Do Something that Scares You is the third step in my Five Steps to Transformational Travel and I don’t mean taking silly or dangerous risks that might void your travel insurance policy but I do mean challenging yourself and going beyond your comfort zone.
When you were young, you did lots of things that had a sense of fear – riding your bike down a steep hill, climbing to the top of the tree, jumping off the cliff into the water, etc. But as we age we get more cautious and inhibited but travel provides us with wonderful opportunities to embrace fear and say “thanks for having me, I’ll come again.” Because as you know fear is most often the precursor to a wonderful thrilling adventure! So here is an example of doing something that scared me during my travels just to get you thinking.
I love the water but grew up swimming & boating on freshwater lakes and the ocean has always frightened me a bit with the sheer power of its waves and the undercurrents. Plus I still have reoccurring dreams from seeing the movie, “Jaws” when I was 11 years old. So when I got to Maui, the one thing I decided I needed to do was challenge that fear and learn to surf – what could be more empowering than riding the wave that scared me!
I found the Nancy Emerson School of Surfing, signed up for a weeklong surfing course and met my “Surf God” – not blond, buff and chiseled but bald, wiry and short. As he pushed me into a small wave, I worried that I’d get caught in the churning water. In reality, I got a head dunking and some very clean sinuses. I could handle that. My instructor said that every time he saw a wave rearing up, he still got scared, so he paddled. “You have to trust your body” he told me. So I borrowed his trust in the hope that I’d find my own. It was humiliating to wipe out, but I stuck with it, trusting that I’d improve with practice. (A benefit of age is that you care less about looking foolish and you know the value of persistence.) Finally, I stood up, riding all the way to the beach. Fear, it turned out was more of a coward than I had imagined.
While I will never be a “Gidget” on a surfboard, I learned during surf lessons in Maui that challenging yourself and doing something that scares you just might remind you of what you are truly capable of. When I went back to Maui 5 years later with a group of girlfriends the first thing we did was sign up for some surf lessons and boy did we have an adventure of a lifetime – that’s a blog of its own!
In next week’s blog I will outline Step Four in my Five Steps to Transformational Travel but in the meantime I’d love to hear how you have been transformed by travel so leave me a comment or send an email. Until then, get out there and be a traveller not a tourist.