If you mention you’re thinking of taking a year off work in order to go traveling for a year, there are likely going to be people who tell you this is a bad idea. This type of trip can be seen as a bit self-indulgent, or as just an excuse to avoid employment, to those who have never had the guts to go on such an adventure. The reality is this year of travel can be one of the best investments you ever make.
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
Spending a year lying on a beach in the Caribbean, or partying on one of the Thai islands, probably isn’t going to provide much in the way of personal development, but this is not what most people mean when they talk about traveling for a year. This type of adventure is more about experiencing different cultures and developing enough confidence to be able to arrive in a strange country and quickly sort out all the essentials (e.g. finding somewhere to stay).
Question – when’s the best time to go traveling?
Answer – as soon as possible.
Some experts say it is best to go on this type of trip right after college, before you are caught up in your career, but there is never really a wrong time for this kind of adventure. Even if you have gone well beyond middle-age, there are still plenty of reasons to justify taking this year off – in fact, there may be even more of a need if you have grown dissatisfied with your life.
Traveling the world for a year is going to be an amazing experience, and here are just seven of the ways it is going to benefit your career:
Travel Puts You Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
If you are expecting a trip around the world to be only about lying in a hammock on exotic beaches while sipping papaya smoothies, you may be in for a rude awakening. The reality is you are likely to be constantly challenged as you try to negotiate with strange cultures, new languages, and a different way of doing things. Travel can be stressful, but it teaches you how to live outside of your comfort zone.
One of the most common reasons why people struggle to get ahead in their career is they don’t like to leave their comfort zone. It’s just so much easier to stick with what you know and not push yourself too hard unless the boss is breathing down your neck. It usually doesn’t take long for people to figure out how to just coast along in their career, but this means accepting mediocre rewards. Travel gets you used to being outside your comfort zone.
It Helps To Get The Travel Bug Out Of Your System
It’s going to be hard to feel enthusiastic about your career if you have an unsatisfied craving to see the world. It can mean you can’t fully commit to what you’re doing now because of the inner conviction you are missing out on something important.
This dissatisfaction over what is missing from your life can easily lead to you hating your job. You may find it much easier to settle into your career once you have got the travel bug out of your system.
Travel Looks Good On Your Resume
The fact that you have seen a bit of the world makes you appear more attractive as a candidate for a job. The interviewer is likely going to appreciate how challenging this type of adventure can be, so it reflects well on your character – this type of experience is better than any self-development course. It also means you have something interesting to say about how your year away is going to allow you to perform better in your career (e.g. see getting out of your comfort zone above).
If you don’t make an effort to provide some details of your adventure, it can look on your resume as if you have just been unemployed for a year. Be sure to give a brief summary of your travels, as well as your reason for taking this time off (make it sound positive). If you do this right, it is going to appear more impressive than a year of work experience.
You Can Get Impressive Work Experience While Traveling Abroad
Working your way around the world not only pays for your trip, but it is also going to benefit your career. Options like teaching English in Thailand, working in a vineyard in France, or spending time in an office in England, is sure to be a rewarding experience in many ways, and you can apply what you learn to any future position. Even if the work you do while away is completely unrelated to your chosen career, it is still going to mean you pick up useful skills and knowledge – it also increases your ability to think outside of the box.
One of the other nice things about working while traveling the world is you are likely to experience things you would otherwise never consider. You may find that you enjoy something like teaching English so much that you actually decide to change your career when you go back home. This work experience is also going to mean you have more options in life and that can be important considering how uncertain the future can be.
A Year of Travel Is Sure To Boost Your Self-Confidence
Using your wits to navigate your way around the world is going to change your personality. It is going to mean you are less afraid of change, and you’ll find it easier to face challenges.
The fact that you’ve managed to survive this adventure is going to give your self-confidence a huge boost, and this will make it easier for you to take control of your career. You’ll have a much better understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, and this is going to give you an edge in life.
A Year Abroad Is Going To Broaden Your Mind
It’s a bit of cliche but travel can broaden your mind. Of course, this is far less likely to happen if you spend all your time with other tourists, only speak in English, and eat all your meals at McDonald’s or KFC.
If you make the effort to see things through the eyes of a different culture, it is going to change your worldview. It means you are going to be less naive, and you won’t just assume your culture does everything the ‘right’ way. This improved ability to understand the world can make you more effective in your career, and it can also boost your creativity.
Travel The World To Find Yourself
One of the biggest sources of dissatisfaction people can have in life is the nagging feeling of lack of purpose and meaning. If you are not sure about what you want from life, how can you make the right career choices?
You may have over half-a-century of work ahead of you, so it makes sense that you would want to find yourself now because you just might not have the time for such reflection later. Taking a year off now could mean you miss out on the mid-life crisis where you wake up one morning and realize you have no idea who you are anymore.