Comfort zones, what wonderful things they are! Warm, soft and safe, you know just what to expect and nothing ever changes. I enjoy being in a comfort zone, but it doesn’t take me long to feel the need to stretch my wings and push the limits of that space.
It often begins with a luxurious feeling of contentment, rolling in like ocean waves on a calm day. I relax, breathe and enjoy it.
My comfort zone.
But it isn’t long before I feel fidgety here. My fingertips begin to tingle, my mind starts to look beyond the present and I start to imagine something more.
That’s why I’m here today. Pushing myself out of the comfort zone of my once-a-week blogging, and into this awesome link-up Friday Reflections. Leading the way are two amazing women who open my eyes to new possibilities and encourage me to raise the bar, Janine Ripper and Mackenzie Glanville.
When I think about why I started blogging, I can’t help but think about those comfort zones.
Last year my family and I decided to travel Australia off-road for 3 months in a camper trailer, I quit my job and started blogging! I left behind 3 of my bread-and-butter comfort zones for challenge, adventure and freedom.
This was not gentle shift …I went ‘cold turkey’ overnight!!
- I loved my job, finding it totally absorbing as a full-time primary school teacher, considering the 30 children in my class like my extended family. Although I left them as their teacher in July, they didn’t leave me until September! I dreamt about them and constantly thought about things I should have passed on to their new teacher!
- Leaving the house and working from a camper trailer was not so hard, I love roughing it without electricity or showers, but leaving my phone reception behind was painful! Because we had such limited internet access and opportunities for phone calls were scarce I starting to write about our travels in my blog Speedykniebe.
- The blog was a way to keep friends and family updated and I thought my children would enjoy writing posts for it too. It’s funny how things begin, they don’t always lead where you expect! I should have known that writing is not considered pleasurable by many teenage boys, especially when there are campfires to be built and fish to be caught! So I took on the job of the blog.
I just wrote whenever the laptop had charge (which wasn’t that often), jotting down exciting new discoveries, unexpected break downs (mechanical and emotional) and stories about crazy characters who spoke to crows. I found that I was starting to look forward to writing, and prioritized it above other things, such as washing clothes or feeding the family!
But there is one moment I remember that particularly stands out as a turning point for me.
I hadn’t figured out how to enable comments on Blogger so although I posted every couple of weeks I never got any comments on my blog. While enjoying the luxury of a phone connection in Cairns my gorgeous friend Karen asked me impatiently ‘when are you going to put up another blog post?’ She told me with some irritation that her family had been reading them all and were waiting for the next post.
That was my watershed moment.
Somebody was waiting, impatiently and expectantly, to read my writing.
Reflecting on this now I think it really captures everything that makes me passionate about writing. Cliché though it may be, I love writing!
It takes me to a place within myself that I didn’t’ know existed, and something creative just flows.
I get such a buzz from the process of refining and expressing ideas in words, that to find someone else who enjoys reading those words is pure joy. It’s like seeing friends enjoy a delicious meal you’ve created, it nourishes the soul and connects people though a shared pleasure.
So the blog has grown from a travel journal to a journey of personal growth. It’s constantly growing and changing, therefore so am I.
Comfort zones are easier to recognise once you’ve left them behind, so my advice is don’t stay too long in places where nothing changes.