I rang in 2018 at a costume party with 30 or so new friends in Margaret River, WA. How I ended up there was the result of a series of steps outside of my comfort zone.
I spent Christmas in Perth at the invitation of one of my dearest friends and her family. After the holiday we made plans to spend a few days in Margaret River. Located just a few hours south of Perth, Margaret River is known for its breathtaking beaches and long standing wine tradition, thus making it the ideal vacation spot for us….and about 95% of Australia.
Needless to say finding last minute accommodation during Christmas break was near impossible. The first step outside of my comfort zone was accepting an invitation from an acquaintance of my friend to crash at his family’s house (as you may recall, accepting generous gifts is not my strong suit).
With accommodation settled we headed down south. I had been generously put in touch with a number of winemakers in the area by a new friend in the industry. And thus the second step outside of my comfort zone: meeting the winemakers*. I had a lot of trepidation about this. I worried that I would be imposing on people’s time and that I didn’t have anything to offer in return. The golden rule for networking in America seems to be: make sure you have something you can offer when you ask for something from someone. The truth is that right now I don’t know exactly what I am going to do with all of this**, I just want to explore and connect and learn and expand. But I had been personally introduced to these people and they were going out of their way to meet me and spend time with me, so I was going to do it, no matter how uncomfortable it felt.
What I began to see unfolding was that when I said yes to things that pushed me outside of the spaces where I felt at ease, I reaped great rewards. The family we staid with was kind, generous, and well known in the community. They shared their house, their wisdom, their knowledge, and their home grown olive oil with us. The winemakers were warm, welcoming, and overwhelmingly generous. We received everything from wine, to fresh eggs, homemade bread and an invitation to a New Years Eve party.
Which was the final yes that stepped me outside of my comfort zone. Truth be told, despite how social I am, I always feel awkward and out of place at parties or events where I don’t know people. But it seemed like a pity to let the opportunity pass to spend the evening with one of the winemakers and get to know more people in the local community. What transpired was a delightful evening dressed up in bizarre costumes at a random couple’s house, making new friends and dancing away 2017.
The next day my friend and I spoke about what themes we want to take on for the new year. I reflected on the past few days and declared 2018 the year I say yes to stepping outside my comfort zone. I think I’m off to a pretty good start.
*I’ll be writing in detail about all the vineyard visits, so keep your eye out. And I promise, they will be more informative and less about my feeeeeeeelings….maybe.
**“This” being my passion for natural wine, life, career, etc.