Pushing Boundaries: Testing Yourself When You Travel

testing yourself

I’m hiking the Camino de Santiago this week, and I once again reminded how travel can take you out of your comfort zone and remind you the importance of always testing your limits. Don’t get me wrong, luxury travel has its place and I love staying at a 5-star hotel as much as the next person. However, for me, travel is an opportunity to grow and test yourself as a person. It offers you a chance to always choose to be your better self—even if it might be a little difficult.

You can grow in many ways as a human being, and travel doesn’t necessarily have to be the way you do it. But for me, travel has served as a constant source of introspection and acknowledgement of both my weaknesses and my strengths. From moving abroad to Venice when I was nineteen, to embarking on the Camino now, I’ve learned things about myself that my other interests never asked from me.

One of my first times traveling alone required that I take a bus to Vienna. My credit card wasn’t working, and I had cobbled together enough cash to pay for the bus ticket. I had to call the company on the bus WiFi, which chose to be intermittent, so I could have enough money to pay for my hostel. After that, I walked alone in the dark on the outskirts of the city, trying to find my way with Google Maps. It was January and cold, and I didn’t know that Vienna is one of the safest cities in the world.

I was scared. And I have been scared many times on my travels. I have slept in a train station without cash, have stayed in sketchy hostels where no one knew I was there, and have walked home alone living abroad with my keys between my fingers like Wolverine so I could stab someone in the eye if needed. And guess what? All of my fears were unfounded. I never once had a situation on the road where I looked back and regretted it.

I’m not advocating for unsafe travel. There is a line there. But I do want to stress the importance of testing yourself (and others) by trying situations that you think might be scary or that you think you can’t live through. For me at nineteen, it was living without my parents for three months. For me at twenty-five, it’s walking 115km within less than a week and doing some internal digging.

Travel for some is a hobby or a way to get out of the daily day-to-day grind. I don’t fault that kind of travel, at all. Everyone needs to do what is right for them. But for me, as someone who is always traveling, this nomadic existence has become my life and I wish to make the most of it. This means taking a look at my boundaries, and knowing what is just outside them. Trying new foods, kayaking down the Amazon River, taking a tai chi class in Greece, asking questions, and meeting new people who can help me achieve my goals of exploration.

And if you don’t have someone who can do that for you, I’m here! Send me your travel goals or experiences you would like to accomplish and we’ll work together to make sure they happen. Let’s test our limits together.

What was the last journey that tested you?

Keep wandering,

Alex Signature Wander


  1. Dreamsvoyager

    Nice post! “Camino de Santiago” hike…I really want to do that one day soon! My last “pushing my limits” thing happened actually 2 times…..when I first planned my small solo Scandinavian tour in March this year all the way from India (even traveling few places thru eastern Europe) and watched Northern lights in Tromso for the first time and second when I booked a one-way flight to Romania in May with no plans of how to complete my trip because I was always a skilled planner when it comes to traveling…:D
    (btw I like the idea of working together on travel goals, this is one thing I would love to try doing with a fellow traveler…lol) 🙂

  2. dejahgatz

    Agreed! I have learned something new about MYSELF every place I have traveled. I’ve gained patience and found compassion, practiced caution and thrown all preconceived notions out the door. Never stop exploring <3

  3. Fumiko

    Your article is really impressive!! I agree with that! I traveled around the world to change my life in 2015 by myself. I quit job and spent allot my saving foe that!
    Besides the travel was really tougher than I expected. Sometimes I thought that I couldn’t survive. But I never regre my journey. The tough moment made me stronger and made what I am now. Life is adventure. With it, we can’t make the life better.

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  6. thatanxioustraveller

    I’m in the process of getting myself back into travel – I have quite severe problems with anxiety (hence the name…) and I can’t begin to tell you how strangely reassuring it is that experienced travellers also can be out of their comfort zones. It’s inspiration to push my own boundaries a little further, even if it may be a slower process for me than it may be for some.
    I also love your writing style, and look forward to seeing more of your posts! Best wishes.

    1. Post
      Alex Schnee

      Thanks so much for your comment! And travel is funny that way–even when you feel confident it can take you out of that feeling very quickly. I think it’s great that you’re moving at your own pace–that’s all any of us can do. <3

      1. thatanxioustraveller

        Thank you! ❤️ I’m definitely going to get there again! And that’s very true, and as disconcerting as it is when travel suddenly takes you out of the comfort zone, it strengthens your armour for the next time it happens.

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