Expanding Your Borders

There are many borders to cross as I fly out to Delhi, India, this weekend: The Atlantic Ocean (a natural border), twelve time zones (temporal borders) and airport security checkpoints (safety borders). But the border that has caused me to reflect the most is the one around my comfort zone.

It makes me wonder, what exactly are my personal, emotional, psychological borders?

I’m excited for the journey, especially meeting new, enthusiastic people to learn and share ideas and experiences with as well as build bonds of friendship and understanding. But as I pack outlet adaptors and precautionary medications, I realize spending almost a month in a place halfway around the world away from my family and home is making me a little anxious.

What I know for sure is we don’t learn and grow unless we push ourselves. Arthur C. Clarke said that the only way to define your limits is by going beyond them. Necessity is the mother of invention, so how can you really learn anything if you don’t push past the borders of your own comfort?

The important thing is to keep moving forward, to take that first step.

“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move,” said Anthony Bourdain. “As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.”

The wonderful words of friendship and encouragement I’ve gotten in emails from my two host teachers in Kolkata (and the amazing agenda they have put together for my time with them) remind me that, as Barack Obama said so well, “We are defined not by our borders, but by our bonds.

We must cross over our borders of comfort to discover the world and ourselves. What more could we learn and accomplish if we are fearless?

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