Featured Journal

Abandon Your Comfort Zone

In my 30+ years on this planet, I spent about 29 of them fearing the future.  

Will I get accepted to law school?  I did.

What if I don’t pass the bar exam?  I passed.  

What if I can’t find a job?  I found a job three months before graduation.

Then, guess what?  I hated the practice of law.  That is a heck of a lot of worry for a career I no longer pursue. I have worried about things that worked out fine, were outside of my control, or that quite frankly, don’t really matter.  I told myself that I’m tenacious, I want the best in life, and I’m really just being prudent.  In all actuality, that’s total crap; and it turns out, I care about money a lot less than I thought I did.  In fact, I care only about a few things…family, faith, health, and travel.  I’m far less complex than my younger self would have admitted.

I have found that humans fear the unknown and don’t feel comfortable taking risk.  All-encompassing statements are spoken daily without the understanding that when we speak these things, they become our reality.

“I would love to go to Italy, but that will never happen for me.”

“I would love to take the trips you take, but I have a fear of flying.”

“I can’t believe you published a book, I could never do such a thing.” (For the record, I self-published and it isn’t rocket science).

“I’m too old, too young, too tall, or too stupid.”

These statements are simply driven by the fear of the unknown.

This fear can be paralyzing and it prevents us from fully experiencing everything this world has to offer. But the truth of the matter is, when we really get to the heart of things, there is danger in everyday life.  We will never fully extinguish all risk and bad things can happen anywhere. I would advocate that experiencing the unknown is liberating especially when it’s uncomfortable.

I often hear stories about people leaving the earth far sooner than what seems fair or rational.  How much would they give for just one more day?  What would they do with that day? What will you do with your day?  You still have one.

I used to fear the unknown and from time-to-time, I still do. I work on this every day. Travel has changed my perspective.  Experiencing other cultures and trekking into unknown territory has only given me more comfort and expanded my thinking.  It makes the world feel a bit smaller and my role in it, a bit larger. We should of course be prudent and aware, but we should also embrace the challenge of venturing outside our comfort zone….and, in my case, time zone too.

I ripped through the boundaries of my comfort zone 18 months ago when I zip-lined in St. Thomas.  For the thrill seekers out there, I understand this is small peanuts and I am a total wussy.  But for me, I overcame a life-long fear of heights and, by the sixth zip line, was practically flying off the platform.  

Me. Kristin….

The girl who holds the coats while everyone jumps on the roller coaster.  

The girl who insisted that her zip line would be the one to break (it didn’t).  

It was awesome, liberating, and totally empowering. Now, I’m one zip-line loving chick who, in a few short weeks, will be zip-lining down Fremont Street in Las Vegas….who knew!

I’ve applied my new-found sense of adventure into starting my own business.  It’s a terrible amount of work but I love it.  Oh, and I’m making no money either, thank you for asking.  Just living the American dream.  But in all actuality, I am living my dream.  I am encouraging people to venture out and travel the world.  It’s my purpose.

Don’t let the fear of the unknown or (insert your biggest fear here) prevent you from expanding your mind, living your purpose, or enjoying bucket-list experiences.  After all, life is really too short.  What will you do with the time you have?

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About the author

Kristin Streff Barnett

Hi, I’m Kristin. I am a feisty and frugal 30-something with a love for travel and adventure. My younger self pursued a career as an attorney, hated the practice of law and found myself unemployed during the Great Recession. Just bloody awesome. So I decided to take control and follow my true passions: traveling, writing (aka I’m not a millionaire), and making the world just a little bit smaller by encouraging other non-millionaires to travel to their heart’s content. My website www.abroadawakening.com/ and books (available on amazon.com under “abroad awakening) are dedicated to this cause.
In my spare time, wait….what spare time? Let me try that again….I spend all my time working my day job, enhancing and growing Abroad Awakening, traveling (obviously), and spending time with my husband and two four legged children: Scout and Mose (don’t ask). We live a simple life, explore the world, and always seek new experiences and challenges. I have been truly blessed.