook up.

    • Sofia - As We Travel September 9, 2011 at 10:51 am #

      Living in Maui sounds perfect, do you know what the monthly cost for renting an apartment is there?

  2. Mica|Senyorita September 8, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    Just like you, i hated the idea of surfing mainly because i couldn’t really swim and i think i am not brave enough to balance my body on top of the surfboard. Thanks to friends who pushed me then viola! loved it! :D It’s been two years but my friends and i are scheduled to La Union, a surfing place here in the Philippines by next week :D

    • Sofia - As We Travel September 9, 2011 at 10:52 am #

      That sounds awesome, I’ve heard that Philippines has some great surf spots, have fun!!

  3. Brock G September 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    Totally agree with you Sofia. Simply that you are travelling and exploring does encourage you to try new things you wouldn’t otherwise. I’m not a fan of fish but I tried it a couple times while travelling and it has started to grow on me. Keep at the surfing, I’m sure you’ll be pro in no time!

    • Nathan - As We Travel September 10, 2011 at 8:00 am #

      Hey Brock, thanks for the comment :) Travel (& Sofia) has also gotten me to try so many new things – for me that is one of the best parts of traveling – experience and trying new things you wouldn’t normally try back at home. Sofia was getting pretty good at surfing when we left, so I am sure she will pick it up faster next time ;)

  4. Christine September 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm #

    I’m a big believer in never letting fear of something prevent you from doing! Love your fearless approach to travel :)

    • Sofia - As We Travel September 9, 2011 at 11:05 am #

      Yeah me too, I often ask myself if I in the future would regret not having done whatever it is I’m considering doing, and most often I think I would regret not doing it so I do it :)

  5. MySkinConcierge Ava September 9, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    Love your views here and agree!  Also I find that traveling helps us find out that we can be so much more than we thought we could be!

    • Sofia - As We Travel September 9, 2011 at 11:06 am #

      Well said, I think many of us underestimate ourselves and what we’re able to achieve, and traveling definitely helps us realize how strong we really are.

  6. Jodi September 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Breaking out of our shells is never easy… but the feeling we get afterwards is almost always worth it! P.S Golfing looks easier than it really is!

    • Sofia - As We Travel September 10, 2011 at 7:57 am #

      I agree, golf is way harder than it looks, I never realized what a mind-game golf really is until I tried it..!

      • Belmont Lodge April 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

         Golf is always under estimated in difficulty, I went on a golfing holiday with a friend who is semi pro. lets just say we did all 18 holes twice in a day and then I lost all feeling in my arms.