I’ve been fortunate to have been able to travel to multiple destinations in the last couple of years. In 2016, I traveled alone to London, Madrid, Rome and Paris. I debated on titling this blog 5 Reasons to Travel Alone but I may be able to convey that message through this blog anyway. In September of 2017, I traveled to Athens, Santorini and Mykonos. What they say about traveling is true. Once you start you cannot stop.
I learned a great deal about myself and how traveling has changed me to be a better professional and businesses owner. Here are 3 reasons you should really save up to travel to unfamiliar places.
I. You become more resilient when exposed to new environments.
Having to navigate unfamiliar places teaches you lessons that cannot be learned from reading a book or listening to lectures. In the process of figuring out the metro or bus routes in a country where English is not the primary language teaches you that it’s okay to be or get lost. It teaches you that when unfortunate things happen in unfamiliar environments, that you have to keep calm and take it one step at a time to readjust your next steps.
In my recent trip to Greece, my passport wallet was stolen from my purse at Larissa Station in Athens. I’m not really sure what happened and how but after thinking about it (what seemed like) a thousand times, I am pretty sure it was stolen the morning before I got on the metro. It was the only time I don’t remember having my purse in front of me because I had my hands full with my coffee, hat, sunglasses, and fixing my long skirt because I was stepping on it walking up the stairs. I remembered someone bumping into me and I know that is the number one trick in the book.
I didn’t realize until almost 8 hours later that I was missing my wallet when I tried to tip my tour guide and couldn’t find my wallet in my bag. Even then, my first thought was that I left it back in my room. That night, I searched my room and did not find my wallet. I panicked at first but my next instinct was to google the process of getting a new passport in Athens. I immediately made a trip to the Tourism Police Station that night to report my stolen passport and wallet with 140 euros.
The very next day, I went to the US Embassy around 9:30am. The whole process took only two hours to my surprise. It was a big inconvenience but I was eating a chicken pie with my new passport by noon.
II. You can be inspired by new sceneries.
When I am in another country, I make it a point to be observant of their ads, customer service, marketing tactics and more. I pay attention to how the stores and restaurants try to stand out from the competitors and the value they place on certain services (valet, rentals, concierge, etc…). I love learning about how it works in counties I’ve never been.
I open up their magazines and although I can’t understand the language, I pay attention to the images they choose and the graphic design styles. When I visited Mykonos, for instance, the whole island promotes itself as a luxurious and fun island frequented by celebrities with a very active nightlife. Restaurants would loop footage of athletes and Hollywood celebrities seen on the island. Plenty of the shirts displayed outside many stores were those that said things like “Good girls go to heaven and bad girls go to Mykonos” or “Mykonos F*cks Ibiza”. Many stores and restaurants remain open 24/7.
III. You Are Potentially Most Organized When Planning Your Travel
As a career professional or business owner, you get bogged down with so much to do for so little time. It happens a lot but you seem to always make time planning for your trips. Channel that skill for when you need it.
I’ll be honest, I sometimes have a hard time keeping my work schedule together but when I travel, I have everything organized so I can share it with my mom and best friend just in case they need to know where I’m at. In addition to being organized with schedule, you also become more organized with your budget.
IV. You are forced into situations where you have to meet new people who potentially speaks little English
If you speak another language, talking to people who speak little English isn’t too much of a challenge. You’ll know how to simplify your sentences enough to get your point across. If you don’t have the luxury of speaking another language, you will quickly learn how to rephrase your sentences to simplify your message.
This skill is used in marketing many times. We often start with convoluted brand messages that need to be simplified. The more you talk to the locals the more you find out exactly how they process your messages. If you don’t adjust your communication to the recipient’s level of understanding then you won’t be able to continue your conversation.
I eventually learned that some of the best words to learn in another language are greeting words, thank you, excuse me, and do you speak English?
V. Curate beautiful content for social media
We all know that social media is one of the top ways that business owners can get the word out about their brand. I learned that beautiful photos taken during travels typically gets more visibility. The state-of-the-art smart phones can take stunning photos. Sometimes, it’s as good as the high definition cameras.
here are some great photos I took from my recent trip that I’ve turned into social media content.
I was going to write about my travel tips to Greece but I have to exercise discipline and focus this blog on marketing and business. If you are reading this and would like tips on traveling to Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos, feel free to message me.
I encourage you to travel and to travel solo at least once. Experience different cultures and surround yourself with beautiful and inspiring scenery. It will make you a better person and a more resilient and creative business owner.