This week I’m sailing on the Princess Cruises ship Crown Princess. The reason: I’ve been offered a travel challenge for my Shape Magazine Weight Loss Diary column to dispel the cruise = weight gain myth. I’m on a mission and have prepared the best I can, but this challenge has me thinking about life and travel challenges.
Every day we encounter challenges. These situations, problems and obstacles arise in various forms and sometimes they’re not much fun. But what about the type of challenges we set for ourselves? These are the best. Why? Because such challenges can only mean one thing: self-growth.
Traveling is a perfect time to take on a challenge. You’re away from home, in a new setting and will depart with, hopefully, pleasant memories. In other words, you have nothing to lose. But how do you decide what makes a worthy challenge? For one, fears and discomfort are excellent clues. This past fall I conquered my fear of snorkeling while visiting the Mexican Riviera Maya. The thought of putting my face in the water and still being able to breathe triggered an unexplained anxiety. Long story short, supportive friends and a one-step-at-a-time approach helped me overcome my fear. And by the end I loved it and am looking forward to going snorkeling again.
Other experiences in my life that made my stomach turn but later turned into an “I did it!” moment were zip lining in Alaska (talk about knees shaking – see photo), riding in a helicopter for the first time to a glacier (a video shows my enthusiasm for the experience), clay shooting (I hit two!), and flying a plane.
Then there’s being inspired by others who have stepped out of their comfort zone. I think back several years when Kara went skydiving in Florida. I talked to her minutes after she landed and I will never forget the exuberance in her voice. Everyone should experience that level of excitement in their life. Then there was the time she nervously went scuba diving off the shores of Lānaʻi after a long 11 year break and the time she passed through the Lemon Squeezer in New Hampshire. More recently Kara discovered a new outlook on life after her recent stay at the Biggest Loser Resort. Every one of her experiences was unique but equally as inspiring.
Another challenge aspect is encouraging our kids to be adventurous and conquer their own fears. I recall the nervousness my son had as as we waited in line for a roller coaster ride at Hershey Park, of course after one ride he wanted to go again and again and again.
Jen had a similar situation where she had to coax her pre-teen into zip lining in Costa Rica. Encouraging our children to do things that make them uncomfortable helps them build confidence and self-esteem. Naturally, we need to keep our composure intact even if we are freaking out on the inside.
Of course, challenges don’t have to be extreme or physically enduring. Your challenge could be something as slight as trying a new food, testing your fear of heights, traveling alone for the first time or doing something you’ve always been curious about like sleeping in an ice hotel, camping, signing up for a 5k or taking a hot air balloon ride.
How have you challenged yourself lately? Do you have any travel challenges you’d like to take on? The sky is the limit!