comfort zone

In what ways has travel taken you out of your comfort zone?

Question number 6…

In what ways has travel taken you out of your comfort zone?

I was always an introvert growing up. My public role at Zillow forced me to the middle in that introvert / extrovert spectrum. Still, to this day, talking to total strangers, and getting help from them is outside my comfort zone.

Guess what actually traveling entails?

Talking to total strangers. Asking them questions. Getting advice from them. Paying them for taxi services. Over and over.

Guess what actually having fun while traveling entails?

Hanging out with total strangers. Learning about them. Seeking out groups of people to hang out with. Over and over and over.

You get the point. Traveling requires constant interaction with others — most of whom you’ve never met before. That’s uncomfortable for many people, me included.

Some of the things I’ve done outside my “comfort” zone…

  • Going to a VERY Christian service in Ghana
  • Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Hanging off the back of a jeep in Ghana with 6 others (15+ inside the Jeep)
  • Being on the beach of Tangiers (in Morocco) – and getting the “What the hell are you doing here?” look by everyone
  • Almost getting robbed by a taxi driver in Hanoi
  • A spanish man in Barcelona attempting to steal my wallet WHILE shaking my hand

Travel forces you out of your comfort zone on a daily basis — because you’re not surrounded by your longtime friends on a daily basis who can help you. While you are traveling, if you want to make something happen? Guess what? You have to figure it out yourself.

comfort zone


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Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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  • Ann Frances Cheng

    Being nearly strip searched at the airport when leaving Israel! And it was actually a learning experience for me. :)

    • Yea, I bet that would get you out of your comfort zone.

  • Martin Bergstrom

    Hearing a very large Frenchman tell his friends that he was going to hurt me and take my bag (he wasn’t aware I could understand French) and pleading for the bartender to help me (he did). Then, needing to relax after the incident, trying to bum a cigarette from a female regular who worked by night; neither of us were native french speakers (and she was quite drunk), but from her miming and crude language, it became clear she had gotten a very mistaken impression of what I wanted. Got the cigarette, but only after a very awkward explanation that I didn’t want her services.

  • Adventurous Andrea

    Travel definitely has the ability to get you out of your comfort zone like nothing else! I think that’s one of the reasons why I love it. It may not always be easy, but it creates such a space for self-expansion.

    My most recent experience was hanging out with three Spanish girls…who spoke no English! I took a couple years of Spanish in high school (I don’t know about you, but learning “mi gato es azul,” isn’t exactly beneficial) and worked in a Mexican restaurant for a year, but my Spanish is far from fluent. Sure, there were awkward moments and sometimes we had to just give up on discussing certain topics, but we had many laughs and a great time.

    • Like yours, my Spanish is far, far from perfect.. :)