By: Amanda Berzins
Exploring through travel opens up doors to new experiences and inspirations. It can introduce you to the unfamiliar, give you a fresh perspective, broaden thinking and even renew enthusiasm. Some journeys can be life changing, but at a minimum travel provides the opportunity to discover and learn about other environments, different people and insight about you.
To clarify, travel does not necessarily mean distant treks to foreign countries or different US states. Travel can be as simple as taking a weekend trip to visit a friend, exploring a farmer’s market in the next town over, attending a summer festival in a nearby city or planning a family outing. The main goal of travel is to encounter and gather new knowledge and experiences.
Here are some top reasons why one should travel:
Meet new people
As PR professionals it is important to continually build our contact networks. Travel is a great avenue for making new connections and diversifying a network. You never know who you may meet on the road e.g., people of different professions, ages, ethnic groups and cultural backgrounds. Travelers tend to naturally share experiences, exchange travel tips and discuss touring activities. You never know who you may meet, what new friendships may form and where these new connections can lead to, such as an internship in a European country, research project in California, a job in New York City, etc.
See, listen and learn
Travel provides a chance to encounter different situations from which to observe and learn. Take in what you see whether you are climbing a mountain in Colorado, taking a train through Italy or navigating through an unfamiliar neighborhood. Notice what you hear in conversations you have with different people, be it asking for directions, speaking with somebody from another city, state or country, or interpreting what somebody who does not have a high command of the English language is trying to communicate. What you see and hear exposes you to different topics and expands your thinking. These are things that can help with your next PR initiative or project.
Step out of your comfort zone
You cannot discover if you do not step out of your comfort zone. In PR one often has to be both proactive and reactive, so think of travel as helping you build character and stamina. Exploring a new environment can provide positive challenges. Some may find the first step in the travel process difficult, which is making a decision of where to go and then committing to that decision. Also, part of the travel process, no matter where you are going, is planning. These are easily achievable challenges to deal with, as the outcome is discovery and awareness. So get out of your chair, shut off the TV and put the iPhone away temporarily. Step out, so that you don’t miss out.
Once you have made the decision where to go and developed a travel plan, you should only focus on observing and seeing, hearing and learning. Allow yourself the time to not think about anything else, only about the travel itself. Enjoy this travel time as it is an adventure building memories, self-discovery and new perspectives. Travel can be your escape from routine and a break from the daily fast-pace.
While college students tend to be on tight budgets, there are ways to travel cheaply. Travel can be to somewhere nearby, someplace far away or in between. One can be creative in getting the right resources together i.e., money, transportation, lodging, companions, etc. for travel. Look for volunteer programs, promotional deals for transportation and accommodations, university initiatives, family celebrations, and so on. Make a wish list of far and near places you would like to see and experience. A wish list provides goals to work towards and motivation to achieve.