This is a guest post:
Should you go out of your comfort zone?
I’m sure you already heard this a dozen of times: real travelers go out of their comfort zone, they seek adventures and look for those activities that are heart-pumping and soul-frightening. I’m not saying that might not be the case, but I am saying you too can be a real traveler.
Try to remember the last big holiday or trip you made. How much did you plan for it? How much time did you allow yourself to experience the unexpected? And how tired were from trying to check everything off the list?
That’s one way of traveling and it’s absolutely fine if that’s your choice. But how about a change of pace and a different approach to your next trip? So, let’s say you’re going to South East Asia – what now?
I can’t emphasize this enough: go local. Be it simply by doing your grocery shopping in the morning market, walking around with a new friend you made while wandering through the city or going for a home cooked dinner in one of the evenings – go local! It sounds complicated and yes, it’s way easier to stick to the 4 stars breakfast in the cozy hotel area, but trust me on this – it will make you a richer person. It only takes one local to meet more and more.
Now that you might have met a local or two, do yourself a favor and listen. I’m sure your home country is fabulous and all, but listen first, talk later. What can you find out about your temporary host country? What makes the people happy, what makes them sad? What are their habits, what are they proud of? Oh, and don’t make any comparison, focus on the positive, learn as you go.
You might stumble along the way. South East Asia is a wonderful, complicated, different and mesmerizing part of the world. You might get tired or frustrated, you might go through a cultural shock or simply need more time to take in all the new surroundings. Take your time and try again. Try until you fell you’ve given it your best. Getting out of your comfort zone, remember?
Connect with your new destination through the experiences you encounter – embrace it all and find ways to discover the environment around you. Best recommendation? Food, of course! Watch the street sellers prepare the food right in front of you as you go on a street food tour and listen to your host’s explanations. I’m always in for a bit of suspense, but most of the times I like to know what I’m eating! Ditch the western restaurants and try a homemade meal prepared by a local host. Sounds difficult to accomplish? Through sites like Withlocals it has never been easier to find enjoy a home-cooked meal at a local’s home.
Comfort is nice and relaxing and a lot of times I also want to relax during my holidays, but what if you try a different approach this time? What if going out of your comfort zone and trying out new things will refresh you in a whole new way? Well, you’ll never know it if you don’t try it!
Madalina Buzdugan is a snapshot lover, intense experience seeker and traveler at heart. Communication professional with a soft spot for social media, she’s on a mission to give 110% no matter what.