Traveling was something I’d always wanted to do, but never had the funds or the time available. Something changed a year or so ago and I vowed that I wouldn’t allow either of those 2 excuses to stand in my way. I also vowed to bare skin on the beach – Ginger or not – To Hell with anyone who wants to poke fun at my porcelain skin! Could someone pass the SPF 75+?
PSA: By the way, skin cancer is a serious thing – please wear sunblock. Pasty pale is the new tan. Thanks.
I had mixed feelings about my first trip out of the country. I was thrilled to have a vacation – when you work a 24/7 job, any time off is a Godsend. But, I was also scared of being in a different country, without the protection of my comfort zone. I was scared of being in an airport outside of the U.S. and frightened of non-drinkable water and non-existent health departments.
That fear lasted about a day. Once I realized that every Belizean speaks English and that I could get Red Bull in Belize, I relaxed into what felt like “Old Hat”. And I found a way to fit “back in the States” into every conversation I had.
I also found a way to let go. As scary as that lack of control can be, it was probably the best thing that I could have done for myself. Between multiple tiny plane rides (pond hoppers) and numerous water taxi runs to and from town, I had absolutely no control over anything that happened to me. I hiked up Mayan Ruins and sat on the edge of Xunantunich, overlooking Guatamala & shaking to death. I took a hand crank ferry across a river in the middle of the jungle. I saw the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world. I snorkeled with giant stingrays and sharks, and I had a shark nip at my stomach (twice!), which lead to the underwater squeal heard ‘round the world.
I ate food made by a people who have never heard the word “diet”. I drank more rum than I’d like to admit and I watched the sun rise and set every single day – without feeling tired or overwhelmed. I wore my bathing suit proudly and didn’t care who saw how pale I am or how much smaller I’d like my stomach to be. I packed no makeup and no workout clothes. And I didn’t miss them. My workouts took the form of hiking, kayaking and swimming.
And for the first time in a very long time, I felt content.
And I realized that I needed this. We all do.
We should all travel outside of our comfort zones and find peace there. The world is not flat. And, even if traveling somewhere you’ve never been means going just a few hours from home – you should. Leave something to chance and try something new.
After the fear and the uncertainty wear off, life begins to surprise you in a really good way.