I’ve always believed you should walk (or hike, ha!) to the end of your comfort zone, assess the situation, and then cross over to outside your comfort zone. This cannot happen if you don’t try new things in life. If you are afraid of new things, you will never experience life to its fullest.
I’m not guaranteeing you will like the new things you try, but at least you will know you don’t. For example, I can now confidently say that I do not like to eat bull testicles. I can also claim to be ballsy for going out on a limb and trying Rocky Mountain Oysters.
I had the opportunity with the Hike Like A Woman Ambassador Retreat to spend a weekend in Colorado with nine of the most awesome women I have ever met. It was amazing. It was something I have never done before, meeting nine women off the internet in the woods. The weekend was filled with other firsts for me too, like Rocky Mountain Oysters.
And since I did not actually meet them in person until drove into the woods in Colorado. I can now add meeting nine strangers from the internet in the middle of nowhere to my list of new things I’ve tried.
Honestly, I can’t really count that one as stepping out of my comfort zone. I did have a year to get to know them online. And I’m pretty extroverted, so I was super stoked to make new friends.
But stepping out of that comfort zone and making new friends and new connections with women from across the country paid off big time for me. The friendships I have made through HLAW are the kind that will last a lifetime. And I would have not made them if I had not taken a chance and stepped outside my comfort zone to meet strangers online.
Another first for me during the HLAW retreat was whitewater rafting. I love kayaking and have floated down a river in a kayak many times, but never on a raft. I wasn’t so much scared of cracking my head on a rock or drowning (I was outfitted with a trusty helmet and lifejacket) but I was scared of the freezing cold water. And it was cold.
But the biggest way I stepped out of my comfort zone during my trip was by sleeping in my car on the drive to Colorado. I have camped alone. I have camped in the backcountry alone. But sleeping in my car along the way seemed a little scary for me. Mainly because people are crazy and I would be sleeping near highways and interstates.
However I was desperate to keep my budge low, and sleeping in my car was free. Also I and am not a huge fan of hotels and sleeping in beds where other people have slept.
I chose to stay in campgrounds where there are park rangers, camp hosts, and other campers. It is the safest way to go. Besides, I think sleeping in the car is safer than the tent because you can lock yourself in. But I also brought my tent just in case I wanted to use it.
The fear of the unknown melted away as soon as I climbed into the back of my Honda HRV the first night. I was in a campground full of campers, and I felt I would be OK.
By trying this new thing, I found I love sleeping in my car. It has more cushion than the ground. I could drive until I was about to fall asleep, park at a campground, and then just climb in the back and go to bed. I had everything I needed within reach around me.
In fact, at camp with my HLAW family, I chose to sleep in my car even though I had set up my tent. I really enjoyed my mini-home in the back of my car.
Stepping out of your comfort zone can lead you to new things that you find you love. It will also show you things that you don’t like, but I bet you the good will outweigh the bad. And even if you don’t like it, you are not committed to it for the rest of your life.