And the Lessons You’ll Learn
I’ve begun to notice a trend in blockbuster movies, BBC documentaries and dramas. They never seem to take place in a shopping mall, the beach front boulevard or even a farmer’s market – but always somewhere more exotic. A rambling bazaar, a local den, where exciting people come together to eat, trade, buy – a loud and boisterous area or a hidden cove. For a ‘tourist’ – and I really don’t like to use that word to describe myself while travelling – the atmosphere in these places can seem intimidation, but they are also alluring – the best way to truly experience a country and learn about a different locale.
Stepping outside your comfort zone when travelling is the greatest way to experience adventure, without there being too much risk. I’m not talking about bungee jumping or sky diving here, it’s more about learning things about yourself, and about another culture that you never before had the chance to see.
Step Away from The Group
Travelling solo, or with a partner as opposed to with a group is the greatest way to experience new places. You’re more likely to make new friends when travelling, as opposed to if you were just a face in the crowd of other tourists who look, act and dress like you. Walk into a cafe or shop by yourself or with just one companion and you will have more personal attention. Asking for local assistance – like where is the best local beach in Cape Town, or how to order local coffee in Costa Rica – will bring out the hospitality in people, and thanks to social media, new friendships needn’t end when you depart for home.
And the benefits?
– You’ll take pride in leaning how to engage with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Your next London networking event will be a breeze!
– You’ll notice the parallels to your own life, in other culture’s history, etiquette, food etc and learn more in depth about the quirks of their way of life.
Ask Stupid Questions
Create your Own Experiences
Seeing different parts of a country doesn’t always require a tour guide. On our trip to Cape Town, Charlie and I dropped our finger on the map, did our homework, hired a car and took ourselves there. OK so a ‘luxury Eco Camp’ isn’t exactly stepping out of our comfort zone but it’s something we wouldn’t do on a standard ‘holiday’, and by doing these slightly out of the ordinary trips, we found great people, great food, and created memories better than any pre-packaged tour could provide.
Pack, and Go!
Yes the thought of leaving our comfort zone can be scary, but it is also exhilarating, and leaves you eager for more. The travel bug is truly infectious and it’s safe to say I’ve caught it. Packing the essentials has become second nature to me now, and while i’ll always read up on the area to find out what specific things I need, I won’t leave home without my essentials.
It’s Autumn here in South Africa but the sun is still intense and strong. While we are on a game reserve, the last thing on my mind is topping up my sun cream, so I reach for the Piz Buin 1 Day Long sun lotion, so that I can just apply once and then not have to worry about sun protection for the rest of the day.
As well as sun-burn, another sting you want to avoid is that of the insects that you’ll find in tropical places. A not-so-secret skincare favourite of mine is Avon’s Skin So Soft, which somehow, is also an insect repellant but without the nasty smell.
I’m secretly a little OCD on hygiene and cleanliness while travelling, so a little bottle of hand spray will always be lurking in my bag. The Neals Yard Remedies one is my favourite – it’s a natural product and kills 99.9% of bacteria, plus it smells great.
And what about you guys? Do you travel outside your comfort zone? What tips can you share?