Living the Field Trip Life is all about looking for and seeking out the different, the new, the unexpected. It doesn’t always come naturally. I’m learning news ways to do that every day.
It’s normal to stick with what you know, what’s comfortable. You usually go to the same gas station in the same neighborhood, right? The same gym near your job, the same library near your house, the same grocery store, post office, restaurants… and on and on.
Now, more than ever, it’s time to make break that habit.
It’s time to wake up and break out of our insulated lives.
It’s time to choose to want to know more about people (and places) that you’re not accustomed to.
It’s time to make choices, consciously choose, to do things differently and go where there are people different from yourself. Different languages spoken, different socioeconomic status, different generations, different ethnicities, different landscapes, different communities, different politics. Look for opportunities to get to know people that don’t look or sound like you. Look for opportunities to get to know places that make you uncomfortable.
How do you do that? Get out of your comfort zone. Go to a library in another part of your city. Use another fitness or community center. Volunteer in a school or neighborhood resource center. Are you more comfortable in a city setting? Try a nature-based activity. If you’re most comfortable in the woods or country, take a city field trip. Ride a bus if you normally rely on a car. Have you ever done your laundry at a laundromat? Do it. See and do what other people have to experience, not by choice, but by necessity.
And talk to people, listen to people. Talking too hard? Too scary? Then start by making an effort to make eye contact and smile. Pay attention to how people, different from you, interact, show joy, joke around, get angry. But don’t judge. Just acknowledge it’s different.
Regardless of what end of the political spectrum you fall on, I encourage you do it. How can we ever hope to get past marches, petitions, and shouting at each other on social media, and into real change if we don’t reach across the void and start to understand each other?
How will you know it’s working? If you feel uncomfortable, you’re doing something right.