When it comes to planning new adventures, James and I like to visit places and try things that we’ve never experienced before. We have a huge list of countries that we’d like to visit and we’re checking off as many as possible before we settle down. Most recently, we ventured south to Tulum, Mexico where we pushed the limits of comfort zone in quite a few ways.
In all honesty, as much as we like to explore, I still get a little nervous visiting a new country for the first time. There are a lot of questions that run through my mind like will there be a language barrier; is it a relatively safe area; or how complicated is it to rent a car?
Before we jet off to uncharted territory, I do a lot of research on travel forum sites to be as prepared as possible. It really helps to read about first-hand experiences from other travelers, but it’s kind of a double-edged sword. Lots of people like to share their horror stories – sometimes it’s a cautionary tale, but other times, it can be retaliation for a negative experience. For instance, when deciding whether to rent a car to drive from Cancun to Tulum, I read so many reviews of how corrupt the local police are, how rental companies upcharge you and how attendants at gas stations are trying to swingle you. On the flipside, I also heard from travelers who have visited 10+ times and never had an issue. I like to read as many perspectives as possible so that at least I know what to expect – good or bad.
Another new-to-us experience was staying at an eco-friendly hotel for part of our trip. The property was like a giant tree house which was unlike anything we had ever stayed in (I’m saving the hotel review for another post, but you can see a peek over on my Instagram). But it had a few interesting quirks in the spirit of truly unplugging. For starters, there is no air conditioning, no wifi, no televisions and no electric outlets in your room, except for one plug to charge your phone. There are also no showers – because showers are for busy people – so we had no choice but to take a bath every day.
As a creature of comfort, I wasn’t sure how this was going to play out, but then again, when would I ever have the chance to do this again? Turns out, it was exactly what the doctor ordered. I indulged in baths for longer than I normally would. I sat out on the hammock, took naps and finished a book that I’ve been meaning to read for a while. At night, we hung out on giant circle bed (another first for me!) under a curtain of mosquito nets, doors wide open letting the breeze come through. What I thought would be way out of my comfort zone turned out to be unlike anything I’ve ever ever experienced.
Of course, our trip to Tulum would not have been the same had we not packed some major essentials with us. Insect repellant, sunscreen and my favorite Carmex lip balms are a must. I admit, I may have overpacked with the lip balm, but I seriously stick one in every tote, clutch and crossbody bag that I own. My new-to-me favorites are the Comfort Care Lip Balms, which are made of oatmeal and antioxidant-rich fruit seed oil and come in a bunch of summery scents (watermelon is my fave!).
Going outside of your comfort zone can be scary, but in the end, it’s so rewarding and enriching. If you’re fixing to try something new, here’s what I recommend: 1) Do you research so that you know what to expect. 2) Have an open mind – there are so many amazing places and things out there, we just haven’t experienced it yet. 3) Bring a few items that you can’t live without – that way you have something familiar to hang onto while you’re off exploring the unknown.