Getting out of my comfort zone: figuratively and literally

Hello, dear blog readers! It’s been a while, but I hope this post can begin to make up for it.

Lately I’ve been dealing with PTSD from a car accident, which just added to my already difficult struggle with anxiety and depression. It got so bad that I found myself actually afraid to leave my house. I had nightmares that brought up things I haven’t worried about in a year and I’ll just say that it was NOT fun.

So! What about me getting out of my comfort zone? Well, I did a thing that I have never done before in my LIFE. I went on a road trip to a place I’ve never been with people I didn’t know very well.

You see, I have this really cool coworker named Scott Daly who decided on a whim to go pick up Shia Lebeouf during Shia’s #TAKEMEANYWHERE campaign. After his experience with driving across the country with a friend and three strangers, Scott decided to create a vlog and go on a road trip every weekend with people he didn’t know very well. This weekend was week 3 and it so happened that I could go. We left Friday evening after work and got back on Sunday morning at around 5am after driving all night long. Besides Scott and myself, we also had Hank (the friend and coworker that went on the Shia trip), and Mo (yet another coworker, and a former T.A. of mine!).

With four distinct personalities and world views, we set off to the exotic Steamboat Springs, CO! A mere 6 or so hours away from Provo, yet worlds away from our Utah Valley bubble.

There were some pretty cool things that happened- like meeting a dinosaur, catching Pokemon, napping in a library, and seeing a camel- and some fairly disappointing things- like hot air balloons not taking off, mosquito bites, and driving all night long- that made this trip an adventure I will certainly never forget.

HOWEVER: Those may have been some of the specifics, but those aren’t the things I really took away from this trip.

I bonded with three people so different from me, or so I thought. Something happens when you spend 48+ hours with the same people. You see them for who they really are. Your opinions and perceptions of the type of people they are change as you learn more about them, their hopes, dreams, and even how they play Mad Libs.

How I saw them changed and it changed me. *Insert “Because I Knew You” song from Wicked*

The moment that hit me in the gut and really brought the reason why I needed to go on this trip was in a brief moment when I was alone, left to watch one camera while Mo and Hank were playing in the water and Scott was off taking close-up shots of the balloons. I had to take my phone out and write how I felt down, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to capture that moment in words after the fact.

Here’s what I wrote, with tears escaping my eyes as I pondered my existence:

“There’s something so serene about being slightly close to a large crowd outdoors. Like, being near enough to observe but not so close that anxiety can creep in. Being in nature reminds me that this entire world was created for us. For God’s children. Being in nature puts my life back into perspective. There’s so much more ahead of me than what I can see. The beauty of it is that God knows and he is leading me there. My journey really has just begun and for the first time since I started even thinking about college, I am excited for what comes after school. I may not know where I’ll be or who I’ll be with, but I do know that I will grow in unprecedented ways. There is more to life than college and sometimes it takes going to a new place to really appreciate that. I don’t think that any of us can truly understand what it means to be human until we appreciate what goes on outside of us. It’s moments like these that make life worth it.

Forget about anxiety and fear and depression. This. This is life. And it’s worth living. Every. Single. Second.”

About that time was when Scott came back and I wasn’t alone with my thoughts any more. I don’t know if he noticed that I was crying, but it was a great end to my little epiphany moment.

I have to admit that I was sad when we got back home and the trip was over. However, it is kinda great that I still get to see Scott, Mo, and Hank on a near daily basis at work.

I needed this trip to touch a part of my soul that I haven’t felt in who-knows how long. By getting away from my daily life, I was able to see my daily life’s purpose more clearly.

I’m done letting my anxiety and depression hold me back. I’m even finished with being ashamed about the extra weight I have on my body. This is one moment in my life. One fleeting moment that I will never get back, so I’m going to enjoy my “before” time. I want to live in the moment.

This road trip changed me. I don’t know if I can say the same for the others that I was with, or if anyone had similar life-focusing experiences on the other road trips with Scott, but I hope they at least think about life a little differently after their trips.

I am certainly grateful that the people I get to work with every day are pretty dang dino amazing.

If you want to watch the vlog from the trip I was on (YOU KNOW YOU DO), here’s the video! Feel free to check out Scott’s channel for his other road trips, including the documentary he made about his trip with Shia.

And if you want to go on one of these road trips with Scott, check out his Facebook group!

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