How Traveling Can Help You
Develop Valuable Career Skills
Most people will agree that traveling and exploring the world are some of the greatest joys in life. Even scientists have come to the conclusion that traveling, which implies spending money on experiences that will stay with you forever instead of objects that only provide temporary satisfaction, can help you lead a much happier life.
When we think about traveling, we usually focus more on the hedonistic aspect of this activity and less on its practical side, although there’s more to traveling than the chase for pleasure and happiness. While travel can offer you a much-needed escape from the stress and pressure of everyday life, it also provides an opportunity to grow and expand your horizons, and most importantly it can teach you many valuable skills that you can apply in your career.
So, even though we tend to see travel as the complete opposite of work, it’s also an activity that can support your professional life, by helping you develop a series of sought-after skills.
Here’s a list of some of the most important skills and abilities that you can learn or improve while traveling.
Organization and planning
No matter what type of work you do, chances are there’s some organization and planning involved. It’s bad news if you lack in this department, as it can affect your career evolution, and in worst-case scenarios, it can even cost you your job.
Planning a trip might sound like something fun and entertaining, but there’s actually a ton of aspects to take into account when traveling. So good planning and organizing skills are a must unless you want to find yourself stranded in a foreign country. One trip might not turn you into a planning expert but, if you do it over and over again, you’ll become a lot more skilled, and then you can transfer these skills into your line of work.
Speaking of planning, there’s no way you can organize a trip the right way if you haven’t brushed up on your time management skills. Poor time management often translates into idle time, missed flights, and a lot of wasted opportunities.
So, as you become more travel savvy, you’ll learn to calculate how long it’s going to take you to get from point A to point B, how to book your flights and accommodation, plan each stop or juggle with different time zones. Basically, you’ll learn how to use your time efficiently to make the most of your trip. Needless to say, good time-management skills can be a true lifesaver at work where you constantly have to prioritize and calculate your time in order to stay productive.
Communication and social skills
One of the best things about traveling is meeting and interacting with all types of people, and even making some friends along the way. This obviously implies working on your social and communication skills, even more so if you don’t speak the same language as the locals. It forces you to become a better listener and work a bit harder to express your ideas with clarity and make yourself understood in your interactions.
Guess where else you’ll need these skills? At work, where you have to communicate with your peers and superiors, making sure that you convey your messages clearly and that the information you share with others doesn’t get misinterpreted or lost in translation.
Part of the fun of traveling is given by its unpredictability and the surprises that arise along the way. And yet, you can’t leave things to chance, hoping that everything will work out fine even if you’ve taken no safety measures in case something goes wrong. Caution and foresight are two very important skills that can make a world of a difference in your travels, and so is getting educated on handling emergency situations like what to do if you lose all your documents or how to make a holiday accident claim in case you’ve been injured.
It’s just as important to be equipped with the right skills to handle difficult situations at work. When you’ve made it a habit out of preparing for worst-case scenarios, you’ll be able to stay calm and collected under pressure and act timely in case of an emergency.
It’s a well-known fact that traveling serves as a huge confidence booster. There’s a reason why so many young people take those traditional gap years to explore other parts of the world and gain some life experience. The things you see and experience in your travels can help you grow and build your character. As you step out of your comfort zone, you’ll become more independent and thus more confident.
It’s not enough to have great ideas and skills if your lack of confidence won’t allow you to express yourself and put things into practice. You have to find your voice and learn to advocate for yourself in all circumstances, including at work. Luckily, the same confidence that you get from traveling can help you advance in your professional life.
Our perception of the world is shaped by the things that surround us and that we experience on a daily basis. When you spend your whole life confined in one place, your entire universe is limited by what you’ve seen and lived there. So, there’s nothing like a few good traveling adventures to help you get out of your cocoon and become more open-minded.
When you travel you are met by a different world than the one you knew up to that point and you get to discover the reality of life beyond your community's narrow walls. This can turn you into a more empathetic person, and also make it easier for you to understand different points of view in your work, especially when you interact with people that come from different cultures or backgrounds than yours. These skills facilitate collaboration and set the grounds for efficient teamwork.
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About the Author
Cynthia Madison is an experienced blogger who loves writing about a wide variety of topics, from marketing and finance to travel and healthcare. When she’s not in front of her computer working on her next article, she enjoys reading a good book or exploring new hiking trails and backpacking routes across the country.