Why You Should Travel Outside of Your Comfort Zone

“Don’t go there,” the know-it-all, stay-at-home finger wagger says of many a distant place. I have heard it my whole traveling life, and in almost every case it was bad advice. In my experience these maligned countries are often the most fulfilling.

– Paul Theroux, from Why We Travel in the New York Times

Life is defined by the experiences we have — pleasant, unpleasant, thrilling, dangerous, or calm. Even disastrous experiences, as Theroux notes, are “an enrichment, even a blessing, one of the life-altering trophies of the road.” These are the rewards we get for not staying at home and not imagining what we can experience the world through websites, videos, and cable news. Life is about being there, doing things, and living the experiences. Hopefully many more are wonderful than calamitous, but none of them can be had without leaving the couch and being there firsthand.

Where have you been during treacherous times? The Caribbean after a hurricane? The Balkans after the wars of the 1990s? New Zealand before the earthquake? Indonesia after the tsunami? Or, where have you traveled that most would consider dangerous? Somewhere like North Korea or Afghanistan? Let us know in the comments.