I have made it my own personal goal over the last year to travel as much a possible. In the last two years I've explored local hot spots in Michigan as well as spent time in kayaking Pictured Rocks in Michigan's U.P., hiking Hocking Hills in Ohio, swimming with manatees in Florida's Crystal River, dog sledding in the Rocky Mountains, catching an outdoor Red Wings hockey game in Denver, and discovering an awesome national park called Pointe Peelee in Canada. And, currently, I am planning a trip to Iceland for later this year.
As my career heats up, I find myself appreciating time away more and more. And with each trip I find myself getting more out of the experience for my career.
1. Becoming a Self-Starter
If you have the ability, try taking a solo trip... even if it is as simple as a cross-state road trip. This gives you the ability to discover a place at your own pace without having to worry about someone rushing you along. You get to plan the trip and do whatever you want, when you want. This helps teach you to be a self-starter and are able to accomplish tasks on your own.
2. Using Team Work (To Make the Dream Work)
But we all know, traveling is much better when you have someone to share with with. You know you have a good friend when you can travel alongside someone for an extended period of time and only get into a fight once. Traveling with another person or a group of people helps you to be able to work with another personality on a project as well as practice your teamwork abilities and conflict resolution skills.
3. Becoming Flexible
I personally love to have a specific itinerary planned out before going on a trip. But sometimes it makes the trip better to just have an idea of what you want to do then let the experience lead the way. Flexibility is important in both travel and in your career. Not everything will go according to plan, and that is OK.
4. Making Connections with People
While traveling you'll meet all kinds of people, from all walks of life, that you wouldn't have met otherwise. These types of people wouldn't necessarily have fallen into your typical circle and befriending them may be a challenge. Being able to make a positive connection with someone unlike yourself if a trait that will help you the rest of your life.
5. Ignoring Stereotypes
Whether your traveling stateside or internationally, you're bound to find yourself confronted by stereotypes at every turn. You've heard it: "French people hate Americans." But in fact, they don't. And my native state of Michigan says a lot of bad stuff about Ohio (we're college football rivals) but hiking after hiking in Hocking Hills, I was blown away by this state's beauty. Don’t let others bring you down or persuade your view on anyone or anything. Make your own conclusions.
6. Learning to Adjust
Similar to being flexible with those you are traveling with, it is also important to be flexible with adjusting to your surrounding. Paying attention to cultural customs and community norms. It is not for you to make them bend to your preference but for you to adjust to the their culture.
7. Trying Something New
Make sure to try something new where ever your travels take you. Bonus points to traveling to new places! By intentionally putting yourself outside of your comfort zone you will be ready and able to adapt to uncomfortable situations during your career with ease.
8. Disconnecting is Good for the Brain
And finally, traveling does wonders for your brainpower. The best thing about truly immersing yourself in your trip is that you don’t have to be constantly in touch. You're not chained to your laptop or tethered to your phone. When you disconnect, you reconnect with your brain, this can bring the creative juices flowing again, if you’ve been run dry. Traveling and disconnecting is the key to avoiding burnout.
Have you learned other valuable life lessons during your travels? Perhaps some wise notions that will help you throughout your career? Share them in the comments below!