If you’re like me, you already have an idea in your head what the perfect vacation looks like. For me, the picture in my head usually involves some reading time, a bit of water or beach time, a museum or tourist trap or two, and some shopping. Check the boxes and vacation is a success, right? Well. Maybe.
One of the best (and also sometimes challenging) things about traveling with friends is that everyone’s mental picture is a little different. When it comes time to planning how to spend those precious vacation minutes, there are lots of ideas for how to do it.
Our group spent our most recent get-together in the Wisconsin Dells. If you’ve been there, you know there are LOTS of choices for how to spend your time. I woke up on Day 1 thinking ok, water park, outlet mall, maybe a boat ride….fun is about to get started!! However, during a breakfast pow-wow on our activity choices, a distinctly NOT in my mental picture option rose to the top of the list…a ropes course! Bigfoot Ropes Course, to be exact.
My enthusiasm definitely took a bit of a hit there, I’ll admit. A ropes course did NOT fit into my personal vacay success checklist. Especially since my trips to the gym have been less frequent than I’d like lately. But…key to successful traveling with a group is compromise, right? These are my people, and I care about what they want to do, too. Plus, we have dragged non-swimmer Ann on a boat ride too many times to count, and fair’s fair. I put on my “good sport” hat and off we went….WAY out of my comfort zone.
I endured the orientation and donned the gear, which included a harness that is not flattering to anybody. And I learned how to use the silly safety clips that apparently would save me from falling to my death. Or abject humiliation, I wasn’t sure which. Off we went onto the course. I was sure the staff and the other patrons were laughing at me (they weren’t) and that I would never get the hang of it (I did). And then…before I knew it…fun! I fought through my discomfort (possibly less gracefully than I could have) and we had a ball.
More significant than my own experience, though, was this….my 15-year-old daughter, who is terrified of heights, and her partner in crime, Liz, climbed the entire 4 stories. All the way to the top and into the helicopter. It was amazing. They spent the whole afternoon climbing each obstacle on their way to the top, considering and discarding the idea of giving in and climbing back down repeatedly over the course of the day. Each time, building their confidence in their ability to overcome their fears and rely on themselves to reach a goal.
Psychology experts tell us that there are a lot of benefits from stepping out of your personal comfort zone. It can help you succeed in business, stay sharp as you age, and make you more likely to take on challenges. We learn to deal with fear, anxiety, and change. Maybe failure. We learn what we’re capable of…something neither I nor my kiddos were going to figure out while plowing through novels on the beach. And maybe just have some fun while we’re at it. So next time you vacation with your group, maybe you’ll get out of your zone as well.
What have you done (or are you planning to do) on your vacation that was out of your comfort zone? Please tell us about it in the comments below!