The vast majority of the time we stay within our comfort zone. We leave our house or apartment to go to work, trading one place we know well for another that we accept. We understand our job duties and how to complete tasks either independently or with coworkers. When the work day ends, we go to the theater we most enjoy, to the restaurants we like, to the stores that we respect and feel respected.
Even when we travel, we tend to return to those places that we have found the most enjoyable. For example, I love going to New York City and seeing plays on Broadway. While I don’t know all the ins and outs of the city, I am comfortable enough to ride the subway, walk the streets, find places to go and things to do.
Rarely do we step outside of our comfort zone, and when we do, we often feel a degree of anxiety. We check and recheck maps, go online to find out the ratings of restaurants and stay on major highways. I have been lucky enough to go overseas several times, but only by utilizing the services of a trusted tour company that makes all the arrangements, ensuring that I have a clean and safe place to spend the night.
Some might consider my life boring. Or understand that I am older and somewhat set in my ways.
Your task is to take one of your characters outside of his or her comfort zone. Have her strike out for places unknown, try out new restaurants, visit countries that she has never seen. Have him encounter strangers on these excursions. What happens? How does he react? In fear? With curiosity? Does she accept whatever advice the stranger gives? Go out for a drink together? Walk down the city streets at night under dim lamps?
What is the impact of this journey on your character’s personality? Does he feel emboldened? Frightened to the point of desiring only isolation? Proud or more timid than usual?
This is what you have to explore. Write a scene that challenges your character to step outside of the norm.