Aside from map-reading skills and how to order a beer in 5 languages, travelling to new places teaches us important lessons that invariably enrich our lives, by exposing us to cultures, customs and landscapes different from those at home.
As the saying goes, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”, so reflect on all your travel memories and have a think about how they’ve shaped you, personally and professionally.
Travel teaches us tolerance
Leaving a tip in Tokyo can be seen as insulting, but not leaving one in New York… even more so! Travelling to foreign cultures is a real eye-opener and local customs can be confusing, especially when what’s considered polite at home could turn heads for the wrong reasons elsewhere. Slurping may be frowned upon at your family dinner table, but not eating loudly enough in Japan can be mistaken as you not enjoying your food! Travel offers a window into different cultures, giving us a better understanding of how other people live, so we can learn to respect our differences and be more tolerant of others.
Travel teaches us resilience
Let’s face it, if you can navigate the subway in a foreign language when you’re jetlagged... you can do anything! Unfamiliar surroundings and communication barriers can throw us off balance but overcoming these helps us grow by becoming more resilient and adaptable to change. Travel forces us to live in the moment and tackle problems head on when things don’t go to plan, as well as exposing us to mystery foods, strange smells and bizarre customs. Embracing it all - being outside your comfort zone - is when the good stuff happens!
Travel teaches us gratitude
Travel can make our dreams come true, giving us an overwhelming sense of appreciation when we find ourselves in places we only ever read about. The opportunities are limitless and being able to experience everything the world has to offer teaches us gratitude on a grand scale. On the flipside, learning about the challenges others face and that the grass is not always greener on the other side can make us appreciate where we’ve come from, seeing us return to “The Lucky Country” with a new sense of gratitude. And nothing beats that feeling of pure bliss when you finally come home and crash in your own bed.
You may return home with a lighter wallet, but travel makes us richer in ways that money can’t buy. These experiences can fundamentally shape us personally but also professionally. Taking your experiences of tolerance, resilience and gratitude into the workplace can make you a better team player and/or leader with a good foundation of emotional intelligence.
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