Posted On: June 8, 2015
Writing this piece while my Cancun/Panamanian tan has yet to fade makes it very easy to reflect on the importance of travel. Yes, travel can be stressful and yes, travel can break the bank. Air Canada is now the owner of my entire month of pay checks – but travel is hugely beneficial to building your character, testing your limits, opening your mind and let’s be honest, expanding your cocktail party banter.
Forgive me as I totally paraphrase a great quote, but experiences are like marks on a piece of paper. You start off blank and then with every new experience or new adventure, you have a new mark – a mark that contributes to the final artwork that is you. And one thing you can’t avoid when traveling is experiences!
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, traveling isn’t all beaches and afternoon pints. On my recent trip, there were moments of stress that definitely rival my day-to-day at the office challenges. For example – upon arrival at our Cancun resort for a family wedding, we were told our room reservation was never made. And the hotel was fully booked. Traveling often forces you to make quick decisions, change your plans on the fly, or deal with an immensely stressful situation with limited tools. But how you manage these times of stress and tackle these challenges shows you what you are made of. Knowing how you react in times of immense stress and come up with a solution in a short time frame is always going to be valuable in a work environment. Or for some, traveling is a way to come face-to-face with your fears. I am terrified of heights, but that didn’t stop my partner and I from sourcing out one of the more strenuous hikes in El Valle, Panama climbing all the way up to the ridge. Although I have to admit, the photos of me sweating, shaking, white as a ghost and verging on a breakdown at the top are not my most flattering memories of the trek.
One thing you’ll notice when you travel, people live differently than you do. Even every day things are done in completely different ways around the world, as people tackle unique daily life challenges. Each country I visit, I try and take a cultural habit back home with me. Nothing is better than indulging in an Italian Aperitivo afternoon on a summer Saturday, or Swiss Raclette on a cold winter’s night. Want to encourage people to live more green? Fribourg, Germany has some amazingly innovative ideas about how to green our future – and Germany itself hopes to be completely free of nuclear power reliance by 2022. Next time you’re on a trip, try and pick up a new way of doing things or solving a problem. It will hugely impact your work or home life – bonus points if it involves sangria!
Nothing starts a conversation with a stranger faster than, “Wanna see a picture of me with a sloth?” Travel is the great uniter, you can reminisce with people about the places you’ve both been or you can learn about places you want to go. My dream trip at the moment is Croatia and I could happily listen to a stranger talk about Dubrovnik or Sofia for hours.
Here at Q Media, we’re all game for a good story. It’s why our Friday family lunches are simultaneously a stand-up comedy routine and a classroom session – we share, learn and listen to one another’s stories and become better story tellers because of it. The more I travel, the more I have to bring to Friday lunches or chats with a client on a shoot.
And each one of my traveling adventures has benefited my work. How do I know I can handle an upcoming project with a tight deadline? Because if my partner and I can travel throughout the Panamanian interior using the public transportation system with VERY limited Spanish, then I am pretty confident I can handle anything. So get out there, pack a bag and pick a place – because travel is an expense you will never regret and will always be an important part of your personal growth.