Published on October 23rd, 2011 | by thevyne5
To paraphrase Nora Ephron’s Kathleen Kelly in You’ve Got Mail, I lead a small, safe, yet comfortable life. It is the rare occasion that I purposefully jump out of my comfort zone. And for as much as I love to visit new places, I can’t say that I’ve ever really gone on a full vacation just by myself. But I’m at an interesting place in my life right now; I’m having an Eat Pray Love moment if you will. I’m questioning just how comfortable I am in my comfort zone. And more importantly I’m learning first hand what it means to feel the fear and do it anyway.
I recently took the opportunity to expand a work-related training into a vacation for one to the City of Big Shoulders AKA Chicago. I’ve visited Chicago before for work and to visit with friends that lived in nearby suburbs. In those visits I never really took the time to go see some of the things that I really wanted to see. Sure I always had a great time, but still I wanted to explore more. Hence the reason for turning my training schedule into opportunity to step out of my comfort zone.
I tagged on a few extra days to my hotel reservation and got myself all pumped up to go, right until two days before when I started to have second thoughts. Fortunately, I had non-refundable airline tickets, so I needed to get over any fears I had quickly. Big girl pants firmly on and in place I headed for the Windy City with plans to check into my room and nap the day away. That’s right ladies, I was totally chickening out on experiencing my vacation for one. God and the universe, however, had other plans for me.
Arriving at the hotel early I was unable to check in. Nap plans thwarted I headed to the restaurant next to the hotel for breakfast and decided to go for it, I mean what choice did I have really. I hailed a cab and headed for a museum that I’ve wanted to visit for years now. And this, somewhat insignificant little action is possibly one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I walked every inch of that museum and enjoyed every minute of it. Feeling a bit more adventurous with each step. I then took my newfound courage to the streets, shopped a bit and had a lunch to die for on my own. No books or gadgets to hide behind and pretend I wasn’t eating alone. Nope, just me and my meal.
Yes, I was still cautious about my surroundings and choosing where to go and how to get there, that’s just part of my nature, but for me this was a huge move out of my comfort zone. It helped me tap into my courage and opened the door to the part of me that’s more confident than I thought, that’s more adventurous than I give myself credit for, that’s more brave than I knew how to be. It feels good to know that I can make traveling to beautiful places a reality, even if I might not be able to convince anyone to hit the road with me. It honestly helped me see the bigger picture about taking chances in all areas of my life. My solo vacation was a great life lesson and the start of something wonderful. One small step for mankind, one giant leap for Gigi…