The Comfort of Being Uncomfortable

Heather Markel, Writer, Speaker, Photographer, Traveler, Business Strategist

9  January 2019

The truth about doing something that scares you.

I was talking to a lovely young man about some challenges he’s having in his relationship. He mentioned that a big reason he’s not taking any action is that he’s comfortable and we both sympathized at how much easier it is to stay comfortable than it is to shake things up and take action leading to change leading to something that we assume will be UNcomfortable.

Ziplining in Costa Rica. That was scary.

That got me thinking. I knew for a long time that I was unhappy in my marriage and that I wanted to leave, but it took me ages to divorce because I got comfortable being unhappy. Leaving for an unknown single life that might be worse seemed scarier than staying in a relationship where I knew I would be unhappy. I knew for a long time I wanted to travel the world full time, but I got comfortable with a reliable paycheck and health benefits and the ability to buy lots of stuff. So, the uncertainty of  knowing where money would come from made the risk of jumping ship too uncomfortable.

“By leaving pieces of my life where I was unhappy I had a very unexpected epiphany.”

When I decided to divorce and eventually leave my job, both things required me to give up what was comfortable in exchange for the unknown. That was  scary at the time. Staying stuck in the comfort of certainty (even when that means being unhappy) is always easier. I think, as humans, we naturally want to be comfortable and feel things are stable. By leaving pieces of my life where I was unhappy I had a very unexpected epiphany.

Kelpies in Scotland – rumor has it they ate children, pretty scary.

Photograph by Heather Markel

In both of my choices to taket big, bold, scary action everything changed. The stability and comfort I had gotten used to disappeared. Where my life had felt stagnant and unmoving, it suddenly felt fast and full of forward direction. But after all that movement I landed someplace new. Things stabilized. Even though I’m traveling the world now and not sure when I’ll stop, what awaits me and nothing is 100% reliable, I’ve become comfortable with this lifestyle.

What I’m learning is that the fear of being uncomfortable doesn’t make sense. The only discomfort comes in the short term and most of it is nothing like the horrific scenarios that play in our minds about taking the action that seems so big a risk. We will always adapt and create another zone of comfort. Ideally, that new comfort zone is now wrapped around people and circumtances that bring out your best and make you happy. If not, then when you decide the changes you want to make and the risks you want to take, you can take comfort that a little discomfort will lead you to a better comfort zone! 😉

Learn about Heather and what set her on her world journey. She also explains why this life is not just for Millenials, it’s for anyone that wants to create a life around what they love most in life. 

Listen to an episode of the video interview series that will inspire you to follow your heart. Whether you want to travel full time or have another calling, this series is for you.

See the amazing people I’ve been meeting on my travels and the fun stories that go along with the meetings.

Check out my travel photos from around the world to see the world from wherever you are.

If you’ve been thinking that there’s got to be  more to life than work, or, you’ve lost your job, and wonder whether now is the time to do something you’re more excited about, this quiz will help you. Answer a few questions and get a free guide to help you know the areas you need to work on, followed up with inspirational and helpful tips to put your dreams into action.

Traveling the world full-time may sound glamorous and exhilirating. (In many ways, it is!) But, it’s not full-time fun. Before you decide to go, take this quiz to make sure you’re ready, and, if not, find out how to bridge the gaps.

This fun quiz helps you understand what your travel personality is, and how to make sure you indulge it when planning your next trip to maximize your enjoyment!

This one is pure fun – test your transcontinental travel trivia knowledge. Hit the button below if you dare take the quiz and see your score! 

If you enjoyed the first quiz, see how you do on the second one! More fun, more tricks, Click the button below to test your knowledge!

If you want to see every post I’ve written, starting with the most recent, this is the place to start!

In 2020, I was traveling in New Zealand as the coronavirus pandemic brewed, and, got stuck there. If you want to read about what this time was like and traveling during this time, check out this page.

Many of my blog posts are about things I’ve discovered about myself or about being, while I’ve traveled. If you’d like to focus on posts that only have self-discovery themes, click the button below.

I’ve been traveling the globe solo, and many of my posts share thoughts and resources specifically for other solo travelers. If you’re a fellow solo traveler, or you’re thinking about solo travel, this is a collection you will find of interest.

Sometimes I write posts where I give insider information on certain cities I’ve visited, which may be more along the lines of places to go, how to save money, etc. If that’s your main interest, check out this compilation of posts.

At the heart of international travel is learning about the many different cultures and ways of being around the world. The posts compiled on this page speak, specifically, about the cultural observations I’ve had.

If you’re looking to read blog posts about specific destinations, click the country of your interest below to go to it’s blog page and get country-specific reviews and thoughts.






Costa Rica


New Zealand








Want more in-depth information about travel? Trying to figure out how to afford full-time travel (or, doing what you want to do, full-time)? Check out these items!

Looking for a photo or a travel-related item to reconnect with the spirit of travel? Check out this page to see some of my photos and where you can find them as prints and various photo-gifts..

Trying to create a more fulfilling life? Want help with planning out how to make your mark in the world? Check out this page to see how Heather can help you!

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