The Thrill is Worth the Scare…or at Least I Hope So

I like to think of myself as some-what adventurous.

The first time I traveled abroad (Canada doesn’t count when you grew up within an hour of the border), I was 16 years old and spent 3 weeks in Japan without family. Granted, I was well supervised through the participation in a host family program but it was still the longest and furthest I had been away from family.

The next time abroad was six months in South Africa. While I was there, I did a day trip to cliffs along the south-western shore with no one I knew ahead of time. I rode in a car with too many people in a wildlife park (“safari park” in other words), where if a rhinoceros or other animal with horns had decided they wanted to run through our car, they could have. I played with baby lions and made some other decisions that looking back, were not entirely smart to make. It was all a part of the “study abroad experience.”

therestofyourlifeGive me an opportunity to travel to another country and I will jump on it – with only a few fears that I strive to overcome. I love the thrill of immersion and making decisions that I am not faced with in my home country. Learning new things and laughing off awkward situations as I am deemed “the foreigner who tried.”

However, give me the opportunity to go snorkeling and I got scared. I am not that great at swimming – although I can do a bit more than doggy-paddle. Even when I was in the bluest of waters in St. Lucia in South Africa (my favorite beach), I found myself hesitant regarding how far out to go within the water and, this will make me sound like a little girl, being nervous with so many fish being around me.

Making one’s life memorable isn’t just in doing the things you enjoy – it’s about pushing yourself into an uncomfortable situation and succeeding. I was surprised at how anxious and fearful I got at snorkeling until I read more of the details – saying that you go as a group, there’s always a guide to make sure you’re staying with the group, they give you a lesson beforehand, etc. However, I know that this anticipation of something memorable and the experience itself will help me push myself away from living just an average life.

So as you go forward with life, whether it includes studying abroad or even a big change of moving abroad, do something “memorable” every now and then. But also push yourself outside of your “memorable” comfort zone – like going snorkeling instead of just visiting another part of the world by land.

(Photo on Pinterest and sourced to this blog: