The Great American Road Trip: On Pushing Past Your Comfort Zone
The Badlands kicked us out with a bang, ripping our tent and flooding our gear in a supercell storm. We packed up our muddy and wet gear and headed an hour and 15 minutes to Rapid City, SD, racing to keep ahead of the ominous storms. It was stressful to say the least.
I’m a bit of a paradox in that I love adventure and living outside my comfort zone and throwing myself at situations, but I am also a big-time worrier… and I mean big time! On one hand, I can take on anything. No showering for 5 days? Ok with me. Going to the bathroom in nature and packing out my toilet paper? No biggie. Sleeping in a tent for a couple of months? Can’t wait. 10 hour strenuous hike? Bring it! But you better believe I’m going to be thinking about those bears, fearing those rattlesnakes, stressing about getting injured. I’m going to toss and turn and have nightmares about being killed by a bear. I’m going to picture myself falling off of that 60 foot ladder. I have a vivid imagination and a very, very active mind. It’s what gets me into such life-changing and wonderful adventures like these, but also what can turn my stomach and grind my nerves. 95% of the time I am blissfully happy and soaking in the view and the exhileration of pushing my body to the limit and the heart soaring feeling that is sharing this with friends both new and old. Then there is that other 5% where I can become crippled with fear and question what on earth I have gotten myself into.
And yet, I’m here! I showed up, and I’ll continue to keep showing up and pushing through the fear because it’s always worth it! I have loved every second of all of my life travels and experiences. I have loved every second of all new endeavors and friends and schools and homes. I may worry at times (and cry!) but never once have I backed down, because it’s just not an option for me. I refuse to do anything but live my life and see the world… and I think there’s a lot of us in that same boat, and maybe a lot on the dock who haven’t pushed past their fears and discomfort and just gone for it. I urge you to.
And now let me tell you about a time when I had a very large freak out over a menacing…cow?
Night four of camping and I’m awoken at 2 am by an animal noise. My heart starts beating fast and I hold my breath waiting for the next sound. Did I really hear a noise or was that in my dream? It comes again and my mind and heart start racing. It’s a weird sound but it sounds a whole lot like a baby bear. (Side note: before this trip I became obsessed with this baby grizzly bear named Eva on instagram. She was so cute my heart could break. And through following her I learned a lot about grizzly bears, including the sounds baby grizzlies make…). Danger Will Robinson! I wake up Kiera and Lauren and as the noise gets closer I make a dash for the car. Let me tell you fear loves company and pretty soon Kiera and Lauren are in the car with me and we’re going for a drive. I have got to get out of here! The initial freak out subsides and we drive back to the campground and spend the rest of the night in the car. It was a rough and sleepless night of me questioning how on earth I was going to make it through the next few months and if I could do this. I knew I wasn’t going to quit but I also knew I couldn’t go on like this. But minute by minute and deep breath after deep breath, I made it through the night. And in the morning we learned the noise was from a calf. That’s right folks, a calf!! Boy did I feel ridiculous, but in the end it’s one of the funniest memories. And do you know what else? There were countless other nights where we woke up to bear and animal noises in the night and heard a mountain lion purring outside our tent and I kept it together. Worried yes, but together.