We all start somewhere right? For me, it was through family. More specifically; my father. He was always an outdoor aficionado, and since he liked it, he wanted me to try it out too… rather early in life seeing as I had just turned three! The plan was to paddle a canoe in the archipelago outside Stockholm and sleep on one of the thousands of islands in a tent (a tunnel tent as a matter of fact, but more on tents later…).
Being used to an apartment, and all the securities that come with it, I was thrilled but also scared at the prospect of nights out in the wild, with nothing more than a thin sheet of cloth as a guard between me and the environment, and all wild things that lurk there during the night. Well, at least that is how I as three years old envisioned it, maybe imagination played a part?
“Dad started telling me a goodnight story, which quickly became two, and then three.”
Dad, being Dad, saw my anxiety for the coming ordeal, and saw a solution; he raised the tent in the living room, tied lines to sofas, a TV table and fold-out chairs. The apartment was a pretty small one so the whole tent did not fit. A tunnel tent is generally built with two parts; the inner and outer layers, where you raise the inner first and then cover it with the outer, attach it to the support poles and then fix storm lines and extra anchors. As I said, the room wasn’t big enough to have the whole tent pitched, only the inner was used. We put out our foam mats and sleeping bags and turned lights out and then Dad started telling me a goodnight story, which quickly became two, and then three.
I was scared of sleeping in the tent even if it was just in the living room, so somewhere in the middle of the third or fourth bedtime story, I sat up because I was afraid of falling asleep. Imagination kicked back in and I told dad “This isn’t a tent, it’s a bus. I’m the driver and you’re the passenger” and we played that game until I fell asleep, sitting up, making bus sounds.
That game was repeated a fair few times before we took our tents out of the apartment, but those are for a future post.
Getting out of your comfort zone isn’t always easily, we can mentally add many more obstacles than those that are actually present. New ventures are suddenly so much more daunting and that comfort zone looks mighty comfortable. Even if it’s pretending to be a bus driver, in a tent, in your living room: Find a way to get out of your comfort zone.