In this blog I’ll be covering an interesting topic about getting outside your comfort zone.
I was experiencing a life full of chaos due to financial, mental and physical health problems for 5 years. These problems went hand-in-hand with anxiety. When my life was becoming less chaotic and pulled myself together, I decided that I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone. Despite feeling anxious it is a great way to test my limits and keep growing as a person.
Traveling is a means to step outside your comfort zone and to prove to your anxiousness that you’re capable.
What does it mean to step outside of your comfort zone?
It means doing things that you don’t feel comfortable with doing including traveling to unfamiliar places.
Why is this important?
Stepping outside your comfort zone causes you to grow as a person. People are meant to keep experiencing new things and to progress. Also, it’s an opportunity to make yourself come alive.
Where did I go to get outside of my comfort zone?
In 2014 when I went to Nova Scotia, Canada it was a trip that allowed me to push myself into the unknown. Going by train from Boston to Portland, ME then on a cruise ship to Yarmouth, NS was something I’ve never done before.
In 2016 and 2018 Costa Rica was the destination of choice.
October 2018 was my trip to Italy.
My latest adventure outside of my comfort zone was a trip to Ireland.
What do you need?
A source of anxiety for a lot of travelers are the what if questions about your passport. What if you lose it? An important safety tip is to make at least two photocopies of your frontpage and keep them with you in case you lose your passport or you need to have that information with you but want to keep your passport in your room safe.
Here are things that are needed before you can start your adventure.
Get a passport: A passport is needed for entry into any country. It’s important to start the application process at least several months before your flight date. This can be done by going through an authorized passport agency such as certain branches of the United States Postal Service (USPS) and can take up to six weeks to receive it in the mail.
Universal Voltage and Plug adapter: In the United States and Canada electric voltage from our outlets is 120 volts, the standard frequency is 60 hertz and the power plugs and sockets are Types A and B.
However, when you are traveling to Ireland the power plugs and sockets are type G (also used in the United Kingdom, Malta, Malaysia and Singapore), standard voltage is 230 volts and the standard frequency is 50 hertz.
Universal adapters are available at stores like Best Buy or sometimes hotels can provide you with one free of charge.
I have sleep apnea and I’m required to have a CPAP machine. The universal adapter can convert the voltage to what is needed, however CPAP machines are connected to a/c adapters.
Be able to communicate with home: The first thing I do when I reach my intended destination is to either call or send a text message home. There are plenty of places to access free wifi such as airports, public places or your hotel room so you can access the internet and communicate with loved ones via facebook.
However it is important to check your cell phone plan; some can be activated abroad but others can not.
One option is to purchase and carry around a phone card if you need to make a call, but not everyone would be comfortable with doing that.
Another option is to look into the SIM card capabilities of your phone.
What is a SIM card?
A SIM card or a Subscriber Identity Module card is an electronic device that’s used to identify and authenticate subscribers on cell phones.
Research the place you want to visit: When you’re preparing for you out of comfort zone adventure it’s important to research the place you want to visit. This should go hand-in-hand with planning your itinerary.
It’s important to do research on:
How much will it cost?
What currency is used?
What language is spoken?
What kind of food is eaten?
Is it safe to go there?
What are the best attractions?
My trip to Ireland
I arrived in Dublin at 620am on Monday after leaving Boston at 930pm the previous night.
After getting off the plane I arrived in customs. It’s necessary to have you passport and itinerary information ready.
Before your passport is stamped the officer will ask you questions.
- What is the purpose of your visit?
- How long are you staying for?
- What hotel are you staying at?
- What are you planning to see?
I admit that it can be stressful going through customs for the first time.
One thing that makes me stressed after going through customs is claiming my luggage. My anxiety is triggered by what if..questions?! What if they sent it to another city? What if they lost it? This question constantly running through my mind once triggered a panic attack.
Luckily my luggage was claimed.
Who wants to know an interesting fact about Ireland? They drive on the left side of the road and your steering wheel is on the right side of your vehicle. When I was taking a cab to my hotel this was an interesting thing to see.
After reaching the hotel I was going to be staying at the first thing I did was set up my CPAP machine and used a universal adapter to plug it into a type G receptacle. Then took a nap for an hour.
An adventure begins
After a brisk 20 minute walk to the center of Dublin I arrived at Trinity College. A beautiful campus that is home to the Book of Kells and an amazing library called the long room.
What is the Book of Kells?
The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin. It contains the four Gospels of the New Testament along with prefatory texts and tables. The date and place this book was written is still up for debate because the monks that wrote it were dispersed due to Viking Raids. I found it inspirational that despite the constant existential threats of their time the monks had the determination to finish this book.
At any time something could’ve happened to these monks but they weren’t crippled by fear and anxiety.
An amazing day spent in Northern Ireland started with a walk on the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge near the town of Ballintoy in County Antrim. It links the mainland with the tiny island of Carrickarede and has a height of 98 feet (30 meters).
It was a thrilling experience walking on this bridge as the wind rocked me back and forth. If you’re anxious because of heights this a great way to escape from your comfort zone if it’s safe to do so.
Another experience in County Antrim was Giant’s Causeway. It is an area of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that are the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption.
Along with a last minute hike that I went on while visiting the site there was another fun part of this experience. According to Gaelic mythology Giant’s Causeway was built by a giant. An Irish giant named Finn MacCool accepts a challenge from the Scottish giant Brenandonner. Finn MacCool starts building the causeway across the North Channel so the two giants meet. Across the sea there are identical basalt columns at Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish Isle of Staffa.
Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are sea cliffs located at the southwest edge of the Burren region in County Claire, Ireland. Despite a three hour drive from Dublin it was worth the trip. Walking along the cliffs taking pictures while trying to keep your balance while the wind tries to blow you down onto the ground.
My favorite part of my adventure was the day trip to County Wicklow.
About 10 miles south of Dublin is County Wicklow, which consists of the Wicklow Mountains. This beautiful region was where my paternal grandmother’s family Saunders was from.
While exploring the ruins of an ancient monastery called Baltinglass Abbey I felt drawn to a specific spot in the cemetery surrounding it and the headstone said “Robert Saunders”. It’s possible that I met one of my ancestors.
The itenarary for the day included a trip to a farm and my group and I received a tour. I’ve had a life long interest in agriculture so this was up my alley and as an added bonus this farm produced industrial hemp.
I’ve written about CBD oil in previous blogs and it was an awesome experience visiting a farm that grew hemp.
Glendalough is a place that consists of the ruins of a monastic city built by Saint Kevin and it was situated in Wicklow National Park. The walk along the beautiful trails that became a boardwalk over a lake made for some excellent pictures and this place will put you into a meditative state after being there for a while.
It’s important to pull yourself together and get your anxiety under control. Being able to get outside your comfort zone has it’s benefits. Great pictures, great experiences and great memories. Travel is a great way to show your anxiety who’s boss.
How do you get outside of your comfort zone?
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