The definition of travel varies for everyone: theme parks, cruises, road trips, foreign lands, exploration, isolation, family time, me time, bucket lists, collecting t-shirts, counting countries…the list goes on. Recently, I wrote a post about vacation mindset, the viewpoint we, as busy humans, need to try and capture when we have the urge to away from it all, no matter where in the world we are.
The objective is to rejuvenate and center ourselves so we can be the best we can be when we return to alarm clocks and meeting pings. Replacing our digital addictions with classic face-to-face bonding can do good for the soul but there’s something else that is good for our soul and that is stepping out of our comfort zone. I came to this realization last fall when I conquered my fear of snorkeling. The anxiety of breathing underwater had locked me into a “no way will I ever do that” mentality but somehow I overcame it. Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t mean you have to face fears but it can be as simple as trying new things. Here are some thoughts for your next getaway and how you can experience the world a little differently than you have in the past:
1. Accommodations. Much like airline loyalty sometimes it can be hard to give up your beloved hotel chain. I know. My husband and I have changed travel plans just because a certain city or region didn’t have our hotel brand. In reality, you could be missing out. Instead, opt for that boutique hotel, log cabin outside of town, an ice hotel (maybe just for one night), or that tree house hotel your kids keep asking about.
2. Adventure. You name this one. Skydiving? Bike ride? Roller coaster? Tall ship excursion? Land on a glacier via helicopter? Ziplining? Whatever your definition of adventure is, run with it. Try something exhilarating, exciting, fun. And while you’re at it, include the children if they’re old enough. Building the kids’ confidence early on will build a base for successful adult lives.
3. Food. Every region, even in the United States, has unique culinary specialties. Find out what it is and sample it. If you are traveling domestically some things to add to your try-it lis: conch fritters, crawfish etouffee, and lobster bisque. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be just seafood. What about ordering city specific foods like Buffalo wings, Kansas City BBQ, Philly Cheesesteaks, or Chicago Dogs? Here in Minnesota we have lutefisk. Haven’t you seen the “Bizarre Foods” episode with Andrew Zimmern tasting it for the first time? (Me? Never tried it, but when you do let me know how it is. I’m still trying to get my hands on some tater tot hotdish.)
4. Culture and history. I dare you to step off the resort grounds at least once on your next beach vacation. I know, I know…the beach chair is oh so comfortable and the free well drinks that you’ve been dreaming about all year are finally in hand. Truly, you won’t regret seeing the grounds of ancient civilization or sailing the Caribbean at sunset.
5. People. Talk to others. Get to know your server, meet other hotel guests, chat with the bellman, or bond with other moms at the pool. Don’t forget to make an effort to communicate in the native language if you’re out of the country. You don’t have to speak perfectly. Effort is always appreciated. Travel unites the world and to be part of it all you have to do to enjoy it is step outside your comfort zone. See it, feel it, experience it.