10 Ways Travel Can Help Your Professional Career

Travel is a vital learning tool.  It is no longer looked at  in the old stereotypical ways of “taking the time to find your self” that is  commonly associated with it.  No matter what career path you choose, whether it is working for an employer or pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors, travel naturally develops some of the most priceless skill sets and core values that formal education fails.  Used properly, it separates you from the pack.  It makes you unique.  But more importantly, it forces you to grow in ways others lack.   As a traveler, these are the top ten ways that travel has helped me in my own career development and will aid in your personal development as well:


1) Effective Communication With Others:  When you show up in a foreign land you are the outsider.  No one speaks your language.  Survival depends on communication; you need to figure it out quick.  One of the most important tools in business and life is effective communication; travel teaches you to communicate with people from all walks of life from the c.e.o to a warehouse driver from Mexico.


2) Cultural Diversity: In life, it is inevitable that you will be working with someone from a different cultural upbringing or ethnicity at some point.    To share a quick story about their home country, the food they eat, or speak a quick little phrase breaks through barriers on personable levels which opens doors to opportunities in ways an untraveled person lacks.  At the end of the day, we are all immigrants, and we all deserve to be respected.


3) Courage:  Courage is a necessity for travel and business.  Only those who are willing to go places that are foreign to them will come out ahead.  Getting on a bus and heading to a new city requires the same courage that is need to speak with upper level management, new customers, or to pioneer new business  ventures.    A traveled person finds the courage to go down roads less traveled.


4) Relocatable: You have to be willing to chase that dream.  It may require taking new job in a different city, state, or even country.  As a traveler, you have learned to appreciate these once in a lifetime opportunities.  Travelers can call any place home and appreciate the road ahead.   Relocation= adventure.   The traveler can relocate with ease and go where needed.


5) Breaking through Comfort Zones:  As humans, we tend to put up walls fast and close ourselves off to the unfamiliar.  A traveler is forced to make new friends, navigate through new lands, and learns to rely on his or her self. Travel prepares you to take jobs you are unaccustomed to and be surrounded with people  from different backgrounds.


6) Flexibility: “Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind”- Bruce Lee.  As a traveler you need to be flexible and adapt.  The best businesses and entrepreneurs in the world all have their fare share of wind storms.  It is the people that can bend with these storms that prevail.  Companies need people like this.  Every traveler learns to bend with the wind and has had to adapt to plans that have gone awry.


7) Global Experience: Business today is global.  Efficiency comes from all parts of the world; Technology from Japan, outsourcing to China and India.  Even the job you have right now will more than likely be somehow traced to something from a different country.  Travelers are versatile people that can help in any possible.  When the “outsourcing” department needs a person willing to set up infrastructure in India or when “Human Resources needs person to help oversee new growth in China” That might just be your opportunity.  Companies will train you to do what they require.  The hard part is finding the right person who can handle the real life tasks involved. What better candidate than a well traveled individual?


8) Budgeting, Expenses, and the Value of the Dollar:  Knowing how to  maintain  budgets and expenses are vital skill sets in life and business.  Travelers have first hand experience in this.  You have to become savvy at allocating appropriate funds to meet your travel demands.  Budget philosophy is the same no matter what the dollar amount.  Kicking off a foreign six month journey  in which you have allocated $30 a day to survive forces  you to  learn quickly  how to manage funds to reach the foreseen goal.


9) You Will Always Have Something To Talk About:  Ever been in conversation and reached that awkward silence point?  I have yet to meet someone who is not interested in a person who travels.   There is no greater feeling than talking with a c.e.o and having him or her be interested in what you have done and saying ” I really wish I would have taken the chance to do that” or even more shockingly,   “I did the same thing when I was your age.” Successful people have to take chances and enjoy sharing common risk taking experiences.  Travel is risk.


10) Creativity through Exploration:  Once you see the world, you never approach things the same way.  You have learned to think outside of the box on a global scale.  Problems speak to you differently.  You are creative, you have inspiration, and you find new ways to approach all problems from a global perspective.   Travel forces you to see things in perspective and offer outside solutions.


So before you hesitate on that blank area of your resume when the questions arise, be prepared.  Remember you have done more than most people on this planet and that time was by no means squandered.  When those questions about travel come your way, use them to your advantage and prove that you are a more developed person because of them.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

-Mark Twain



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