Girls Unpack Their Best Advice About Traveling Outside of Your Comfort Zone
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Girls Unpack Their Best Advice About Traveling Outside of Your Comfort Zone

The following quotes from Rustic Pathways alumni appeared in the Jan. 18 edition of Clover Letter. If you’re not familiar with Clover Letter, it’s a daily dose of perfection designed for the #girlbosses of the world and delivered right to your inbox. Check it out! 


Traveling to a new place is always a little uncomfortable—but it’s even more so when you’re on your own or with people you don’t know well. Get some tips from girls who’ve been there below (then why not break outside of your own comfort zone by entering to win a free trip to the DR?).

 “I went to Kentucky over the summer with no one I knew for a volunteer trip. My best advice (as someone with anxiety) is to find someone who you like in the group and stick with them. Also, breathe. You’ll be OK.” —Lilli, 15

“Keep an open mind! Sometimes I’ve started off on big amazing trips feeling really grumpy. But the best way for me to fight that is by doing things and enjoying everything new around me. The best memories I have are the ones where I tried something different, even if it was scary. Anytime you travel you’re getting out of your comfort zone in some way; try to embrace it.” —Samantha, 17

“I went to Australia for three weeks with a group of people I didn’t know. It was really scary, and due to social anxiety, I had trouble being my normal, talkative self. I ended up becoming friends with a girl just like me, who’s awkward at first but loud and bright after you crack the shell. I suggest giving yourself time and pacing yourself throughout the trip. Don’t change to try and fit in with those around you—as long as you’re confident and trying your hardest to accustom yourself to your surroundings, you’ll be fine.” —Antonia, 16

“I know from past trips I’ve taken that it can be terrifying, but it’s important to follow your gut. Only by doing things we never saw ourselves trying can we have a fuller sense of self-identity. That being said, I think it’s important to not feel pressured to participate in anything that makes you uncomfortable.” —Soumya, 15

“When I first decided I wanted to do a service trip abroad I was really nervous. We have so many fears that make us believe we won’t make any friends or that nobody will like us. Luckily, the worries don’t last long. During my travels, there was a shift when I realized that I was actually being my most authentic self. Every year I travel abroad on group trips to meet new people, see new places, and to have more experiences that will remind me who I am, what makes me happy, and to remind me how to be myself.” —Victoria, 18

“Travel has taught me the importance of loving everyone from all walks of life and has shown me the shared humanity between people from all corners of the world. The act of packing my bags and getting on an airplane continues to open my mind and heart to new things. I always come home wiser and happier than I was before.” —Nicole, 18

“I wasn’t sure that I wanted to travel abroad, especially with a bunch of people that I had never met before, but I mustered up the courage and never looked back. I came back a different person. I still go to the same school, sit at the same table at lunch, and do the same thing basically every weekend, but through travel I learned to pay attention to the little things in life—an education, a roof over my head, heat in the winter. Travel put everything into perspective for me.” —Rachel, 16


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About the Author

Elizabeth Cortese

Social Media and Influencer Marketing Manager

Liz first developed a passion for travel while summiting Mount Kilimanjaro as a Rustic student. This taught her at an early age the importance of experiential education for students around the world. She has since graduated with a bachelor’s in marketing communications from Emerson College in Boston. When Liz is not hopping from restaurant to restaurant in San Francisco or buried in a New York Times bestseller, she can be found packing her bags to spend time with family and friends.