Everybody loves a challenge…to test themselves. Probably for the satisfaction of succeeding, but also because a challenge can open you up to so many new things, peoples, experiences and so on. It might also make you more appreciative of certain things.
Right now, I have challenged myself to be a vegetarian for two weeks. Two weeks probably doesn’t sound like too long, but I love nothing more than tucking into a juicy steak, and I feel this challenge is going to be a tough one, but then again-what’s the point in setting yourself a challenge you know will be easy?!
My mother was diagnosed with cancer many years ago and during her recovering, doctors recommended she cut out red meat from her diet, so she just decided to go the full hog (pun totally intended!), and cut out meat all together and become a vegetarian…pretty much overnight. 16 years later and she still hasn’t succumbed-even to the painfully enticing smell of bacon! Hell, I should be able to last two weeks!
Vegetarianism aside though, like I said…a challenge can lead you to so much — a challenge to learn a new language, discover a new culture, meet new people, etc. Travelling is a challenge. And a fantastic one at that! Whether you choose to teach English in Cameroon, backpack through Asia, partake in a debaucherous ski season, or relocate yourself to another county for a year-you are (often without realising it) setting yourself the ultimate challenge. You are taking yourself out of your comfort zone of ‘home’, of your friends and everything you know. By taking yourself away from familiar smells, sounds, foods, and lifestyles; by stripping yourself of all fluencies you know, you more often than not will end up discovering new things about yourself you would never recognize at home. Travelling tends to make people more open to new things-foods, people, experiences and…challenges! Things you’d probably never think of normally doing, you don’t even hesitate at-throwing yourself out of a plane or off a bridge, jumping down a 15 meter waterfall, eating dog etc. When you are travelling you adopt a sort of ‘never say no’ attitude.

The sad thing about this person you discover while travelling is that is incredibly hard to continue to be that person once you get home and fit back into your familiar lifestyle. And this is a reason travelling can be so addictive. But you will always have challenges that you can set yourself, however small, large, easy or hard, wherever you are. That craving for difference, excitement and uncertainty which are so easy while you are away in other lands can be continued on but within the boundaries of regular life. But then again, boundaries are always more fun when broken…
A challenge is fun and exciting-even if you don’t enjoy the challenge in the moment, you’ll probably look back fondly or with satisfaction at least! As the song line says ‘Do something everyday that scares you’…
Whether right now you are travelling, blogging from home, or just bored — I challenge you to try something new this week….or maybe cut something out and become a vegetarian!