How to leave your comfort zone and truly experience a new environment
Posted on 18 November 2017
African Adventure - In the wilderness with the Maasai warriors
My Travel Adventure Journal - 2011
To experience a country or city I believe you cannot go for a day visit or just two weeks to understand a country, culture or say 'I've been to BLAHHH it was A-mazing'.
You must leave your comfort zone to truly experience a new environment.
After leaving the UK I went to Africa for a year to learn from a culture that would teach me lessons and skills during this time and in turn swap my knowledge too.
Putting myself into the hands of a country I knew nothing about and flying solo is crazy some might say, or slightly dangerous... in fact maybe both.
It is this adventurous side of me that truly makes me feel alive, strong and empowered as a woman.
Why shouldn't I travel to destinations to explore like anyone else? Some think as a woman with epilepsy I ought to limit what I do and must always be careful. Life doesn't work like that and I certainly cannot restrict what I do because of a health condition.
Instead it makes me look at the world and encourages me that there are no limits and I can do anything regardless of limits I already have.
I live for exploring the world, learning new skills and watching how other people live. My time away has seen me on the road for almost 10 years if not more.
When I made the decision to break from normality (whatever that truly is!) after finishing university, instead of creating a career, which I actually did create, although I hadn't realised it.
Back then a career was that you stayed in one type of role all your life maybe in one company. I chose the path to explore the world and learn by adventure, that was my career. You now see this on instagram they're called bloggers of travel, fashion, and lifestyle. BINGO.... I was ahead of the game and so there you go I can now say I was a blogger for the last 10 years... ha ha!
Leaving your comfort Zone
If you want to immerse yourself in to a country go and live there, work there and truly understand the highs and lows of your surroundings.
Explore through your senses' of what you see, the land, perhaps there are certain style's to dress whilst in a different country due to religion or other. Get involved and don't hold back, even if you're scared, that is the time to truly dive right in.
Make time to learn a new language, eat the local food, get to know about the traditional fashion, clothing and accessories, explore everything. What is it that makes this country so unique, for you not for others. What do you find most tricky about this alien place these are the moments you grow through the unfamiliar. Take something away with you from this experience that you've learnt.
A friend gave me an opportunity to work at The Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust to do some volunteer work for them.
I jumped at this chance I mean no-one was given this opportunity to work for Edward Norton's Charity in Kenya back then, I couldn't believe my luck.
On arrival I have to be honest I was petrified. I had no idea what to expect I'm an epileptic in the middle of the national park thousands of miles from anything! One of three mzungu people which means in Kiswahili white people, everyone else there were Maasai / warriors.
My accommodation was a tent with no electricity and a mouse that shared my tent! Ha. It was incredible much more sophisticated though than I had imagined but I quickly realised that there was no fence around the camp to keep the wildlife out, not like your average safari.
Night time would come, and so would the Hyenas, circling my tent to get in! With no electricity or mobile reception, I have never been so frightened in my life and I will recall this feeling forever. I was actually grateful for the mouse as I didn't feel quite so alone and scared, I had hoped if the Hyenas got in to the tent they'd go for the mouse first, who was I kidding!
Every day spent there was one that you never knew what would happen next. Every morning waking up and looking straight out at Mount Kilamanjara when I opened my tent and thinking to myself yes, I must climb that one day, but for now it's a beautiful view.
The sounds of the wildlife so close to you, roaring from lions, elephants in the distance and watching this, it all felt so surreal to be actually living it and not just watching it on the television or on a safe safari.
I had truly stepped into the unknown.
During my stay I often would just sit in silence and take in the enormity of the land in front of me.
As mentioned it was an environment that was slightly volatile also, as I was actually living amongst the Maasai. I remember one day there was an issue amongst the Maasai Warriors and I still do not know what this was about but I was told to go straight to my tent and not to leave. Okay. There was no way I would leave my tent considering these warriors can kill a lion, I wasn't going to argue with that!
Yet another day was a completely different experience. I can also teach Yoga and I ended up at sunset teaching Yoga to Maasai warriors and children, even though we didn't speak the same language it's amazing how we can all interact in this day and age without words!
This is another treasured moment that stays in my memory bank, it was beautiful, until I was at the end telling everyone to relax as they were in Savasana and I could suddenly hear the Hyenas closing in fast. So whilst everyone had their eyes closed, I'm looking everywhere to check that I couldn't see any of these animals about to jump in and join the session! As I am writing this it's clear we came out unscathed but my heart was pumping the whole time ... boom. wow. Another mind blowing moment in my life!!! Not something you gain sitting at the desk day in, and day out!
So as you can see from just a small insight into this experience or adventure, I truly left my comfort zone and put myself in to a new experience that I will never forget.
What did I take away from it, well so much, but the main thing is that we can do anything we like, even if we are nervous, once it is achieved, we leave feeling proud of ourselves. It just goes to show us how capable we are at adapting to any environment.
Empowered, strong, and whatever the world had to throw at me next, I would take it on through any fear, to conquer and walk out the other side smiling at having succeeded.
Love life and adventure, don't go always for the easy route, go off the beaten track as you never know where it will take you. Explore and Enjoy it. xxxx
EXPLORER. DESIGNER. STYLIST. PHOTOGRAPHER. STORYTELLER. LIVING LIFE.