Out of my comfort zone

I just got off the phone with my cousin who I haven’t spoken in two years. The conversation we had reminded me why I left my home-country. And also why we don’t talk much. You see, we have different goals in life.

I’ve been working abroad over the past few years and facing new challenges almost every single day. My cousin never lived outside his village. He keeps telling me to “come home”, “find a job here”, “stay here”.

To be honest, these words don’t warm my heart. I tried so many times to explain to him that the world outside is so much more than stereotypes, monuments and sunny spots.

The world has so much more to offer: home sickness, uncomfortable places and a learning process about who you are.

Through all these years I haven’t found a place where I would make myself a home so instead of chasing it, I’ve started to move around. I decided to live with other people, to share stories, to open myself to new possibilities and realize that I’m not alone. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what defines you: we’re all connected by the same melodramas.

At the end of the phone call, my cousin asks: “If you hate the weather just come back! Stop complaining!”. He doesn’t know this, but: the first reaction you have when living abroad is complaining. It starts inside your head. It can be the weather, the people, the way food smells. Everything counts.

The interesting part comes afterwards: you will realize that you need CHANGE to actually feel something new. It’s like two rocks clashing into each other to create a spark that it will turn into a fire. Friction is important to create struggle. Struggle can be something productive. I’ve had many different kinds of jobs which allowed to have a glimpse of what it’s like to be a waitress, chambermaid, babysitter, sales person, receptionist and home cleaner. During all these experiences I kept focusing on my practical everyday goals: pay rent, buy food, create something or save it for something you want to do. But the most important lesson of all is that you don’t need to prove anything to anyone. You do your thing. You are enough.

I believe that only through being outside of your comfort zone is possible to learn how to be with yourself. To communicate with your thoughts and your heart. How to respect your own conscience and judgment. Above all, to grow. I wouldn’t be the first or the last person to say this statement: “I wouldn’t be the same person if I didn’t do it”.

He hangs up the phone.


This essay was part of the World Nomads Travel Writing Scholarship submissions.