Are you comfortable? Are you in a place that’s familiar to you, known to you, where you know everybody or most everybody and they know you, where you don’t feel like you have to explain yourself or what you do, nobody questions you, nobody challenges you and you know how things go and how they will go?

Great. Now get out.

As you read this, I have – hopefully — embarked on a trip of a lifetime for me. I’ve always wanted to see Cuba.

Yes, Cuba, the Communist island nation 89 miles south of Key West, Fla. That one.

I don’t want to wait until things may change and open up and the U.S. resort industry rolls in. I want to see the 1950s- and 1960s-era autos, preserved and still being used for transportation.

I want to see the architecture and meet the people. I want to see Cuba.

It’s about as far outside a travel comfort zone as you can get, excluding travel to extreme climate sites such as Mount Everest or any of the world’s deserts or either of the Earth’s poles.

It’s not the climate that will present the big question mark, but the entire change of government and culture.

We will have no cell phone reception. We’ve been told that cell phones will be useful only as cameras once we land in Havana. Internet time is purchased by the minute and is, we’ve been told, fairly expensive, as well as spotty.

U.S. ATM and debit cards won’t work there, so we have to take all the cash we’ll need for the trip with us, doing some estimating and hoping we’re right. We’ve been instructed to take plenty of anything we think we’ll need, from aspirin to tissues, since it’s not as if we can run down to the corner convenience store and purchase what we need when we get there.

I’ve been giving myself possibly an ulcer worrying and trying to anticipate what to pack and what I’ll need for the trip. As for the trip itself, I’m excited. It will be different, no doubt, but I welcome that, whatever it brings.

A few weeks ago, the Chipotle restaurant chain aired an advertisement that drew a lot of criticism from people within agriculture and a lot of attention to the ad from those outside agriculture.

As expected, the usual ag suspects blogged angrily about the ad misrepresenting farmers and agriculture. But to whom were they blogging? Most of those who posted and reposted the blogs were people within agriculture who were mad about the Chipotle ad, too.

Who do you reach? When you talk about farms and farming, who are you talking to?

I’m proud of the fact that at AgriNews, because we cover a variety of topics and subjects, we have a fairly varied audience. We’re not just “preaching to the choir.”

We have a healthy readership in the urban and metro areas throughout the Midwest. People in Chicago and Indianapolis and Des Moines read our stories, whether in print or online.

We also interact with non-ag people via social media and in social media on a personal level. Many of the people I’m on social media with have no connection to agriculture at all.

I’ve made those connections in a variety of ways, through talking about politics, through support of our U.S. military and military veterans, through talking about American and European history, talking about gardening and yard work, talking about the purchase of my new house and through just talking with other folks about current events.

Well, good for you, you say, so what?

Here’s the deal about the Chipotle ad — that ad reached far, far, far more people outside of agriculture than inside of agriculture. So did Stonyfield’s #fightpesticides campaign.

I’ve seen a lot of ag folks make connections outside of agriculture. Sports and being fans — or foes — of various sports teams seems to be a big unifier on social media.

We have to make a choice to step out of our comfort zones and look for people, especially on Twitter, since it’s a bigger audience and much easier to join in different conversations, who are not connected to agriculture.

Look for the folks who share interests outside agriculture such as sports or hobbies. Even just expressing interest in a particular topic is enough to cultivate online relationships on social media.

Cultivate those relationships. Let what we do in agriculture be a side note, not the main topic. Be interested in what they do and what they have to say and chances are that they’ll return that interest.

If we never express interest in anything but agriculture, how will we ever reach an audience that is interested in everything but agriculture?

Will ag ever reach the sheer numbers of people that Chipotle or its ad reached? Probably not.

But it doesn’t hurt to step out of our comfort zones and try.