After living as an expat in India, I realized that my personality growth was intrinsically tied to my willingness to step outside my comfort and to have a first time experience. For decades, I was happy with my suburban lifestyle. My stress levels were kept in check by following a predictable daily routine. Occasionally, I tried something for the first time. But, I rarely felt the gnawing uneasiness that accompanies a super-challenging situation. I preferred to feel safe by avoiding the unusual.
Living in a foreign country forced me to accept all of the ramifications of living outside my comfort zone. Daily, I had to face my irrational and rational fears. At times, my senses were in hyper mode as I processed my new reality. People who have read my memoir are aware of my monkey stories. Years later, I’m finally able to step back and laugh. In the moment, I remember trembling in utter fear.
After coping with these and other emotions, I was better equipped to accept life’s unpredictability. Since each day was a new experience, I expanded my coping skills and increased my knowledge of the world. In retrospect, I could have also written a whole book about “firsts”.
My students at the international school were my greatest teachers. The class taught me something almost everyday. They assisted me through the acculturation process. I
eventually pushed my boundaries and recalibrated my expectations.
From that time forward, I wanted my future travels to include safe places as well as uncharted territory. Figuring out what falls into the category of an uncharted territory remains a work in progress. I’m still sorting out the fine details. While I understand the benefits of living outside my comfort zone, I’m not willing to partake in excessively risky behavior. For now, I’ll continue to mix the mundane with the unfamiliar. Periodically, I will write about some of my “first” experiences as well as ordinary places.
I look forward to your feedback whenever I share one of my adventures.
In the meantime, do you have a First Experience that you’d like to share?
Sandra Bornstein is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer. She shares her experiences and recommendations on this blog and on other websites. Check out Sandra’s second website, https://thetravelingbornsteins.com.
Sandra is the content coordinator for Golden Living, a Best Version Media publication. In addition to writing family and business feature stories, she contributes a monthly travel tip column. She also writes for Fareportal’s online sites—One Travel Going Places and CheapOAir Miles Away.
Sandra is the author of MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE. This memoir highlights Sandra’s living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. As a licensed Colorado teacher, Sandra has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad. She also taught college level courses.
Sandra’s memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards, 2013 USA Best Book Awards, and a Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.