Learning Series Part 1 – Comfort Zone
So what is it like to be on the road, travelling, for a long time.
Well, obviously it’s amazing. You get to see lots of cool stuff, meet new people and experience different cultures… And that’s just the headline really, reality is even better than all that.
While all of this is true of course, not a single way of life is perfect, and neither is this wonderful life on the road, although it comes pretty close.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this is not a blog to air complaints. It is a realistic, true account of our experience of being on the road. Because let’s be honest, I doubt there is a single lifestyle that is 100% positive and perfect, all the time. If you’ve found a 100% perfect lifestyle, then please let me know!
There are a few things we’ve realised since we’ve been on the road. They’re not all bad things; they can be fun or tiresome and much of that will depend on how you feel in yourself on that day, so it’s very subjective.
We thought it might be useful to do a little series of posts to discuss some of the things we’ve learned and realised along the way. Things you may expect or experience when you go on the road for a longer period of time. We checked these with some of our travelling friends as well, so we think these are perhaps more common than you might think, and therefore this might be useful to you.
So here is the first one, about getting out of your comfort zone. This can be great fun, you can be challenging yourself, and you learn new resilience and adaptability skills, but it can also be difficult, tiring and even worse, it can induce anxiety, especially if you’re not expecting to experience some of these things.
Every time we go somewhere new, we’re out of our comfort zone to some extent. We literally have no idea what we’ll face that day. This is part of the excitement of travel but it can get wearing if we get tired or if we’ve been on the road every day without a break somewhere for a few days. Generally, we don’t think about it too much and we expect it all to be ok but really, most of the time we’re travelling into the unknown.
We don’t know the roads we’re about to travel on, we don’t know what the parking will be like. We ALWAYS worry about our height and low bridges. We don’t know what we’ll find when we get there (wherever that may be). We hope traffic is ok. We hope the people we encounter will be friendly. We hope we don’t accidentally break any laws we weren’t aware off, and worse, get caught by the police.
As we go to sleep, we hope we don’t get the dreaded knock on the door to move us on. We hope there will be no anti-social behaviour near our van, like cars with lots of loud music, racing, drink/drugs etc. We hope we don’t experience a burglary (that’s day and night really!).
So how do we deal with this? It would get very tiring to constantly worry about things. So the main thing is not to worry. Yes, be aware and understand the risks you may face, but don’t fret about it. If you find something you really worry about, then make sure you do some extra research so you know a bit more about what to expect. This can help you put your mind to rest.
If travelling is your main concern for example, you can make sure you have a good satnav that will help you, one that includes your vehicle dimensions so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in a small lane. Or if you’re worried about safe places to sleep, you can stick to campsites and official aires or do extra research about places before you get there, so you know you’re in a safe place.
We’ve been lucky so far, with only minor incidents like a little hidden bollard in France last year, an overhanging roadsign in Cadaques, and only one incident involving the police, when they spotted Luna travelling in the cab of the motorhome with us… Apparently that’s not allowed… 15 minutes and 40 euros later and we were on our way.
In general, what helps us is sometimes to simply talk through our concerns, even if they seem minor, as sharing our perspectives will help a lot. We can remind each other that we’re confident everything will be fine, we have confidence in each other (as we both have jobs to help us travel, like driving and finding places to travel to), that we’ve done our research, or that we’ve learned from others who went before us. Sometimes, it’s as simple as staying somewhere a little longer to rest, have a quiet day, and then face the travel again head on. And that will be what the next part in this series will be about, rest and relaxation. Sounds weird? Stay tuned!
Would you like to share your experiences? Do you recognise any of this? Do you experience being out of your comfort zone while on the road? What is it like for you? Feel free to get in touch on our website or on our Facebook page!