One of my personal goals during this adventure is to step out of my comfort zone. It's also one of my worst fears. I was always scared of the unknown and I took the habit to barely leave room for unexpected things. That's why I’ve liked to organize and fill up my days so far to be as productive as possible. The fear of boredom plays certainly a role in the envy of controlling everything. But wanting to decide and to plan everything in advance is impossible and very frustrating in this kind of trip because things rarely happen the way we expected it.
"I took the habit to barely leave room for unexpected things."
When I started this trip I knew I would have to step out of my comfort zone. But I did not realize how hard it would be. Each day is really different on the road so the routine does not really exist. Some vanlife habits are starting to appear of course. Almost every morning we cook breakfast while drinking our coffee and every week we know that we have to fill up our fridge (which looks like a Tetris game). But since our departure, even if we have a general idea of our itinerary, each step of our trip is guided by our envies, the weather and the encounters that we make. The mishap which I was so afraid of before leaving is now part of my day-to-day life.
Curiosity helps me to get out gradually of my protective bubble that I used to surround myself with even if I always asked myself first “if that happens, what do we do?”. I am usually picturing the worst scenarios possible. And that is as fascinating as intriguing because these thoughts are never beneficial. I am trying to get rid off these negative thoughts whenever a complicated situation comes up but it takes time. I am starting to understand that leaving the space to fate and improvisation is bound to happen to enjoy this way of living. This adventure can stop anytime and being aware of that allows you to enjoy every moment.
Stepping out of my comfort zone is something that I experiment daily. Each day is about challenges and potential risks. But I like to keep in mind that there is always something to learn in every situation. Any complicated time is the opportunity to grow up and to progress. However I am asking myself if in certain circumstances you should surpass yourself or if it's better to know and to define your limits.
"This adventure can stop anytime and being aware of that allows you to enjoy every moment."
About my limits, I overstepped them in the Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba. It’s known to be the place to observe wild bisons in Canada so Sam and I took our chance. Very early in the morning we entered the bisons enclosure (which determines the area where you can see the animals from your vehicle without any fences). Passionate about wildlife for a long time Sam was ready to immortalize the encounter with his photography gear and I was pretty excited to see bisons for the first time. We were driving for a few minutes when we saw them in the middle of a narrow and one-way road at 6 in the morning, alone and without any service.
"Curiosity helps me to get out gradually of my protective bubble that I used to surround myself with."
I found them huge right away and we slowed down a bit before to keep driving towards the herd. I thought they would be scared and that they would go away. Sam turned off the engine to not scare them and to film them from closer. At that precise moment three or four bisons started to charge us. While we were looking at those massive animals full of muscles and testosterones Sam started to honk at them and they finally changed direction just in front of our vehicle.
I started to feel really unsafe. I didn't know anything about bisons if they could be aggressive or not. The problem was that Sam found this situation really exciting and fascinating so he was concentrated on his shooting of these North American prairies lords. And on the other side I was picturing the worst and looking at these aggressive beats was not fascinating at all. I was terrified. I went to the rear seats and waited for never-ending minutes before losing my mind and begging Sam to leave this road. He understood then that I was scared and he waited for the bisons to clear the road to finally get out of the enclosure.I was terrified. I went to the rear seats and waited for never-ending minutes before losing my mind and begging Sam to leave this road.
"I was terrified. I went to the rear seats and waited for never-ending minutes before losing my mind and begging Sam to leave this road.
Were the bisons really charging us or were we on their way? Did they have any bad intentions towards us? I still don't have the answer to these questions and I still don't know more about bisons behavior. They never touched or even brushed our van but I had the impression we were not welcome at all. It might seem hard to understand from the outside but it took me some time to get over it. I felt really stressed out and insecure for the first time.
Once I was on my feet again Sam and I discussed about it for a long time and I understood that I went too far. Wildlife is maybe really fascinating for some people but I personally don't feel any excitement when I see it from that close. I don't regret this encounter because I can draw a conclusion but I would not like to live it again for anything in the world.
So I think it's a good thing to step out of your comfort zone. But I also think it’s really important to listen to yourselves and to not cross the limits you settled.