I’ve always been a cautious person who doesn’t really like to take unnecessary risks. Sure, I’ll try weird foods and go travelling to foreign countries, but in general, my default setting is to stay within my comfort zone. I like routine, and change always takes me a while to adjust to. I like to plan ahead, and I’m not very good at being spontaneous. Because of these things, I sometimes avoid exploring new opportunities because I’m not very comfortable with improvising my way through the unknown.
One thing I realized on our South America trip is that I don’t always want to be the “no person”. I don’t want to be the person that shoots an idea down just because it seems crazy or unrealistic, or because it’s something I’m not necessarily comfortable with. Being a realist and thinking carefully through your options is great a lot of the time, but sometimes you just need to jump in with your eyes closed and see what happens. There may be repercussions, but most of the time you come away with an experience worth talking about. You might be a little tired the next day, or get a little dirty, or get your truck horribly stuck in a muddy salt flat, but every time you push yourself beyond your comfort zone you grow in a way that you wouldn’t have if you just stayed home.
I’ve been trying to say yes more often, and get involved in things I might have otherwise passed by. While I still want to make sure I’m respecting my limits and taking care of myself, I know that my life will be richer if I continue to take risks and put myself out there in big and small ways. After all, the worst outcomes still make for great stories.