Kristin Quiroz Bayona, my guest this week, is passionate about traveling. As a Latinx woman, she grew frustrated by the lack of diversity she saw in the industry. So, like many freelancers, she decided to make the change she wanted to see.
“I wanted to create this space where different perspectives, different voices, were represented and it was something that I wasn’t seeing in the travel space,” she says.”There’s such power in storytelling and when you can connect with other people through their stories, it’s just so powerful. So that’s the space that I’m trying to create with this podcast.”
Though she started creating content as a blogger, Kristin quickly realized that she needed more human connection in her work. Her love of interviewing people and listening to podcasts, plus her complete disinterest in being on camera for a YouTube channel, pointed to a happy medium. She transitioned to podcasting, creating The Explorer in You as a place to share genuine experiences from all walks of life.
“There are a lot of people who travel. We’re just not seeing it,” she says. “And if I have this platform that I can be really intentional with, then that’s what I feel compelled to do. So it’s simply just letting the stories and people speak for themselves.”
Recording her first episode was nerve-racking. She was horrified after listening to her first take, quickly losing confidence. But, rather than give up, she decided to take half an hour and try again.
First, she went upstairs to apply some makeup. “Maybe if I look good, I’ll feel good,” she thought.
“So it was this initial, horrific response and then it was taking a minute and then pushing myself to go back and do it again. And actually, I now like the sound of my voice,” she says. “But I think it’s the continuing to push yourself past that discomfort that is so important. Because once you’re on the other side of it, it’s like, ‘Oh, nothing can stop me. I’ve got this.’”
It’s this lesson, learning to push yourself past discomfort, that Kristin thinks is essential for everyone to experience. As an explorer, it’s a challenge she faces often.
“Traveling, it pushes you outside of your comfort zone all the time. In big ways and little ways,” she says. “When I travel, I’m uncomfortable a lot of the time. Sometimes I don’t like it and sometimes I really enjoy being pushed.”
If you see someone doing crazy things, she says, it’s not that they aren’t uncomfortable. Instead, they’ve discovered how to sit in that discomfort and do the unthinkable anyway.
“I really like to go into action mode. I’m a huge overthinker and I think that’s a lot of where the fear thoughts can really hold you back because you get stuck in that mode,” Kristin says. “And what I have found any time I challenge myself is taking action is the absolute best thing to do. Get out of your head and take that next step that you need to take to get towards the goal. It’s huge.”
Just doing the next small action is how she launched her podcast. You look back, she says, and suddenly realize that you’re already doing the big thing. But you can’t stop there.
“Another big thing for me is just looking at the uncomfortable situations as learning opportunities. I’m super driven by learning, I’m super curious,” she says, “so I like to ask a lot of questions instead of sitting in the fear and being uncomfortable. It’s replacing the fear with curiosity. So asking a lot of questions, that way it’s less about the fear and more about the thing.”
Learning to cope with discomfort has been a journey, one that started early in her childhood. Though she didn’t want to deal with discomfort, she came to understand the value of overcoming it.
“You realize, ‘Oh, discomfort is just a part of life’ and you’re going to come up against it over and over and over again, so you might as well figure out how to have a relationship with it that’s more productive,” she says.
To be resilient, you have to sit in your discomfort and learn how to process it in a way that works for you, she says. When you can distract yourself from your fear and discomfort, you’ll be empowered to do what you set out to do.
“When we can really start to be curious,” Kristin says, “and wonder, and discover and replace that fear, it’s really powerful.”
Hear the full story on this week’s episode, where you can get tips on naming your brand, starting your own podcast, and trusting your instincts to make important decisions.