“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
Vacation and work tend to be seen as mutually exclusive. Travel however, can influence your career in positive ways that you might not have realised. Not only are you relaxing and taking time to recharge, but your experiences broaden your perspectives in ways you never anticipated.
Robin Haak has spent a significant amount of time travelling, and each city that he stayed in affected him differently. Cities like Ipswich, Harrow, Swanage, Sevilla, Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Havana, Tulsa, Naples, New York City, Salzburg, Holzminden, Cologne, Vienna, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg and his hometown of Hannover have each left their mark.
Many things have influenced him positively, with friends and family being there particularly in tough times, but traveling has had a great impact. Why? Because moving from place-to-place is all about the people. Here, he shares his two cents about how travel positively impacts your work:
Finding How You Fit
When you travel, you are forced to meet new people. If you don’t make an effort, you end up alone and experiences are always enhanced by having someone to share them with. Meeting a new bunch of people is like starting off in elementary school again and trying to navigate the group dynamic. Developing tactics and learning different ways to enter and fit into a group will benefit you when starting with a new team or company.
Picking Up Cultural Influences
Meeting new people and experiencing different cultures change your life and influence how you see the world. Some cultures are so perfect for us that you want to stay in the new place that you’ve found. Or maybe, you take a part of that culture back home with you and introduce it to your own world. Maybe you might open a restaurant or just carry an aspect of that cultural shift in your personality. However you carry it with you, keeping the best of all the cultures you experience in your heart will strengthen your career.
Learning How To Network
Traveling is the best networking training you will ever get. You constantly meet new people and have to make new friends. It opens you up to everyone as you’re not shackled with the social expectations of home, and you learn to take people as they are. Some people go to St. Tropez to meet celebs, but the most interesting people turn up in unexpected places. Once I went to Sligo, and I had the talk of my life with a fisherman in a pub at 4am. He helped me see how to fix relationships back home. It’s important to remember how many facets there are to this game they call life.
Remembering Who You Really Are
When you’re on the road, it’s not about how much money you have, or how qualified or educated you are. It’s just about you. It’s about how you react to the world and the people in it and you realise who you are at your core. You will carry whatever masks are in your collection for as long as you can, but one day you will realise it has fallen away and it’s just you. And nobody else needs to notice but you. For me, I was walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela and I cried randomly along the way. Suddenly all of my life had changed and I became part of groups I had never imagined being accepted into, or indeed that I would like it. That’s when your horizons start to grow.
Getting lost is a big fucking deal. I think it’s part of travel to get lost, and it’s a really important thing. That how you learn. When you’re young, getting lost is so exciting and no matter where you are in your life, getting lost can scrape away the years and make you feel curious and young again. You’ll get lost in work too. It’ll happen often. But the important thing is to remember to be honest about and start finding your way to a solution.