Neil Donald Walsch is an American author, writer, and speaker. He is most famous for his book series Conversations with God.
This week’s quote—“Life begins as the end of your comfort zone”—speaks to the necessity of pushing yourself beyond your boundaries if you wish to experience all that life has to offer.
At the most basic level, if you only stick to what’s comfortable and familiar, you will miss out on lots of new and exciting things.
Taken more literally, Walsch’s words express a paradox; we feel most alive when our very being is jeopardized, either by outside threats or internal strife.
For most people, it’s rare to experience deeply intense emotions—the kind that remind you that you are indeed alive—in daily life. After all, modern society allows us to mostly avoid physical danger while limiting self exploration to specific stages in life like college.
Thankfully, traveling can be a relatively safe and fun way to escape the routine of daily life and interject humanity into your existence, all while growing stronger in the process.
This past January, I took a trip to Cuba that was anything but comfortable. I spent the majority of my three weeks there choking on diesel fumes from the antique cars, sleeping on rock-hard mattresses, imagining that my food had flavor, and looking for the nearest bathroom. But despite all these "challenges", I had an incredible time.
As I noted here, I encountered a country filled with people who, despite regularly facing much worse hardships than the minor discomforts I described above, seemed happier than the majority of Americans I know. Why was this? I spent much of my time in Cuba trying to figure this out, hoping that I could bring a bit of Cuban wisdom home with me.
Invariably, such exploratory questions are distressing, even for the most inward-looking travelers. They have a way of weakening, at least temporarily, the foundation upon which all your beliefs are derived.
Yet this process can also make you feel more alive. Perhaps for the first time, you're allowed—if not encouraged by like-minded locals—to examine everything you've been told with a critical eye.
Depending on how far down the rabbit hole you go, the resulting world view you create can be dramatically different than the one you were raised to have. And while this may seem like a disconcerting place to be, I know from experience (and from talking to other travelers) that you end up feeling more secure with your place in the world precisely because you’ve challenged your beliefs.
So if you’re looking to add some variety and thoughtfulness into your day-to-day, I urge you to consider going places and doing things that make you uncomfortable. You never know what you’ll learn.
What do you think?
I publish a new travel quote ever week, right here. Do you have a particular one you'd like us to feature in the future? What do you think about this quotation? Let us know in the comments below!