When we talk of travel, we associate it with unwinding and simply having a good time. That’s why it’s an escape from our regular lifestyle which doesn’t allow us these luxuries. Perhaps you haven’t realised it, but every time that you’ve travelled, it has secretly helped you career. How, you ask? Travelling is similar to a work environment in one simple aspect: it’s out of your comfort zone. You don’t realise this because you travel out of choice and work out of necessity (mostly). It is because of this similarity that the benefits of travel can overlap with your career. Here’s how.
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If there’s one thing we inadvertently do while traveling, it is networking. Being in a new place demands interaction with locals and other fellow travellers. This holds true even if you’re exploring a jungle – getting friendly with natives or forest officials is just as crucial. Whether you’re asking for directions or actively learning about a new culture, networking is a skill that is picked up quite naturally while travelling.
It is only when we concentrate on a networking event that we actively try to hone this skill. But if you’re someone who travels a lot, the informal setting that it provides is just perfect to pick up this skill without even realising it – and because it has come so naturally, networking at a business event won’t involve much thought. You’ll find yourself initiating conversations and you may also be friendlier. Preparing for a networking event couldn’t be easier – and more fun.
The tact needed to do this is ignored under the broader umbrella of communication skills. Travelling, as mentioned before, inadvertently hones your communication skills, but on a subtler level, it also teaches you to handle difficult situations.
Setting foot in an unfamiliar place means being a novice to its culture and conducts. There are times when you my accidentally offend a local, trust someone you shouldn’t, or be where you shouldn’t. Being in such situations and finding a way out of them improves your problem solving skills which you can apply at a workplace. There’s always a difficult colleague, an unreasonable boss, or a challenging team to handle. After having survived comparatively more dangerous situations while travelling, sticky situations at work will not seem as daunting to tackle.
Travelling gives us a chance to see the world in new ways. We meet new people, learn of their cultures and their perspectives of ours. Because we travel by choice, we are more willing to accept changes. This is why being open to different perspectives while travelling is easier than doing so at a work place. The setting is less threatening and therefore, we are more willing. The more you travel, the more naturally this comes. When you’re open to new perspectives, you’ll be a better team player. You will be able to handle criticism more positively which is crucial for your growth in the company. Looking at the bigger picture of your career will also come more easily as travelling has a way of opening up your mind to bigger possibilities in life – a positive outlook is hard to come by otherwise.
Travelling, without a doubt, involves incessant planning – even more so if it’s spontaneous. The most important thing that travelling teaches you, however, is that plans don’t always work. You learn to think on your feet and improvise, and make changes in your plans as when required. This skill of improvising is extremely essential in a work atmosphere. Work-loads are ever growing and ever-changing. The one thing that decides whether or not you survive your career is whether or not you adapt to it. Travelling not only perfects your decision making skills, it also teaches you to do so creatively.
Yes, this is a very important ‘skill’. It doesn’t matter which rung of the ladder you’re on, if you’re not humble, your career will plummet eventually. When you travel, you’ll meet people who know more than you do, and who’ve done more than you have. There’s nothing more humbling than knowing that you’re not the best out there. Humility in your career gives you a chance to keep learning which only improves your career graph. It also improves your professional relationship with your colleagues. As Entrepreneur reported, humility makes better leaders and individuals that are humble tend to be high performers.
If you’re a workaholic who’s tirelessly working on perfecting that career, you now finally have a reason to take that break without feeling the guilt. Travelling just got more appealing didn’t it?