The Travel Lifestyle can change you, if you let it. How? Rub out the lines of your comfort zone.
Travel is a mirror: You only see in it what you already have in you. The problem is that, often without realizing it, people decide that they already have themselves completely figured out and then miss out on the rest.
Uncomfortable or not, it’s vastly preferable to entertain the idea that you may not know yourself instead of assuming that you do completely. Most of the assumptions we make about ourselves were mistakenly decided long ago — are you really going to allow your fifteen year old self to dictate whether or not you’re a writer, athlete, or singer for the rest of your life?
Once you close yourself off to a possibility, your comfort zone starts to shrink. It rarely stops there. Much like a set of matryoshka dolls, we retreat to smaller and smaller comfort zones as we get older, pruning stems of possibility off the flower of life, so set are we on being the person we were yesterday.
So where does travel factor into all of this?
Travel is the perfect time to experiment, to surprise yourself. When we travel, we are dropped into a world that doesn’t know us; there’s no routine here, no appearances to keep up, we become detached from the life we left behind. It’s what you make it, and trust me, you have to make it — destiny can appear in the most trivial of things, but one thing it doesn’t do is house calls. In this series, “Travel Lifestyle”, I’ll be going over different ways that you can break out of your comfort zone and return home a different person than before. I’ll keep it light in this first installment:
1. Adopt an alter ego.
Sounds silly, I know, but you’d be surprised how much pressure slides off when you feel that someone else is calling the shots. You don’t have play the old rules and you still don’t know the new ones. Yes, Tom isn’t very outgoing, but you’re not Tom tonight, you’re Felix. The simplest of detachments can help you care a bit less about how other people perceive you. To a certain extent, we should go about our everyday lives like this, not just while traveling. Admitting that you’re not a static being, that your rules are of your own invention — these are the first steps to discovering another side of yourself.
“We are what we pretend to be — so we must be very careful about what we pretend to be.”
– Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night
2. Fake it till you make it.
Lock yourself in the situation and throw away the key. Be the person that addresses every person in the dorm the moment they walk in, the person who asks the local man who just gave you directions if he wants to get a beer later. You’ll feel like a fraud — that’s alright, everyone does. The more you do these things the more commonplace and natural they start to feel. It goes on, and one day you wake up and realize that you’re the same person you were pretending to be.
Still need help crawling out from your comfort zone? In the next installment of “Travel Lifestyle”, things get turned up a notch. Read on if you dare.