10 Months & 36 Things I’ve Done Outside of My Comfort Zone

Wow. 10 months. Can’t even believe it’s been that long already.

I remember this time last year, I was still working and living my corporate/salary lifestyle, but secretly preparing to leave it behind for my backpack and a budget. I remember thinking I ‘knew’ what type of challenges I would face ahead, but I didn’t really know shit!

These past 10 months of my life, have been the most amazing and epic months of my life thus far.

I’ve sat back these past few days, while being here in Sydney Australia, and reflected on where I stand today and how far I’ve come. The challenges, loneliness, adventure, laughter, tears, and happiness I’ve felt.

(As I am headed home (NYC) for Christmas in just a few hours.)

I went back and read one of the very first post I published here: Why I Left Home And My Comfort Zone. I smiled while rereading it, because I really had no idea what was to come.

Does anyone ever do that? Go back and actually reflect on where you stand today to where you stood back then?

Since then I’ve: (and after writing that post)

  1. Launched my Travel Blog
  2. Paraglided off the Swiss Alps for my 26th Birthday
  3. I walked 220 miles across Spain on El Camino de Santiago
  4. I’ve challenged my mental and physical limits
  5. I’ve doubted myself 100000000 times
  6. Received an offer to work in Portugal for the Summer
  7. Got my certification to teach English in another country and taught in Spain
  8. Came to terms with the fact that I didn’t want to do things the way I was ‘suppose to’ do them. I was going to do it my way.
  9. Spent the summer working my ASS OFF.
  10. Traveled to SE Asia Solo for 2 months
  11. Learned to ride a motorbike in Chiang Mai (and almost died)
  12. Spent a day with Elephants
  13. Got lost in Bangkok and relied on a stranger to help me find my way (who didn’t speak english)
  14. Ate street food from: Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia
  15. Made friends with complete strangers (and learned to trust them)
  16. Stayed in more hostels than I wanted to!
  17. Learned the true meeting of the universal language: a smile
  18. Watched Sunrises in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia
  19. Packed a 75L backpack with clothes/ water filters (to distribute to villages I travel to in countries that needed clean water)
  20. Slept on an over night train traveling to the north of Thailand w/ no air-con and 30 people in a room.
  21. Learned that I am really patient
  22. Made a difference in someones day
  23. Learned that I am not a diva
  24. Learned the REAL value of a dollar
  25. Met my 20-year-old self.
  26. I surfed all over Bali and caught my first BIG wave (6 footer)- got my scares to prove it!
  27. Been robbed
  28. Learned to be more discipline
  29. How valuable WIFI is and how shitty it is that we take it for granted!
  30. I’ve kept my word
  31. Had a melt down/ culture shock
  32. Made friends I can call family in a new country- I had never been to
  33. Got my dream job
  35. Found a flat I can call ‘home’.
  36. I’ve learned to pay it forward more often than not.

I could probably keep going, but that will do for now. I find it so hard to say what I am about to say. Mostly, because I am not a bragger and I appreciate it ALL! Every let down and challenge I’ve faced, but I want to say: I am proud of myself.

I’d be lying if I said this was easy. It wasn’t. In fact, I’ve had many nights where I’ve questioned my every move. To realize one thing and one thing only. I am happy! I’ve done what I said I was going to do and here I am.

I can’t tell you that 2016 will be this epic year, because I really have no clue whats going to happen, where I will be traveling to,etc. I can say that 2015 has been a good year and I am grateful.

I challenge anyone who reads this post to question where they stand today.

Are you happy? Are you proud of yourself? Do you remember where you stood a year ago today and has anything changed?

There is no greater feeling then knowing you’ve done what you’ve wanted/love to do and you might have made a difference in someone else life.

Why is it that most of us (not all of us) live our lives rushing through it. Whats the damn point of rushing! Eventually we all get to the end, we just get there differently. Slow down! Enjoy it. Promise it’s all worth it.

When I set out to Europe 10 months ago, I honestly didn’t think I would move to Australia by December of this year. I thought about it, but I didn’t think I would actually do it. Here I am.

The post I posted months ago (Why I Left Home and My Comfort Zone) has nothing on what I’ve done thus far. I’ve completely ran from my comfort zone! I did say one thing at the end of the post that has still stuck with me:

“And as a good friend of mine said before I left, “Jen, I admire the fact that you aren’t willing to take the ‘what if’ to the grave.”  “

And that my friends, is what I’ve done thus far.

Shark Diving in Sydney, Australia







  1. GERALDINE December 15, 2015 at 2:47 pm


  2. Alexandra vega December 16, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    This is beyond the best inspiring story I read ever I wish I could go back in time and did the things I wanted to do but became a mother at a young age I’ve been through so much too tell you the truth I don’t know how I’m on my feet and my heart is completely intact maybe because of my kids anyhow I hope my boys have this mindset and go for what makes them entirely happy keep your dreams alive I’m sure you’ve made a big impact on others who read this as well .

      THE SOCIAL GIRL TRAVELER December 18, 2015 at 7:12 pm


      Thank you so much for your kind words. I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason! I am sure your boys are beyond proud to have a month like you. We lead different paths, but both hard. Although I’d say the path of a mother is 10X harder/rewarding than any other job. Thank you for the support I really appreciate it. It makes me happy to know, I might have brought a small smile to your face. Happy holidays girl! x

  3. Valerie December 17, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Girl, you’re a star — I’m so proud of you! I’m going to email you RIGHT NOW to hear these stories first hand 🙂 Miss you!!

  4. Kristina Valdivia Malik December 21, 2015 at 1:14 am

    Hey girly,

    I just read this article and I am completely shocked speechless! Wow, everything you have done and written about has been incredible. I admire you and hope when I get healthy again I can do the things I’ve been wanting to do ever since I was in a horrible accident and haven’t been able to do much these days.
    What is your dream job in Australia? I have actually been trying to find doctors who are doing procedures on chronic pain patients to see if I qualify for anything because I want to get better and nothing here in the states are working for me so if you hear anything for chronic pain there please let me know!
    Good luck and keep up the good work and writing all about it! Xox

      THE SOCIAL GIRL TRAVELER December 21, 2015 at 2:09 am

      Kristina! So glad you enjoyed it and happy to hear from you. So sorry about your accident! When did this happen. Mom and I didn’t know anything. I’m so sorry to hear about it but I’m glad your alive and still pushing through. If I do hear anything I’ll shoot you a message. All the best chica and send my regards to the family. ☺️? oh! And merry Christmas!

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