By Lauren | September 6, 2016 | 0 Comment
Anyone who knows me knows that travel is a huge part of my life. I love to travel and I’m a firm believer in using up those vacation days and taking the time for yourself to explore. But although travel is important to me, so is maintaining a career.
Even though when you travel you’re often unplugged from work, both mentally and physically, that doesn’t mean you’re not learning or improving on new skills that can benefit you when you’re back in the office.
These are just five of the many ways that travel has helped me in my career.
A typical day for most of us involves us being stressed out and overthinking at least something. We wake up, go to work, complain about work, go home, and do it all again. Because of this, I find we often lose sight of what’s actually important in life. We become so focused on money, getting that promotion, buying that house or new car, and we forget that those things are just things.
Each time I travel I’m given a reality check and reminded how privileged I am to live in a free country, with a job, an education, and am surrounded by people that love me. It reminds me what really is important in life and knocks me out of my “stressed out about stupid things” mindset I usually have. This helps me regroup at work, it helps me realize that even if I have days I hate my job, I’m lucky to have a job, and those off days aren’t going to be what defines my life and happiness.
Travel gives you confidence and independence that you can’t just get from everyday life. I thought I was a pretty independent person until I started to travel and went through several learning curves which I still go through with every new country I visit. When traveling you’re forced to navigate a whole new country, overcome language barriers, and learn to function without the constant support of technology and the internet. It’s not to say that there aren’t people out there that posses confidence that don’t travel, but personal morale and confidence comes from getting put into different situations that you are forced to tackle on your own, and travel presents those situations constantly.
In our every day lives we often play the record over and over again, we fall into our regular schedules and aren’t often given as many opportunities to put ourselves out of our comfort zones and ultimately boost our confidence. How does this help me in my career? Have you ever met a successful person or leader that doesn’t radiate some fort of confidence?
When you travel, it’s a given that you are going to be encountering a new culture, and new people along the way. Traveling will expose you to people with different backgrounds, beliefs, and languages, and all of these things force you to learn new ways to communicate. People skills are so critical in any career you have, so exposing yourself to different communication styles and new people only help you in the long run. You’ll be someone who can easily build rapport with anyone, and work/adjust to just about anyone’s communication style. This exposure while traveling will also open your eyes to the different etiquette and traditions that people have, and make you more aware and neutral when working with different people in whatever the situation may be.
Not to say that all trips you’re going to be forced with difficult problems or hurdles to overcome, but if you’re traveling like me (backpacking versus luxury travel) it’s likely you’ll come across a hiccup or two. Problem-solving is such a valuable skill in your life at home and your career, you need to have the ability to think on your feet and solve a problem, and sometimes even alone.
Travel can sometimes throw you for a loop and you will be forced to think fast, and in ways that you may have never had to before. What do you do if your flight gets canceled? What happens if you show up at your hotel and they don’t have a reservation for you? What if your taxi driver takes you on a joy ride to try and scam you? It happens, and you never know how you are going to face situations like that until you’re thrown into them.
Knowing yourself is one of the most important things you need to be successful and happy in life. We all struggle with being self-aware and it can be a long journey to get ourselves there, but for me, travel helps. When you travel, you are pushed outside your comfort zone and often learn a lot about yourself along the way. When you know yourself better, you have the ability to set personal and professional goals better, and reaching them is more realistic. Self-awareness allows us to better understand why we feel the way we feel and why we behave and act in certain ways, that gives us the ability to make changes or set personal goals to get us to where we want to be.
Travel has taught me a lot about myself, and because of that, it’s made me not only a better employee, but overall person. I have learned so much about how to deal with certain things that are thrown my way, and also have a clearer idea of the things that I need to make myself happy.
With that I encourage everyone to give travel a try. Even if it’s just doing a weekend trip to somewhere near where you live! It can really help you expand your mind, and help you in ways you never thought imaginable.
P.S. Follow along with my travel adventures at www.twirltheglobe.com.