Getting Out of the Comfort Zone (Fellowship Reflection Series #11)

Bhawana Shrestha
4 min readSep 12, 2022


12:10 am Monday (September 12, 2022)

Having been living for the last 13 years independently, I don’t usually hesitate to go to a new place and explore and even live in solitude. Also, from making solo trips to several cities and countries to traveling with my husband, mostly apart from the airport check-ins and the (un)conscious discrimination that happens there, I am most comfortable traveling to any place. Traveling does not scare me. However, most of this travel has been for a maximum of two weeks, so coming to DC and staying and working here was going to be a new experience for me. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect out of me and also not sure what version of me would unravel. So even before I came here, I had made up my mind that I would make the most out of my stay and get out of my comfort zone and do those things that I don’t usually do. So here is the list of things that I did last week which were out of my comfort zone.

  1. Met a friend from Social Media: I love having my own small group of friends whom I have met in person through mutual friends or have worked together. It has been like that but this time, I met someone whom I had never known before and had only been in touch with via Instagram. To go out and meet with her and share experiences and then again go out with her later was something new to me but I enjoyed that thoroughly.
From Instagram connection to being friends

2. Planned and went on a hike: I am a complete indoor person. I usually find reasons and sometimes even make one not to go out of my rooms. But I have been just googling places and randomly going out on a hike or just taking a metro to somewhere I might get lost as well. I have been open to asking friends if they are interested in joining me and if they are not available, I have just started randomly going out. The weather has started to change gradually so I don’t know how much of this will continue in the winter. But for now, it has been going well.

From a hike to Rock Creek Park

3. Clubbing: I think I went out clubbing sometime in 2016 and that was the only time I walked out at night alone to hang out with friends. But when Ojaswhi shared about a similar event that was going to happen, I said ‘yes’ right away without giving it a second thought and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Though I just support my friends with my presence and my dance and stay away from drinking, I enjoy being around them and supporting them. It was a completely new experience.

From an event ‘Nepali Night’

4. Making a Cold Call Request: I think zillionth times when I make a request. I don’t even ask for help, that has been my habit for the longest time. But when I was talking to Tamryen in our first week, I had made a promise that I would start asking for help and start taking steps for that. So just wanted to move ahead with that. Therefore, made a cold call request with a lot of hesitation to Assoc. Prof. Simon Nicholson from American University and to my surprise, I got a positive response to observing his class. What a start on working on myself!

Grateful to Prof. Nicholson for his humility

5. Attending events that I have zero knowledge about: Apart from watching movies, I don’t usually go to events that are not about education or about social-emotional learning. But Brookings is a global think tank there are events happening on multiple issues, which are open to attend if interested. In usual circumstances, I don’t bother about being a part of discussions that is not per my interest but I am slowly making an effort to attend these events and learn something new. So when Halima shared that her friend is having a book launch, I happily asked if I could join her and be a part of it. It was definitely a heavy conversation but learned a few new vocabularies that might be useful for my own research.

Launching event of the book- Economic Diversification in Nigeria: The Politics of Building a Post-Oil Economy

I hope to continue exploring and getting out of my other discomforts further.



Bhawana Shrestha

Co-Founder, My Emotions Matter