So what do a bowl of yellow raspberries have to do with stepping out of your comfort zone? Basically, they represent trying new things – whether it be foods, activities, ways of thinking or moving your body. I had never tried yellow raspberries before today. Granted, they aren’t the most extreme choice (these tasty nuggets are pretty similar to the red version, yet slightly milder and sweeter in flavor).
A better example, would be the field mouse I ate on my journey to Southeast Asia back in 2008. It was New Years Eve and the final night of a 3-week trip to Vietnam before I was heading into Thailand. I was on a dinner boat cruise with 4 other women I had met while traveling, along with two of our motorcycle tour guides who we had spent the last week with on the backs of their bikes (Easy Riders). The trip in itself was my first huge step (leap, really) out of my comfort zone as I went by myself, with just my backpack and a camera and had only booked my flights in and out of Hanoi, Vietnam. And no – I did not know a lick of the languages I would encounter along the way. Thankfully, however, my iPhone served as a translation tool and taught me some basics. My “plan” for the trip was to not plan – to head to SE Asia for 4+ weeks and take it day by day. I didn’t want to do the typical tourist routes or restrict myself by time limits on my stops along the way. Not surprisingly, my friends and family thought I was crazy – adventurous and daring, but crazy. I can’t tell you how many times someone responded with “I could never do that” when I told them my plan. The truth is, we all could do it… it’s just about finding the courage to step out of your comfort zone, believe in your own strength and resilience and to be open to new experiences.
Find the courage to step out of your comfort zone, believe in your own strength and resilience and to be open to new experiences.
Okay, back to the field mouse. We were on the dinner cruise and perusing the menu when our guides suggested that we all pick something off the menu that we had never tried before. The other ladies spotted items such as frogs legs and eel, which were old hat to me. So when I blurted out “Wow, there’s field mouse on here”, I quickly realized that I couldn’t take it back. Let me preface everything with the fact that I had not eaten any animal products for the length of the trip prior to this – I was already eating a primarily veggie diet at that point and had decided before embarking on the trip not to test the strength of my stomach in a part of the world where there’s a good chance it would not agree with me.
After blurting it out, my declaration of the surprising menu item was quickly countered with “you have to order it!!” (yes, that emphatically) from my friends around the table. I was apprehensive not only because it because it was an animal but it was a MOUSE (I mean, really – a mouse). Then one of our guides asked me “When are you ever going to have the chance to try it again?” and I knew that I had to order it. Sadly, I don’t have a picture of it – probably because it disappeared off the the table so quickly. Luckily it did not come out to the table in the shape of its live self (otherwise I honestly might have lost my bravery), but as little rectangles of meat in a rib-like sauce. The truth is, it ended up being one of the most delicious things I had eaten not only that evening but on the entire trip.
I don’t have a picture of the tasty field mouse delicacy, but here’s one of me and my ladies that night. An amazing journey full of adventures, experiences and friendships I would otherwise not have made if I did not step out of my comfort zone.