If your idea of travel is spending all day in a luxury hotel, lounging around on a king-size bed, and sipping cocktails by the pool, you might as well stay home.
Traveling, whether it’s with family or for work, is a great opportunity to step out of your comfort zone. Both the journey and destination provide chances to challenge yourself and experience something completely new.
When I took my friends and family to Japan, we made sure to immerse ourselves … under an ice-cold waterfall. It was a moment that tested me mentally and physically, and it’s one I’ll never forget.
Travel is a gift that should never be squandered. When you push yourself to try new things, you become a better version of yourself. Do these five uncomfortable things next time you hit the road.
1) Do burpees before boarding
The airport is a wasteland of fast food and overpriced faux-luxury goods. Rather than thumbing through trashy magazines or saddling up at a bar, use the time and space that’s readily available to you. This is when you can drop and do some burpees or carry around a 44-pound kettlebell.
If the other passengers give you weird looks, you’re doing it right. Being healthy should never be embarrassing. If burpees are too intense (or your kettlebell gets confiscated by security), use the time to power walk. Or pack some resistance bands in your carry-on and put them to good use.
2) Tackle the local terrain
While it’s fine to hit the hotel gym, your travel training plan should take you outside. If you’re in the mountains, hike a challenging path. Or try your hand at rock climbing. If you’re near a beach, jump into the water or onto a surfboard. Traveling to a city? Find a set of stairs and get at them.
Wherever you are, get in an early-morning workout (don’t you dare hit snooze) that allows you to experience your surroundings and pushes you to do something you couldn’t—or wouldn’t—do back home.
3) Be present
If you’re traveling for leisure, shut off your damn phone. You don’t need to check your email. You don’t have to comment on Facebook posts. Don’t waste a minute framing or filtering Instagram photos.
Whatever you’re mindlessly flipping through won’t compare to watching a breathtaking sunrise or taking your kids on an unforgettable adventure.
I’m a firm believer that you should be present wherever you are. Phones are the ultimate distraction, so shut them off. Or better yet, if you’re brave enough, don’t pack them at all.
4) Try something that scares you
Why go to new places if you’re going to do the same exact things you do at home? Travel isn’t about outlet shopping or eating at chain restaurants. Drum up the courage and try something that terrifies you.
Afraid of heights? Book that hang gliding adventure or go bungee jumping. Scared of sharks? Sign up for scuba lessons. Does eating oysters freak you out? Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and shovel them in.
Even if it’s not your thing—especially if it’s not your thing—do it. I believe that life without change is death. Change your routine and your expectations. It’s the only way to live.
5) Talk to strangers
Engage your seatmate on the plane in conversation. Chat up the wait staff at restaurants. Talk to every local that you can. Why? Because these are people with different stories and worldviews and, by talking to them, you can learn something critical about life.
These interpersonal conversations and connections will open your eyes, teach you about a new culture, and challenge you in a way you didn’t think possible. Trust me, what you take home will be far bigger and better than any airport souvenir.
If you don’t think these things work—think again. I’ve found myself doing burpees in airports all over the world, carrying Kettlebells, and talking to strangers. Getting out of my comfort zone while traveling has led to meeting incredible people, staying fit, and even beating jet lag. Try it for yourself and see what happens.