Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 45 - Get out of your comfort zzzzone...

That's a pretty comfortable place to be for most of the day, I'd say! I got this one on one of our hikes in the  Cape Point Nature Reserve. Most of the time I would prefer to be in exactly such a spot, sure looks comfortable, convenient and certainly safe!

Today however, I found myself catapulted right out of my safe place and for some reason found myself striking up a conversation with a complete stranger.

I noticed a little old lady, (I'm not defining old after yesterday's post!) but suffice to say that I think she was quite a few years older than me, in the mall today. We were both browsing around the clothing section of the shop and I was struck by how stylish and really pretty she looked. She was dressed rather informally but yet stylish, her colours and accessories really came together beautifully and to top it all off, she wore a cheeky little hat, perched at a slight angle.

Before I could stop myself, I found myself walking towards her and I complimented her on how pretty she looked. She looked at me for a while, burst into a huge smile and said: 'Thank you so much for saying that. I have cancer and I'm not feeling that well today and I don't always feel as if I look that good either.'

And before I could stop myself a second time, I found myself giving her a tight hug.

I've never done something like this in my entire life. Am I glad I did though. I'm still taken back by the incident as I don't think there was one bit of coincidence about the two of us being in that spot together at that exact time. Maybe we should really tune in to those little messages that are sent our way, and act upon it!

I certainly will be paying close attention from now on...

Walking the Camino certainly is also one activity that takes one way out of your comfort zone. Tony Kevin is one man who travelled halfway around the world to tackle the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Talk about moving out of a comfort zone! Tony retired from the Australian foreign service in 1998, after a 30 year government career during which he served in the Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister's departments, and was Australia's ambassador to Poland and Cambodia.

This is how he describes his departure from home and literally walking out of his own comfort zone in his book, 'Walking the Camino'...

'So there I was, proudly dressed in crisp new khaki pilgrim gear, walking boots, and floppy hat, a scallop shell around my neck, a packed rucksack and wooden staff at my side - no doubt looking rather ridiculous, but I wanted to do this thing properly - as Father John sprinkled me and these meagre belongings with blessed holy water, and offered his priestly blessings. I realised then with a shock that all this was truly happening, that I really was about to embark the next morning on the strangest adventure of my life. I would need all the help and prayers I could get, and was suddenly very glad that my family and friends were there to wish me well and pray for a safe journey and return home to the family.Looking around at the shining faces of family and friends, I felt more at peace with myself than I had been for a long time.

But the next morning's departure was considerably less happy. Suddenly I was lonely, and scared of what might be in store. I was going to the other end of the world, alone. I looked down at my pack and staff - they seemed both very heavy to carry, and very small. Everything I owned, my whole life-support system for the next two months, was in this little backpack. I was leaving behind - I realised now, for a long time - the warm comforts of home, the joy and love of a family, but for what real purpose? Waves of doubt and fear and a sense of my own foolish selfishness swept over me as I made my final packing checks.

The taxi tooted in the driveway, and I gave my wife and children hasty farewell hugs, fighting back brimming tears and incipient panic. It was crazy to be leaving for so long those whom I loved.Why on earth was I attempting this pilgrimage venture on the other side of the world. Had it all been a huge error of judgement?

I caught the bus for Sydney, and tried to drive away such bleak thoughts by closing my eyes and burying myself in Spanish-language tapes for the next few hours. The tapes were a good excuse for not thinking, a mental exercise in keeping fears and emotions at bay. I didn't know it, but the iron discipline of the pilgrimage was beginning.'

You can listen to a radio interview with Tony here: Fascinating listening!

Well I'm beginning to think that the sky is the limit for me now! Next year I'm going to learn how to play the guitar and I'm booking my long postponed Portuguese lessons. How's that for getting out of my comfort zone!


  1. You deserve a light hug too. So take this.

  2. Terrific!

    Check out the Radio Lingua podcasts..they have One MInute Portuguese! I also love the Coffee Break Spanish! Guy on it sounds like Sean Connery!

  3. And than there is BBC-Languages-Spanisch-Mi Vida Loca. Very amusing

  4. Thanks Bruce - that's sweet of you.

    Ksam and Anon - Guess I'll be concentrating on the Portuguese as my dream is to live there six months of the year sometime in the future...

    Pretty sure that will help me understand some of the Spanish on the camino but certainly should go check out the Coffee Break Spanish! Spanish Mi Vida Loca - my vida sometimes seems like one big loca, whether in Spanish or not!! ^-^

  5. WOW You are amazing ! Yes, big hug to you ! Great blog and Journal !
    Happy blog hop !
    Come see my blog and follow back !

  6. I admire you for trying things that are out of your comfort zone and I hope you succeed at everything you try :-)


  7. Welcome Frenchy, I love the energy of your blog! Will be following from now on... :)

    Thanks Ron for the lovely wishes and the same right back to you!


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