The past three weekends have been absolutely incredible. Last weekend I went camping with over 50 other college-aged church folk to do a service project at the Holcomb Valley boy scout camp in Big Bear. Driving home, I was on such a high with so much love in my heart for all the wonderful people I had met, and feeling fulfilled after working hard doing service. The weekend before that I had an amazing time cliff diving, rappelling, and surfing with some friends in Malibu. Being able to have a such a great time, experience new things, and talk to new people so close to home never ceases to amaze me.
Especially living in Los Angeles, there seems to be an endless list of fun and new things to do. Whether its different trails and camping spots, sporting events, concerts, clubs, museums, educational spots (California Science Center or the Griffith Observatory to give a couple examples)…having $0 with no car is the only excuse not to do something new and exiting.
Recently, during lunch with some work associates, we had a discussion about the value of traveling. I have nothing against traveling and visiting other countries and foresee that once I have more time and money, it will likely get bumped up on my list of priorities. I don’t suggest there aren’t benefits to experiencing different cultures. But, I do suggest it is highly over-rated. It seems to me, many people use traveling as a crutch to get out of their comfort zone and experience new things, thus learning more about themselves and others. I feel part of the reason I don’t have much desire to travel, or that I don’t feel it is necessary to fill some need or to feel fulfilled, is because I extend myself outside of my comfort zone, experience new things, and meet new people on a regular basis right here in Los Angeles.
Getting outside of your comfort zone and opening your eyes to a new world is exciting and leaves you feeling fulfilled and like you’ve grown as a person. The thing is, I do this on a much more regular basis and with greater ease without making it an international ordeal. As you challenge your mind and learn new things, the way you view the same old familiar “world” your used to changes (at least a bit) with each new day. Add on top of that talking to new people everywhere you go, and you satisfy that inherit drive I believe we all have to explore and understand the vast world we are a part of.
In short, if you look a bit closer, and exercise a bit of creativity and discipline to put yourself outside of your comfort zone…you don’t have to travel long-distances in order to experience the growth, fulfillment, and excitement of having your eyes opened through new experiences.