"I surrender!"
“I surrender!”

I don’t necessarily agree that “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” I’m a fan of the comfort zone. I think there’s something to be said for finding value in the familiar and not always thinking that happiness is “out there,” somewhere, wherever.

(I realize this makes me uncool.)

That said, it looks like 2015 will be a year I’ll have to push myself out there and take some chances.

Case in point: this butanding (whale shark) encounter. I’m utterly useless in water (I’m afraid to even snorkel — the thought of accidentally breathing in water instead of air just fills me with panic) and the sea off the coast of Oslob, while not that deep, is already too deep for me. But the boatman suggested I take off my life jacket so I can get level with the whale shark and I thought…what the heck, surely they won’t let me drown. And that photo above happened.

I’d like to say that it was an out-of-this-world experience, that my heart was filled with awe and delight and an awareness of how I am such a small creature in such a vast and wonderful universe, but the [embarrassing] truth is I was much more aware of being such a poor swimmer in such a deep sea. Nonetheless, I’m glad I did it and I’m — not necessarily looking forward, but — steeling myself for a few more out-of-my-comfort-zone moments this year, and I think by this time next year I will also be saying “I’m glad I did it.”

Here’s to more adventures and memorable experiences for all of us this year!

*
Out of the Comfort Zone” was created by LSS for travel site Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved.

30 Responses

      1. Lots of snorkelling, scuba only twice. Didn’t take to all the gear hanging off me. Most exciting thing I swum with was octopus and cuttlefish, and far, far too many jellyfish! I would have soiled my wetsuit if I’d seen anything a fraction of the size of this! Knowing it’s a filter feeder doesn’t ease the fear of its sheer size! I once saw a sea snake while snorkelling in Barbados and couldn’t get out of the sea fast enough!

      2. I’d panic over a sea snake for sure! This whale shark is actually one of the smaller ones in the area, I think, I’ve seen photos of people swimming with much bigger ones, but they’re gentle creatures and rather harmless. Thank God because I accidentally kicked this one on the fin!

  1. OMG .. that’s you!!! I’m terrified of the water too … had a bad experience once and had to be rescued and now my lungs feel like they are bursting if I get into a shallow pool.
    Am really happy you conquered your fear even for a moment. Way to go .. and wish you many more such experiences ‘out of your comfort zone’!!!

    1. Happy new year! Have you been to Oslob? Apparently there were concerns that the whale sharks might become dependent on the fishermen feeding them and forget how to feed themselves, so now they halt whale shark watching at 11 AM to encourage the whale sharks to find food for themselves the rest of the day. I don’t know if it’s enough — it seems to be tricky finding a good balance.

  2. I actually attended a conference on ecotourism in Cebu and the main speaker was pretty harsh against Oslob for the reasons you are mentioning, and he also showed us pictures of sharks been hurt by boats that are getting far too closed to them. Will try Aloguisan this year. have you already been there?

    1. That’s true. And though they are taking precautions like asking tourists to stay several meters away from the sharks, the sharks themselves swim up close to get shrimp. I was just surfacing for air and I accidentally touched one on the tail, and one time I think I stepped on the fin too. It sounds pretty convenient, me having second thoughts after having actually done the whole thing, but I realized from that experience that we could try not to harm the whale sharks and still cause damage accidentally.

      I’ve been wanting to go to Aloguinsan too! A friend of mine was there recently and he said it was beautiful.

  3. I really like the way you maneuver things in your life. How do you manage everything..like traveling and going on your common routine. Sorting out the expenses. I would love to learn this kinda living..

    1. Happy new year! And thanks. 🙂

      Well, the whale sharks are actually just a few hours away by bus from where I live, so that didn’t take too much time or money.

      I have a lot of friends who go on trips, like, every other weekend, but I don’t. I stay home and save my money so I can “splurge” on big trips.

      I’ve written a few expense-related articles, in case you’re interested:

      https://smalltowngirlsmidnighttrains.com/2014/04/11/the-secret-to-creating-a-healthy-travel-fund/

      https://smalltowngirlsmidnighttrains.com/2014/04/13/travel-fund-101/

      https://smalltowngirlsmidnighttrains.com/2014/04/16/travel-fund-102-the-golden-rule/

      1. Oh hey, happy new year!

        Ok! thanks alot for the info, yes i will go through that. It’s a wonderful article though. Keep up the good work. Cheers ! 😀

  4. I know these sharks are pretty much innocuous, fish version of the mammals we call whales but, still, I wouldn’t have jumped in the water anywhere it. Without a nuclear-powered submarine, a scuba-diving suit and a battery of missiles, that is.

  5. I am also useless in waters hahaha thats why i am not really a fan of beaches! I mean i appreciate the view but i will always be that one person who takes the picture while everyone is taking a plunge. Lol! To a bolder 2015! Cheers!

    1. Glad to know I’m not the only one! I like beaches too but I’m not one of those people who start feeling sick when they haven’t been to the beach for a while. And I like the water up to maybe shoulder level but when it reaches my neck, ayoko na! Hehe. Medyo sayang lang kasi ang daming dive/snorkeling spots dito sa Pilipinas.

      1. Haha true! Ung tipong pag umaabot na sa leeg e babalik na ako agad agad :)) its fun if we go in big groups but if it will be a me-time in paradise ang peg.. Nah! I will pass haha

  6. Looking forward to overcoming my fear of the water as well this year! Haha cheers! Btw you live in Cebu? I’m moving there for work. Definitely exploring the islands, hope to meet you in my travels! Love your blog. 🙂

  7. this is absolutely amazing… how did you decie on this? it’s great you have challenged yourself in this way 🙂

    I have learnt to push myself to step out of the comfort zone, since like you I like it IN the comfort zone better… so it took a little self-discipline for me, but it surely pays off… gives confidence… and stories to tell to friends lol 🙂

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