It was an early morning, around 3:30 a.m. when my alarm woke me up. That day was the day I would be traveling to Washington, D.C. I was excited to go to a new place and nervous about missing my flight. Around 5 a.m., My friend dropped me off at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. At that moment, the anxiety of being alone started to set in. It was my first time flying out of state by myself. I wasn’t sure what to anticipate; I felt mixed emotions, including fear, uncertainty, and excitement, and I was out of my comfort zone.
Luckily, I spoke to my roommate from Texas, who helped calm me down. After our conversation, I felt exhausted and could sleep during the entire flight to Washington, D.C. As I stepped off the plane and headed to the metro station, I felt the weight of being alone and a sense of independence.
During my trip to D. C., I had the opportunity to travel to an unfamiliar place and interact with new people, all while discovering something fresh. It was a chance to escape from my ordinary life and embrace the unknown. From talking to a stranger at the metro station and observing diversity in the city to meeting new people for the first time, this experience opened a unique perspective on the United States.
One moment during the trip that pushed me outside my comfort zone occurred during a meeting at the State Department of Transportation. I was too nervous in previous sessions to talk or ask questions, but during the presentation, The speakers asked students if they had any questions, and I raised my hand. I asked, “How can Gen Z better public transportation in the United States?” After I put myself out there and asked a question, this helped me boost my confidence level, and I was able to make friends with my fellow group members. After this moment, I started to love this trip as I was able to have a deeper connection with other members. I realized this was the perfect time to come out of my comfort zone, gain new experiences, and enjoy the trip to the fullest.
Another instance of me stepping outside my comfort zone came when we had an opportunity to try new foods. I tried Filipino, Georgian, and Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cuisines. The most interesting food was Georgian, as this was the first time I had heard of or tried this kind of food before the trip. One of the most delicious Georgian dishes was the eggplant salad and Georgian wine, which I didn’t like. One of the cuisines familiar to me in flavor was Filipino.
Before I visited Washington D.C., I feared initiating new conversations, meeting new people, and forming new connections; however, during this trip, everyone was welcoming, kind, and intelligent, which allowed me to step out of my comfort zone. As a result, I have gained a newfound openness to the unfamiliar and a fresh perspective on the world.
In the future, I will continue to embrace the unknown and be confident in my ability to grow and learn from new experiences.