February 2016
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What a Difference a Year Makes

It’s been exactly a year since I left home for my first WWOOFing experience. Looking back on all that’s happened would be almost unbelievable to the person I was then. Between then and now I drove from the East Coast to the West Coast and back. I ended up doing this twice more before the end of the year. New places, experiences, and faces filled the year with many firsts and opportunities to learn and grow. Had I not left I would have never known the possibilities that awaited me just beyond my comfort zone.

Being comfortable is a peculiar thing. What that looks and feels like to one person may not look the same to another. Whether you live in a multimillion dollar mansion, a tiny house, or sleep in a pop up tent on the side of the road, we desire comfort in our lives. The interesting part about comfort is that it has the ability to expand. For the person who grows up having never been outside his or her small town, even the big city can seem like an impossible place to find comfort. For the child who is exposed to different people, especially at an early age, will naturally be more accepting as an adult. We are a combination of the total of our experiences and at some point we are the ones who will ultimately make the decisions that lead to new ones.

I fully support stepping out of your comfort zone as often as possible. In fact, I encourage it. What you’ll find won’t always be what you’d expect. Sometimes it will lead to the adventure of a lifetime. Another time it could lead to a bad date you’ll remember for the rest of your life. On either end of the spectrum you’ll learn more about yourself and the people around you. Of course, be reasonable when it comes to any decision that could put you or anyone else in danger. Be attentive to the kinds of new people you meet as not everyone will have the best intentions. But don’t let this discourage you! For all the crazy things you hear about in the world, there are plenty of good things too. Some of the people I’ve met with the wildest stories from the other side of the world generally agree that human nature is inherently good. They’ll usually tell you to be smart when traveling anywhere and to be more cautious when in specific places. Trust your instincts and do what feels right.

I believe in the law of attraction. This is defined as “the name given to the maxim ‘like attracts like’ which in New Thought philosophy is used to sum up the idea that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life.” I see this belief more in terms of perspective than as a rule. For example, just because you may be upset doesn’t automatically mean everyone around you will feel the same way. On the other hand, a simple smile to a stranger could change that person’s entire day. It’s not about setting expectations but when we choose to feel positivity and goodness, that’s what we’ll get more of return. I say this knowing you shouldn’t take it as truth until you’ve actively tried it to see for yourself. It’s not always easy and it’s surely more difficult when hard times come.

Speaking mainly from personal experience and some of that which has been shared with me, I can only persuade you to action when it comes to making a change. I’m not telling you to quit your comfortable job and drive over three thousand miles to live on a farm where showering and going to the bathroom happen outside more than inside or chopping wood is essential if you’d like to avoid freezing at night. You should want to make the change. You should want to experience something new and exciting before you take the leap into the unknown. It’s not for everyone but if you’re thinking about it, it might be just what you need. I know it was for me. I couldn’t be more thankful for the decision that I made and everything that has happened in the last year. It’s only left me craving more.

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