“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

I’ve decided to start doing a Favorite Quote post every Friday. Because, why not? I love quotes and have a habit of collecting them. I thought I’d share a quote every week that’s special to me, and how it has helped me.

These past weeks, I’ve been struggling with the idea of traveling alone. I’ve been on my own for short periods during trips when I was in my twenties, but haven’t been solo on a trip in quite a while. Some say it can be liberating, being free to do what I want and when I want without having to worry about someone else’s needs and wants. True, but it can also get lonely. I remember years ago roaming the streets of Rome by myself while couples walked around holding hands, and calling my friends back home in New York from my hotel room just to hear a familiar voice. It got expensive. I also remember dancing with new friends on the beach under a full moon when I was in Nungwi, Zanzibar, and having the time of my life. Traveling alone has its pros and cons.

As a travel writer, I’ve had to do things that took me out of my comfort zone. It wasn’t always easy. When I was in the Galapagos for a writing assignment on the islands’ exotic wildlife, I had to overcome my fear of the ocean and jump into the water on a snorkeling trip. While it was panic inducing at first, the adventure became one of the most memorable experiences in my life. I remember coming alive and being so proud of attempting something that scared me, and the story reflected that experience. (More on that later.)

In the next few months, I plan to visit three amazing places— Arizona, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

And I plan to go alone. I know it will be hard, and there will be moments when I will feel anxious or want to come home to the comfort of my home and the embrace of my dog. But I also know that stepping out of my comfort zone could lead me to surprisingly good experiences I would’ve otherwise missed.

What is your experience with traveling alone? Would love to hear from you.

Nungwi, Zanzibar 2004

Published by Lavanya

Lavanya Sunkara is a writer, animal lover, and globetrotter based in New York City. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Architectural Digest, Fodor’s, Forbes, USA Today and many more in a career spanning ten years. She covers travel, eco-lifestyle, culture, pets, and wildlife conservation.

2 thoughts on ““Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

  1. I’ve never traveled alone, except to go to and from a place where I was meeting up with a group of other writers. I have learned to enjoy the parts of the trip when I’m alone, except for the luggage schlepping part, which I don’t have when I am traveling with my husband! 🙂 My solution to that has been to pack much more lightly when I travel alone! I DO love this quote and have never regretted getting out of my comfort zone after I’ve done it!

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