Out of the Comfort Zone

A couple weeks ago, I did something I’ve been avoiding for the past two years we’ve been on the road.

No, it wasn’t giving in and finally eating a plate full of caterpillars (though I did do that, and they weren’t bad). This was something that should have been easier to swallow. Getting a haircut by a local barber.

It’s a fairly universal idea in most of the countries we’ve visited. There’s a guy with a hole-in-the-wall shop, usually classy enough to have barber-style chairs and huge mirror, offering super-cheap haircuts.

Hewes haircut

Mark’s awesome $3 haircut in progress.

I love a good deal. But I also love knowing that the person holding sharp objects near my face has adequate training and has sterilized those sharp objects sometime within the past month. Then there’s the language barrier. In more than one language, I’ve looked up how to say “Short on the sides, long on top” but then chickened out in the end.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t go two years without cutting my hair. Kelly has been faithfully borrowing clippers and trying her best to give me cool haircuts. “This is better!” I’d tell myself, sweating profusely with a trash bag wrapped around my shoulders out in the hot tropical sun.

But when we were visiting Nepal, there were no clippers to be borrowed. It had been a few months since my last trim and the situation was starting to get desperate. So I decided that it was time to get over my fear. And guess what? It was the best haircut of my life.

And not just a haircut – shaping with a straight razor, anointment with various oils, creams, and colognes, and even a head, neck, and shoulder massage. All for less than $3! How had I been missing out on this awesome experience for the last two years?

I don’t know how many times Kelly and I have looked at each other and said, “Can you believe we almost didn’t go there/see that/meet them because we were scared?!” Of course we have plenty of stories that end with us looking like total dummies, but even those experiences have taught us something.

I guess the moral of the story is: whatever you’re scared of, just go for it. Get out of your comfort zone a little. So what if you look like a dummy? You might just get the best haircut of your life.

After my haircut. Guess what I should have been worried about was giant fish!

After my haircut. Guess what I should have been worried about was giant fish!

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