Be Yourself!:Step out of your Comfort Zone

Patricia Carrigan
Published on: August 2012
A few weeks ago I had the awesome opportunity to go on an once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe with 'People to People Student Ambassador Programs'. The destinations included, London, Scotland, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Wales, all in the length of twenty days.

So, of course there was a lot of things I had to prepare myself for, an example being, vast cultural differences, especially when it came to language (and food! There isn't anything quite like haggis :-) ). Where I come from in Northern California, a lot of people use the words "hecka" and "hella" in place of "a lot" and "really". So, I was already somewhat prepared to have some people make comments about such odd words. But little did I know that it wasn't Europeans that made comments about the words; it was people from my own delegation! Reason being that about 95% of my delegation was from New Mexico! Now, don't get me wrong, I loved the people on my delegation, they just were surprised at our differences in expressions, and whenever they would hear one of the six California delegates say "hecka" or "hella" they would giggle and repeat it. I took it to no offense though, :-) mainly because I used to be in their place when I moved from Southern California to Northern California, the word use was so unusual to me! The surprise of it never lasted long though because I started to become accustom to using it as well, which is exactly what happened to a majority of the New Mexico delegation after twenty days of traveling!
be yourself,opportunity
The main thing that I kept in my thoughts was to be myself and not try to be someone else since I was going to be with 38 other teens that I didn't know before the trip. I know that trying to be someone you're not just leads to a big mess . I wouldn't like me and neither would anyone else. My best shot of enjoying the trip was to just be me! Look out British Isles here's Patti lol. Well, since I'm normally a complete goofball at home, I continued the practice in Europe doing things like bouncing on the rope bridge and generally acting silly. I stayed myself and because I did, I made a few really, really great friends.

One of the girls I became close friends with, Kaitlyn, was even mistaken as my sister a few times. It is absolutely amazing how close we became in so short a time. I think half my pics are with her. The other, Varsha, became more like a friend and a little sister rolled into one. Which means I teased her a lot, of course I also looked after and comforted her.:-) I made so many friends during my trip because I found the key.

In staying myself, I created an inner comfort zone that allowed me to travel and experience things in a way I never would have been able to do otherwise. I guess you could say that by creating that inner comfort zone... I could step out of my comfort zone! Weird huh! Comfort zones are really important when you're going on a trip with completely new people. Mainly meeting new people, no matter where you are is a 50/50 effort. It can't be one sided. So, my being comfortable with myself and liking who I am, allows me to step out and say "let's skip merrily..." Which I did! I insisted someone skip with me too! It allows the other travelers to relate to me easier and, in turn, feel more comfortable around me. Since at my core I am somewhat of a shy person, and that was definitely a challenge I had to face before leaving for trip, I used my inner comfort zone to boost my confidence on the trip.
I found out that by never straying from my true silly self I made wonderful friends and acquaintances and opened myself up to amazing experiences that will help shape my life for the better.
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