It is possible to learn from every experience in life, whether it is a new job, opportunity, or a more challenging situation that causes a temporary setback. Because there are so many skills that can be acquired through our experiences, this article will review some of the necessary professional (and personal) skills that can be gained from an activity that yields many experiences – traveling. Travel includes exotic vacations, work trips, a trip to the mountains, or even pitching a tent in your own backyard – it all depends on how you look at it.
- The first noteworthy skill that can be gained from travel is the ability to be open minded. Oftentimes when we travel we are faced with new situations and experiences that are not necessarily common in our own culture. This could include customs that are popular in one city but unheard of in another. It is important to be open minded in a professional setting as most businesses work in a global atmosphere. Being open minded also enables you to adapt more quickly to challenges, making you more reactive. The ability to be open minded also enables you to try new things and make the most of each experience.
- Another skill that travel often provides is the willingness to try new things. With travel comes unexpected situations and discoveries, as it is impossible to know what will happen next and what will be encountered. The ability to get comfortable with the unexpected is an extremely valuable skill set in the workplace, as this makes us more comfortable with change, and less fearful of failure. The willingness to try new things combined with limited fear of failure is powerful because it encourages innovation, creativity and fresh ideas.
- Traveling provides the ability to be reflective. Oftentimes travel involves new experiences and opportunities that are unlikely to be experienced elsewhere. This provides the opportunity to reflect on what really matters, and what you can learn from new experiences and people. This transfers quite easily to the workplace, as the ability to reflect on one’s own behavior and performance is critical for growth. If one can identify areas for improvement, or areas that they are excelling, it makes it easier to develop a plan for achieving goals, meeting metrics and aligning better with the organization.
- Unless you are traveling with a group or travel company, you will likely need to spend a good deal of time planning out your trip. This is a useful skill in both life and the workplace, as the ability to successfully meet goals require some level of planning, whether it be with formal goal setting, or jotting down a few ideas on paper.
- As an alternative, the decision to go with a travel group when exploring a new city or country also provides benefits that can be used within the workplace. First, the ability to work as a team – explore new sites, climb new mountains, and meet new challenges – these all happen as a team. The bonds that are made between people throughout these new experiences are irreplaceable, and the ability to work together is crucial. Similarly, most people encounter tough assignments and challenges at work – most of which can be resolved through teamwork. If these challenges could be met in the same way as they are addressed when exploring a new country, they are likely to yield much more favorable results.
- This last benefit is perhaps my favorite, as I find it holds true time and time again – traveling generates creativity and inspiration. There is nothing like flying home and reflecting on a trip that has enlightened you with new experiences. Being in a new element often generates creativity and inspiration, and it is in these times that we are able to muster up ideas that are the most closely aligned with who we really are. So, just as when we travel, it is important to refresh our minds as we work. Take breaks. Take a walk. Try something new. Switch up your routine. Simple changes can often produce results that allow us to think creatively and out of the box to find new inspiration and ideas.
So that’s my list of ways that travel can benefit you in the workplace. I recommend travel as a way to learn about the world – whether it is a 30-minute car ride east, or a flight to a different country, these experiences can have long-lasting and impactful changes on our perception and ability to be effective and creative within the workplace.