Travel provides moments that live in our minds forever. The people, experiences and senses that we encounter are like nothing “back home”.

This form of escapism not only provides us with a break from normality, but a new goal to aim for when we do sink back into the 9-5.

 

Travel promotes inward reflection

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We’re always looking forwards, with the ‘now’ being a means to an end. We’re working to afford our time off. We want to fast forward until we get to our preferred destination. How often is it that you have something to look forward to, a holiday maybe, that in the build-up you’ve switched on auto-pilot? Weeks and months go by without making the most of that time.

Now, there’s definitely a reason behind that. When on holiday, you tend to live “your best life”. Escapism is a powerful tool, but what are you escaping from? Travel is a great leveller, it gives you time to assess where you’re at with things.

The number of people I know that have changed jobs after they’ve travelled, or started a new hobby, is very high. It’s a time to have incredible experiences, but when you mirror these against your everyday situation, it’s a chance for inward reflection. Travel can either give you a huge kick for change or make you appreciate what you’ve got more. One area that is often looked at, considering it will take up a third of your life, is your career.

 

It allows you to be open with your career

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A few people are blessed in knowing exactly what they want to do in life, so a holiday is a nice way to unplug, reset and recharge.

For the majority, we’re still understanding the direction we wish to go with our career, so we return with glum faces once the sun’s gone. Your career is an important topic to think about, but keep it high level if you don’t know which way to point. If you’re unsure of what role you’d want to do, look at industries that interest you, or values you consider important in a business. Both provide you with rough guidelines and will inform what and where you’re looking.

But be open to change as you change. Opportunities arise everywhere, especially if you’re working abroad on a working holiday visa. These opportunities form the basis of how you can develop your career from this point on.

 

You gain hard skills

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If you do work abroad on a working holiday visa, these opportunities lead to new, measurable ‘hard skills’.

You may get a role with a marketing firm and pick up new understandings of social media platforms, or you could work in a bar and learn new till systems. Hard skills are these teachable abilities you come away with.

At worst, you’re solidifying your CV with useful tools. At best, you could stumble into a sector you love, allowing you to kick on with your career.

 

You develop soft skills

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Soft skills are traits you can develop which are not limited to any one job.

Being a team player, having empathy and problem solving are a few soft skills that you’ll develop in new jobs in new destinations.

These experiences also help show what you value in the workplace. Discovering these will help you to ensure your future job searches align with what is important to you.

 

You add relevant experience

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If you’re one of the lucky ones who know what they want to do with their career, you’ll be able to focus your job search into the relevant role or industry.

Being able to showcase your ability in that sector worldwide will add weight to your CV, and speaks volumes about you as a person. If you’re not sure of the direction you want to go, working abroad in any role provides you with the opportunity to gain new experience in an industry you want to be in, or in gaining transferrable experience to take into something else.

Each experience is a great lesson, which you can use to double down on or to help cross things off and narrow your focus elsewhere.

 

Travel opens new avenues

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When travelling, everyone can be themselves.

There’s no pressure from society or expected behaviours from friends. You don’t have to conform with what’s expected of you and once that seatbelt is off, you find that people start doing what they really want to do. The need to survive is replaced with a need to thrive, and what you value will start influencing your choices. I ditched a corporate sales job and eventually became a water-ski instructor because that’s what would make me happy.

Travel allows you to see what your values are, and on doing that, it allows you to look for new avenues where you can be in a role that matches them.

 

Travel can be a career itself

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People believe that when they travel, it’s a hiatus from work.

“I’ll go and have fun then it’s back to the grind, but I wish I could always travel.” Now although it’s a big ask for constant travel (I’m sure if you did, you’d actually then want a steady home life – the grass is always greener), you can certainly be in an industry which provides what you love. Ironically, travel as an industry is one of the industries that value the fact you’ve taken time away from your career. Travel is a passion, and by seeing the world, you’ve displayed that passion.

Utilising that in a role you love makes that 9-5 so much easier. You’ll no doubt also get perks of the job, but being able to work on something you have a passion for is a game-changer.

For over a decade I have moved and worked abroad, and also backpacked elsewhere. From being a wakeboard instructor in the US to a Tour Manager in New Zealand and now a Project Manager and Travel Editor here in the UK, travel has shaped my life by accident, but in the most positive way.

 

It’s impossible to argue with the many benefits that travel can have, if you look to use them. For some, its ability to refresh allows you to head back to your career full of energy. For others, the chance to reflect provides direction in life and answers to questions.

Whichever it is, if you’re open to experiences and are willing to learn from them, then in both the short and long term, your career will receive a major boost.

 

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