‘Travel’ is often cited as a top interest everywhere from dating sites to professional resumes, but how often have you heard others say “I’d love to travel, but I just can’t”? While there are many legitimate reasons to postpone travel, too many of us put it off for being less important, less productive than work and traditional routines for furthering your career.
This couldn’t be further from the truth: planned correctly, travel can be everything from the break you need to see the big picture clearly to the spark that lights a life-changing fire — and it all revolves around what you allow yourself learn and do.
It helps you learn and grow as a person
Learning a language is one of the most valuable growth experiences that can come from travel, even if not particularly extended. Immersion in a language is the most effective way to learn it given your constant need to resort to and develop those skills. How much knowing a language shapes your thoughts may be arguable, but the benefits are not.
Multilingual people move around more easily in a globalized world, both personally and professionally. They have the potential to be better communicators, not only in the direct use of the language, but also because of increased ability to navigate language barriers — you learn how to parse out the gist from foreign speech the more you practice.
The logistics involved in planning and executing any kind of trip also involve great practical life skills that showcase your capabilities —
Organization to prepare everything beforehand, multiplied in value by the amount of people considered, the destinations visited, modes of travel employed… Knowing how to make things happen is applicable to any career, while budgeting everything correctly and making it back successfully helps you hone your financial planning while showing you have it.
Not often mentioned is the value of patience, and how much about it you learn during travel. Waiting for your transportation to depart, travel, arrive. Time spent understanding how to maneuver your surroundings. Patience when communication barriers frustrate and undermine your plans. Patience when other lifestyles don’t meet your preferred pace, be it faster or slower. Whether you’re working in an office or for yourself, your interactions with people will always require, and benefit from, patience.
Perhaps the most fundamental aspect of your learning as a traveler is that you are a stranger in a strange land. Exposure to different cultures puts yours into perspective — from small things, like realizing how daily habits you may take for granted are completely different elsewhere, to deeper truths, like the common traits that bind us across backgrounds.
The contribution this cross-cultural experience can have is difficult to both overstate and quantify. The more you understand people, the better you can relate, communicate and do business with them. You learn a humility that comes from knowing others believe and live completely differently from you. In a completely connected global economy, the ability to place yourself in others’ shoes becomes the backbone of your interactions, whether you’re marketing a product or yourself.
And you’ll do a lot of useful things…
Beyond your general learning and wanderlust satisfaction, there are plenty of experiences to focus your travel time into a great tool for personal and professional growth.
Seasonal jobs abound if you know where to look. Some migrate in order to pursue the most rewarding opportunities that only require part of their time, while others get more adventurous and immersed in local jobs and activities. Temporary jobs can help uncertain travelers find their calling, while finding jobs with relatable experience to your field is a great way to both finance your trip and continue investing in your chosen career path.
Volunteering is also a legitimate way for many to travel for free, satisfying the urge to see the world, give back, and try something new at the same time. Joining organizations that pay for your travel in exchange for your services is a sure way to get a rich, yet affordable experience out of it — and volunteer work could be the standout difference in comparing your resume to someone else’s.
There is also, of course, the unpredictable nature of the connections you’ll make, different people with new opportunities you could have never foreseen. You never know when there will be an opportunity for a new job, business venture, collaborative project… Maybe it’ll that conversation you strike up with a future business partner while waiting on a train platform, or a friend of a mutual friend showing you around town. The sheer amount of people you meet during travel stacks the odds in your favor, so be social.
So… how do you do it?
There are as many answers to that as there are career paths. If you’re a student, consider taking advantage of that status to gain work experience on a budget while getting to travel. Maybe it’s just a short vacation away from the office — combine business and pleasure with a scenic road trip to meet and network with old and new connections.
Or maybe the urge is stronger than that — if you can tailor your lifestyle to be nomadic through remote work or otherwise, why not move with the seasons and escape the winter?
And if all this conversation has you thinking of making a more permanent change to your lifestyle, one that allows for all this travel, there are plenty of ways to do so, limited only by your flexibility and willingness to take that leap.
****For this unique post that has us experiencing wanderlust, Campus to Career thanks Kacey Mya!!****
About: Kacey Mya Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style throughout the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Find her on Twitter (@kaceymya) and Pinterest.