The Hidden Perks of Traveling Outside Your Comfort Zone
Aug 30, 2013
The Limited View From a 78-Degree Life
I’m too hot. I’m too cold. I’m sick of being wet. I’m all sandy.
These may seem like complaints, but they’re really opportunities. Many people in the U.S. live a 78-degree life, in comfort so much of the time that they don’t know the pure bliss that comfort can be.
There have been many an evening on a rainy, cold rafting trip that I have frantically changed out of my wet river clothes into dryish fleece and gone to warm under the tarp with a fire (or sometimes even without a fire). And there I am, finally, warm and dry. I know it’s temporary because I will put on those same wet clothes to raft again tomorrow. And at these times, I sometimes literally chant and dance around saying, “warm and dry, warm and dry.” And it is so delicious. So incredible. So euphoric. Those who almost exclusively live a warm and dry life are really missing out. They’ve no idea how good it is to really know how good it is.
Other people who miss out are those who shower every day. For many, showering is a chore. For me, who showers generally once a week after a 5-day river trip, showering is a delight. Oh, the hot water. Oh, the pounding massage. Oh, the sudsy lather and the fragrance. Really, even just at home, everyone should go one or two days longer than their scalp wants to wait and then shampoo. It’s hair follicle heaven.
Similarly, I was on a tour in Bosnia this summer. The best bus available in Sarajevo had pretty poor air conditioning and it was well over a 100-degrees. I mean, it was like an oven in there for those four hours. One of the clients even pulled out the, “this is unacceptable.” But that evening we arrived and sat on the deck by the river with the breeze. Oh, that was the best slight chill I’ve ever experienced. That breeze may have changed that client’s life.
And sand. Well, there is no such clean as the one where I’ve finally gotten the fine sand of the Grand Canyon or a silty glacier fed Alaskan river out of my ears. Really. It’s worth the discomfort to experience the comfort once again.
Finally, just this winter I’ve got a new state of being to add to those we take for granted: Horizontal. I flew from California to Africa. I do not sleep well sitting up. I went for 32 hours without a place to lay down. Once I finally reached the lumpy, old foam mattress in the raft company’s warehouse and I was able to lay horizontal, it was the greatest luxury ever. I rejoiced.