5 Compelling Reasons To Travel Beyond Your Comfort Zone
Many people tend to go on vacation in the same locales repeatedly, even habitually. It makes sense – you take a vacation, become enamored with the atmosphere, so you continue to return to it, to relive the experience that endeared the locale to your heart. There is a virtue to developing a relationship with an environment that boosts the spirit – but there is also the potential consequence of slipping into a comfort zone that deters expansion and growth of the spirit. How might one avoid this pitfall of stagnation?
Here are 5 compelling reasons to heed these words of wisdom:
Prepare for the inevitable
Whether we want to face it or not, our ‘traditional’ comfort zones are collapsing. Our world is so small and growing even smaller as technology and integration advance to connect us more efficiently and intimately. We are no longer isolated within our tribes – only hearing and learning of others periodically and second, third or umpteenth-hand. Now we can click a button on a screen and see the faces, hear the voices – in real time – of people from all over the world.
In today’s environment, if you are going to engage in commerce, you are going to engage with people outside your tribe or comfort zone. Almost any customer service call you initiate involves speaking with a non-native English speaker. There is similar diversity in household maintenance industries, healthcare, fast food drive-thru lanes, etc.
You can resist this change in the global landscape, even fight it to the point that you are defending a small corner of what’s left of your comfort zone – OR – you can adapt, embrace, create, maybe even lead the change and expansion of our zones of comfort. No matter your choice – the change to our comfort zones is inevitable. You can prepare for it by traveling and thereby expanding your own comfort zone on your terms.
Improved listening skills
A predominant communication habit is to begin formulating our reply to a speaker while the speaker is still speaking. Our brains lock in on key words or phrases, fill in blanks to suit our expectations, and make “listening” as easy as possible for us. Our brains excel at construction of short-cuts. But just as on any short-cut, you do miss a part of the journey – there’s a short-cut around the Grand Canyon, but if you take that shortcut, you cut a Natural Wonder of the World out of your journey. Likewise with communication shortcuts – you could miss a critical part of the conversation by half-listening while you prematurely calculate your response.
But this communication shortcut is utterly useless when you have a hard time understanding the words that are being spoken. When the speaker’s English is broken or the accent thick, it forces your brain to focus on the speaking in order to decipher the words. Basically, you have to listen carefully to understand what is being said. You may need to hear it repeated over again.
This experience shifts the brain from passive to active listening. Make this shift often enough and the brain will default to an active listening state. Active listeners are better listeners. You can sharpen your listening skills by traveling outside your comfort zone and learning to listen to new people you meet there.
An act of rebellion
It seems as though anyone with a platform to inform is using it to instill fear about our world – about other people and places, other customs and beliefs. Politicians warn of the dangers of insecure borders, media warns of terror threats, religious leaders warn of the wrath of God.
If you have grown weary of the fearmongering, a great way to abate it is to defy it. Fear is mongered only because it works. Don’t be afraid! Or, if you do feel afraid, challenge the fear – face it – conquer it. Prove to yourself and others that the world is more scenic than it is scary – more fun than it is frightening – more adventurous than it is alarming.
Rebellion doesn’t have to be violent or discordant – it can be fun and adventurous – and as simple as booking a trip somewhere you’ve never been before to show the fearmongers that you don’t buy what they’re selling.
Live longer and healthier
Traveling has physical, psychological and social benefits that lead to a longer and healthier life. Travel has been shown to lower health risks such as high blood pressure and heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, and depression.
When you get away, you are able to clear and sharpen your mind. Travel enhances the health and performance of the brain by intensifying your senses, sharpening your focus, and enhancing your powers of observation while navigating a new, stimulating environment.
And whether it’s family vacation, a solo journey of self-discovery, or being confined to a ship full of strangers, you can return with enhanced sociability. Traveling with friends or family can forge and strengthen bonds. Traveling in other groups facilitates cooperation and builds interactive skills. Traveling solo is empowering and leaves the traveler better able to cope with solitude in everyday life.
You deserve it
And the number one reason to travel somewhere you’ve never been each year is because YOU DESERVE IT! You deserve a break from the doldrums. You deserve a life rich with experience. The world wants to awe you with its majesty and grandeur – the World knows you deserve it – do YOU?!
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