The thought of stepping out of my comfort zone genuinely used to terrify me – it still does sometimes. I don’t know if it’s the fear of being judged, the inability to push my limits or because I’m the kind of person who heavily relies on the comfort of other people. But throughout my life, I’ve had an ongoing battle with my own little comfort bubble and unwillingly having to burst it when really necessary. I recently wrote a post about why it’s okay to take your time when it comes to pushing your limits – and it’s something I still standby to a certain point.
So with a huge fear of unfamiliarity- I’m a person who heavily relies on other people to keep me entertained and to accompany me to places. Ever since I began blogging, I soon realised that I wasn’t the only person who struggled to do things alone. I’d have to really push myself to get a new bus, or to use foreign money in a shop, and I’d never be the first person to walk into a room full of people I didn’t know; I’m still not. I don’t know if it’s the fear of all eyes on me, or having to mumble into ongoing conversations with people I barely know, or because deep down I can be insecure.
It wasn’t until I came travelling until I really understood the importance of alone time and doing things on my own. There’s a difference between being lonely and being alone – the latter being the positive and the former being the feeling we all wish to avoid. Being lonely to me means I’m craving the company of somebody else, sinking into a bout of unhappiness and feeling lost. Being alone is something I’ve never fully understood since being in Australia. At home, I didn’t realise that the freedom of going to my bedroom when I wanted to be alone was, well, nice. Travelling with a partner means that you’re pretty much tied to one another, all day, all night – which is something neither of us mind.
Finding space has been difficult; but recently we’ve been taking full advantage of the time alone we get. It might even mean putting on headphones, or sitting on the deck whilst the other person is in the bedroom – but it works. Having alone time means we both equally have the creative space we might need, we can enjoy our guilty pleasures without worrying about what the other person thinks, and I also find that it gives me headspace. Over just four months I’ve already found a new independence I wasn’t even aware of. At first, the thought of using Australian dollars really worried me, I couldn’t imagine getting a train into the city on my own, and I would never walk into somewhere first – using Jack as a human shield at the front door. I’ve learned that developing the ‘I can’ attitude actually works and I’m beginning to enjoy pushing myself to do more things outside of my comfort zone and alone.
Telling myself to not worry about what other people think of me is something that has worked quite well for me. You can read all of the advice you want on this particular subject, but I believe it truly takes time to develop the ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude. I’ve figured that most people don’t actually care as much as you might think they do. It means that I now step out of my comfort zone and forget that there are people there; remembering that, as harsh as it sounds, they aren’t actually paying much – if any, attention to what you are doing. If you’re feeling a similar way to what I did, embrace being alone and doing things alone, experience new things with new people and push yourself when you feel ready to do so – I promise you that you’ll find a new inner, happier self, with a new found confidence and more opportunities.