This is my #1 piece of advice that I can give to any traveler. It’s not only advice for traveling, but it’s also very applicable to everyday life.
Step out of your comfort zone.
If you are willing to travel in the first place, then you are already willing to step out of your comfort zone. By traveling in a foreign country, you must adjust to a new culture, be put into places that you aren’t familiar with, and adapt to new customs and laws. You are a visitor in “their” homeland.
So what exactly is stepping out of your comfort zone? It can mean different things to different people. To me, it means:
– asking random people on the street for directions
– trying a crazy foreign food like live octopus or pigs feet
– making friends with the people in your hostel
– taking public transportation when nobody speaks English
– doing an extreme sport like bungee jumping
– hitting on a girl in a bar who doesn’t speak English
– you get the idea!
Basically, I try to take on any opportunity that I see, whether it be fun, crazy, exciting, or all of the above. Chances are that I will never ever see these people again. That’s the exact mentality that you need to live by!
So, I advise you to meet that random person who doesn’t speak English, go cliff jumping, go explore that crazy abandoned building, go drink that local 150 proof alcohol, etc. Stepping out of your comfort zone will make your experience in a country that much better. Over the last few years, traveling has gotten better and better for me as I am pushing myself to try new things, meet new people, and not care so much about anything.
Another prime example of stepping out of my comfort zone was when I was in Istanbul. My friends and I saw a sign for a “Turkish Bath” so we thought, “what the heck, lets do it!” Well, we weren’t exactly sure what we were in for. We had to strip down fully nude, go into this large sauna room and we got intensely scrubbed down by these old, hairy Turkish men who spoke zero English. They stretched out every muscle in my body while pouring buckets of freezing cold, soapy water on my head. I remember looking at my friend and saying “what the hell are we doing?!” But now, I can proudly share my story, look back and have a great laugh. This story happened because we decided to step out of our comfort zone and try something new!
I hope you will do the same 🙂