Comfort Zone

A new shop opened in our hood this week. For years the only retail we could walk to was a bead shop, a wig salon, and cafes emitting the aroma of burnt coffee. The opening was busy. Queues were mulling outside the door like a red carpet event. My husband immediately elected to turn around, save the visit for a quiet day. I’ve warned him: when travelling Europe in summer expect crowds. You see pavements dense with people moving at the pace of a garden snail are outside of his comfort zone. We’re about to realise that travel is about getting outside your comfort zone.

In planning this trip I’ve realised I have my comfort zone too. I’ve been reading Gretchen Rubin’s latest book on habits and have discovered that I’m a person that works best with a recurring routine. I also like my “stuff” around me.

When discussing departure dates I explained how much there would be to do. “keep it down to three bags” he said, “throw it all together and be off”. Packing for 6 months of different climates, tossing it all together and hoping for the best at the other end, literally filled me with panic. I need time to ponder what dress will navigate different events, make sure I pack those organic – no nasty – NZ made cosmetics Boots couldn’t possibly supply, and abbreviate 6 months of my life into 4 pairs of shoes. That’s before I even consider packing for the children…will one toy really cover all that time or will a device take over our traditional idea of play?

I’ve resolved to make a list, think about the occasions where I’ll need that perfect dress, and work out where I can buy new shoes in Europe. I’m going to teach the kids how to play card games and get them excited about making diaries and scrapbooks – surely a perfect way to play from the back seat of a campervan and a humble companion to a family ipad. The cosmetics? Well perhaps once they run out I’ll find an eco-alternative in the UK. Afterall it’s time I lived outside my comfort zone.

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