Everybody wants to travel more. But we often make excuses as to why we shouldn’t: no time, no money, or my job won’t allow it. This is a big mistake. Traveling changes all of us. If you’ve ever heard someone say, “Oh I wish I never went traveling in my life. I never learned anything or met anyone interesting,” then you need to run… far away from that person.
You see, traveling does much more than simply entertain us. We remember the sights, the sounds, the good food, and excursions. But there’s one thing that stands above the rest: meeting good people. Whether you’re traveling within the country or traveling internationally, meeting new people through traveling is a proven way to improve the quality of your business and life instantly.
Here are 3 ways that you can enhance your life and business through travel this year:
1) Gain a new cultural perspective on business and life
Most people live this “normal” work routine: wake up, get ready for work, do the morning commute, work at your job, commute back home, watch Netflix and eat dinner. However, by placing yourself in a different country or even sub-culture within your country, you gain a greater perspective in business. We only know what we know in our environment. Every region and country has its understandings on how business and life work. Some countries have a normal 9-5 marketplace routine: Everyone works 9 am to 1 pm, has lunch for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then work until 5 pm. This is normal right?
In some countries, the 9-5 isn’t normal. For instance, Spain does something completely different: The marketplace is alive in the morning until the afternoon, and then at about 2 pm, all the shops close until 5 pm. The siesta is a time for the Spanish culture to relax, eat lunch, and even take a nap which has all been proven to improve overall physical and mental health, thus making everyone a bit more relaxed and at ease when they are at work. The siesta is a great way to meet people and enjoy a long lunch together, which may not be possible back home.
By traveling to other parts of the world, it allows you to gain a fresh perspective on different ways to operate in business and in life that you may not have known of before. By tapping into the different cultural values and perspectives, it opens up a whole toolkit of strategies and mindsets that can enhance your life.
2) Traveling forces you to engage more
It’s easy to get stuck in the routine of things. You do the same things, go to the same places, and talk to the same people. This is an easy way to plateau in business. But when you step out of the box and leave your comfort zone, you will often find that you gain an incredible advantage in business and life.
Going on a trip forces you to encounter different environments and different people, which is never easy, but always rewarding. When you’re out in a land unknown, you don’t have Bob from the office to joke around with and stay in your little work bubble. You have to make small talk with strangers when you’re in airports, buses, trains, and shops. It’s incredible what business relationships can come from a random encounter with a stranger. Some of the most successful businesses started with a random travel encounter with a stranger.
Take for instance a story from 1995. A young, 22-year-old man who was visiting Stanford University as a prospective computer science applicant. He was led in a tour guide by another computer science kid, 21 years old and the two hit it off and became best friends. Who were these two geeky computer kids at Stanford? None other than Larry Page and Sergey Brin… the founders of Google.
3) Traveling makes it easier to connect with similar people
You’ve felt it before, being in a distant land, hours away from home. Even if you’re traveling with someone, you know the feeling. You’re a stranger in an unknown land. It’s a subtle feeling of loneliness not because there aren’t people around, but because the people around you are very different from you.
When you’re in a foreign country where you don’t know the language, this is especially noticeable. But… when you run into someone who speaks your language, it’s like seeing an old friend from back home. There is an immediate spark. You both light up, smile, and chances are, you’ll end up connecting on a greater level, and maybe even making a new friend or business partner.
There could be several ways to connect through a shared interest in a different land. One easy way is food! Another way is by going to a local gym or getting involved in your favorite sport. Or… go to a local co-working space if you’re on a business travel trip. When you don’t have your usual social circles around you to lean on, you’re forced to connect with strangers usually through a similar interest. Because you will engage with similar people more than when you’re back home, it is one of the greatest ways to grow in your personal and business life.
Whether you’re thinking of a potential upcoming business trip or thinking of planning a holiday, consider the growth you will have if you just go for it. Even if you’re a new traveller, or haven’t gone away for too long, just getting the experience is worth the “risk.”
If you’re like most people, you’re often weighing the decision of “Should I go on this trip or should I wait?” Well, if you’re open to gaining new perspectives in life and business, and want to connect with people and create exciting new experiences and relationships, then you know the answer.
Who knows, sparking a conversation with a stranger while traveling could mean the start of the next Google for you.
Thanks for reading.
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