Here I am in Costa Rica, staying in the apartment of a woman I met once at a hair salon in Quepos. She’s a travel-loving yogi from Canada and has convinced me to come to visit Dominical where she now lives.

“There is an ecstatic dance class on Saturday night, you should come for that”. In my haste and without even thinking I responded “Sure, I love dancing, sounds like fun”. Do you know what ecstatic dance is? No, neither did I. But travelling always somehow manages to get me to make decisions slightly outside of my comfort zone.

Pink sunset sky and rainbow over the beach in Dominical, Costa Rica

Is It Good To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone?

Absolutely! Getting out of your comfort zone can help you to break free from any mental or physical limitations and can open up a range of new opportunities. It encourages creativity and appreciation for life, as well as makes you more confident in trying new things.

Plus, pushing yourself to do something that initially feels uncomfortable allows you to become more aware of what is possible – leading to even more exciting experiences in the future!

In Over My Head In Costa Rica

So I rock up, to Danyasa Dominical. The most stunning yoga studio I have ever seen. A giant treehouse-like studio, adorned with Buddhism and female warrior art. The smell of incense filled the air and some cool Indian sounds were emanating from the room.

Excited and ready to learn all about ecstatic dance, I walk through the door. I kid you not, in front of me were about 30 people getting loose. Freestyle dancing to the enchanting, but modern, bohemian beats.

When I say free-styling, I’m not talking about white girl basic b* side-stepping. I’m talking flowing arms, jumping around, crawling on the floor, what the eff am I doing here, free-styling.

Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into here? I’m quite used to making an idiot of myself, but this may be pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone a little. Chelsea must have clocked the horror (which I thought I was concealing) on my face.

She assured me, “I promise it doesn’t usually start this full-on. The class will start soon and you can ease into it. Don’t feel compelled to get involved, there’s no judgement here.”

black and white hands dancing in the shadow of soft light

Well I’m here now

The class began with everybody in a circle. The instructor gave a few directions about the movements we should be thinking about. But these are very vague instructions. The bottom line is, freestyle it and own it, let your body flow.

Now as a lover of the dance floor, I figured, ok I got this, and nobody knows me here. I’m in Central America, what difference does it make? As everybody started to move more I thought, well, they are going for it, I might as well get involved.

It’s Saturday night, this is a new alternative to the tequila fuelled booty shaking that I’m used to. Although something tells me that sober me is likely to be a little more coordinated.

dance neon light sign in green on a wooden door.

My new comfort zone

I loved it and if I am being honest, I have even had a couple of at-home ecstatic dance nights of my own. Complete with my good buddies Vino Tinto and Eminem. I don’t think any ecstatic dance instructors or yogis would approve of my choice of music. But you know, I’m freestylin’ (aka winging it).

If you had told me a few years ago that I would be comfortable freestyle dancing in a room full of strangers. I would have laughed, hard. Nah, pal, that’s definitely not for me.

The great thing about travelling is it gives you the opportunity to meet people who see things differently from you. And, if you remain open-minded and willing to take on, (or at least try out) some of the things which make them happy, you never know, you may just discover a side to you that you never thought possible. Find new hobbies, and ideologies, or have a fun new experience.

That’s what I love about travelling. It’s a continuous eye-opening experience. Horizons will be broadened and boundaries will be stretched. The elasticity of my comfort zone gets stretched a little bit more each time.

silhouette of woman dancing under the stars, out of my comfort zone in Costa Rica

10 Simple Ways To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

  1. Take on a new hobby or challenge.
  2. Try out a different cuisine.
  3. Sign up for an online course on something you are interested in learning about.
  4. Go somewhere you’ve never been before.
  5. Make plans to do something that scares you.
  6. Introduce yourself to someone new in your workplace or neighbourhood and listen to their story.
  7. Take a book out of the library and read it cover-to-cover without stopping or skipping around!
  8. Learn a new language, even just enough to say hello in another tongue.
  9. Volunteer your time to help those in need – this might be serving at a soup kitchen, teaching English as a second language, or helping out at a local animal shelter – whatever feels meaningful to you!
  10. Ask yourself questions that push you outside of your comfort zone – such as “What would I do if I had unlimited resources?”

10 Ways To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone While Travelling

  1. Take a trip alone and explore the area without relying on the comfort of a companion.
  2. Stay in a hostel or Airbnb instead of a hotel to meet other travellers from different backgrounds.
  3. Choose an unfamiliar and unknown destination to explore outside your usual comfort zone.
  4. Join a local tour group and learn about their culture and customs, instead of doing just the touristy things you’ve done before.
  5. Switch off electronics and immerse yourself in nature – take some time to observe and appreciate places through all your senses!
  6. Try out some local cuisine, even if it looks strange or intimidating at first glance – you never know what delicious flavours might await!
  7. Make conversation with locals to understand their perspectives on life and culture – this can be very eye-opening!
  8. Go off the beaten path when exploring a city or town – seek out hidden gems that tour books don’t mention!
  9. Participate in adventure activities like bungee jumping, ziplining, or skydiving for thrilling experiences outside your comfort zone.
  10. Take a ‘no plan’ approach when visiting somewhere new – ditch the guidebook and allow yourself to get lost as you wander around!
Palm tree over the beach in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

Why Is Travelling Good For Your Comfort Zone?

Travelling is a great way to get out of your comfort zone because it forces you to interact with unfamiliar environments and people. Seeing the world exposes us to new perspectives, ideas and cultures that can challenge our beliefs and push us outside of our usual habits and routines.

It also allows us to take risks, try new things, and gain confidence in areas we may not have felt comfortable before. Additionally, travelling gives us the opportunity to step into someone else’s shoes, allowing us to appreciate different lifestyles and customs which can help cultivate empathy and understanding.

Out Of My Comfort Zone In Costa Rica

While taking part in the ecstatic dance class was extremely daunting, once I’d loosened up it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and one I’ll never forget. Experiences like these help me keep an open mind to anything new that I may come across on my travels and allow me to partake in things that I may normally pass by.

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