Traveling is a time to relax. It’s a time to explore new parts of the world and make exciting new memories with your significant other, your friends, or your family — or yourself if you prefer to travel solo. Traveling is also an opportunity for personal growth because it opens up your mind to new areas, new interests, and new activities. But if I told you that traveling also gives entrepreneurs an advantage, would you believe me?
Many people don’t realize the number of companies that have been inspired by the formative travel experiences of their founders. TOMS, Kayak, Warby Parker, and Virgin Airlines might not be around today if their founders weren’t avid travelers. By finding new perspectives through traveling and by learning important lessons through the act of traveling, these founders went out on the road and returned with lucrative business ideas.
Not all travelers will become the next Blake Mycoskie or Richard Branson, and you shouldn’t expect to strike gold with a multi-million or multi-billion dollar company every time you set out on a trip. But traveling can be essential to an entrepreneur’s professional development, as it can enhance your confidence, equip you with problem-solving skills, and spur an open-mindedness that other entrepreneurs may not have.
If you’ve ever wanted to start traveling more, here are a few examples of how your next outing could help fuel your entrepreneurial spirit.
Stimulate Your Creativity
Entrepreneurs who become trapped in an environment or a routine for too long all understand how quickly feelings of burnout and stagnancy can occur. When you travel, especially internationally, it exposes you to an entirely new and diverse space. Depending on where you go, things like transportation, currency, language, and etiquette may all be different. You not only have to approach planning your itinerary differently, but you have to put in some extra thought to make sure you have the best trip possible. The more creative you are, the more fun your trip may be, so keep that creativity alive even as it applies to your professional endeavors.
Understand How to Read People Better
As I mentioned above, different areas have different lingual and behavioral customs. You will have to traverse language barriers, but you should also do research before you travel to help you better understand how to communicate with locals when you get there — even the way people interact and perceive body language is important to be aware of. Learning how to read people and understanding how to present yourself can help give you insight into how you can better interact with your clients or customers in the future.
Gain a New Sense of Patience
You can spend hours planning out your trip schedule only for nothing to go as planned. It’s important to be prepared, but it’s also important to be flexible so that any changes that happen during your trip don’t cause you any issues or frustrations. Being outside of your usual comfort zone and learning to adapt to a new environment can give you the patience and agility necessary to make you a great, productive entrepreneur.
The lessons you can learn and the traits you can pick up to make you a better entrepreneur can be found everywhere — so make sure to travel often.