Solo travel can cause us to stretch beyond our comfort zone.
In fact, I'd go so far as to say that solo travel can rob us of our comfort zone to enrich our lives.
I thought about this while reading Love of Life, an essay by Albert Camus. Yes, the same fellow who wrote The Plague.
In it, he writes about travel in general, but, what's important for us to note is, he wrote it while traveling alone in Palma, Spain.
“Travel robs us of such refuge. Far from our own people, our own language, stripped of all our props, deprived of our masks (one doesn't know the fare on the streetcars, or anything else) … we restore to every being and every object its miraculous value.”
Navigating life beyond the familiar we regain a sense of wonder.
He continues: travel “breaks down a kind of inner structure we have. One can no longer cheat — hide behind the hours spent at the office or at the plant (those hours we protest so loudly, which protect us so well…”
As we travel, we leave our comfort zone and must face life head on.
Travel Beyond Your Comfort Zone to Your Stretch Zone
Traveling solo, we have the time to see ourselves more clearly. Stereotypes and prejudices we hold may be revealed. Personal beliefs and values can be thrown into sharper relief. All this happens because travel takes you from your comfort zone to your emotional and intellectual stretch zone.
You are in your stretch zone when there is a degree of challenge that exceeds the ordinary.
It is in your stretch zone when it is easiest to:
- See who you are at this point in your life as opposed to self-perceptions built in the past.
- Clarify what kind of person you want to be and how you want to live.
- Determine the change you want to be in the world.
All of which is incredibly enriching as you travel and when you return home.
Travel Stories of Enrichment
To travel beyond your comfort zone does not require challenging destinations or daring activities. It simply requires restoring “to every being and every object its miraculous value.” Here are a few travel stories that involve seeing the world anew.
Travel Memories to Last a Lifetime
Tracey reminisces about the travels of her late grandmother and how she taught her to be curious, to take the trip, eat the cake, and savour the memories.
Positive Thinking and Solo Travel
I have always considered myself a positive person but I learned a lot about positive thinking from Ron, who I met at Mallory Square in Key West.
Travel Health Emergencies: Stories of Health Care Around the World
Spending time in Lyon prior to leaving on a cruise I sprained my ankle. Being unwell away from home certainly thrusts one out of their comfort zone. Success with a new healthcare system is a stretch that feels good.
Top Tips for Prince Rupert: The Best of Small Town Travel
In Prince Rupert, British Columbia, I learned about living a rich life in a tough economy. It was also the first time I learned how little a cruise ship does for a local economy.
Meetup.com Got Me Hiking in Hong Kong–It Was #[email protected]&%*! hard!
I learned a lot about my physical limitations on this trip and was motivated to change my activity level at home.
British Columbia by Train: Budget or Luxury. It’s Your Choice.
I learned that my preference was the budget trip through the Rockies saving $1,561 and meeting many more interesting people.
As a solo traveler, sometimes you have to step outside yourself, to push your boundaries. And sometimes, the result is a beautiful moment.