This summer I have travelled alone to six different cities. For work and pleasure. I had forgotten how powerful it is to not go with a friend, partner or family.
You will lie to yourself as I did: “I prefer to go with someone else, I like sharing experiences”.
Of course you do! But here are five reasons why travelling alone will connect you once again to your life and profession.
Even if it is just for a few days. You will:
1. Approach other people
If you travel to somewhere with a lot of tourists/travellers, you will inevitably end up talking to others. People are more relaxed and open on their travels, so you can practice natural mingling, making it easier to do the same when you return to that more contrived networking-event environment.
2. Meet people from various cultures
One of the most valuable learning experiences is talking to and spending time with people from other cultures. Not only does this help you to improve your cross-cultural communication at work, but it is deeply fascinating and inspirational. From dipping into different ways of talking, seeing the world and living, you can get more perspective on your own.
3. Connect with people on another level
Thanks to the fact that people (and you!) are more laid-back when travelling, you can connect with others on another level. And connection is one of the ultimate skills in life. In our busy, routine lives we rarely have time to do that and conversation can become limited, repetitive. This time, travelling alone, I found myself talking about everything from the best combination of typical Italian cakes and white wine, to how prisoners in Venice felt on their last night on death row… You also laugh a lot…
4. Constantly have to make decisions
This one is for the indecisive. Indecision is a barrier to leadership (of your life, your team, your business, your family). Travelling alone knocks that out of you. Enough said.
5. Be forced to spend time alone
If the thought of having time alone outside of familiar activities makes you shudder, the sooner you travel with yourself the better. You will gain insights that are smothered by constant company, conversation and programmed activity. As a result, you will see your life from a neat little angle. This angle, plus the energy and skills you gain from the above points, could explode your demotivation, leading you to your next steps in your life and profession.
Take a pen and paper. Though, don’t take yourself too seriously – you may not be the monk who sold his Ferrari (yet). Sometimes it is enough to swim a while outside your comfort zone in an enriching, water-slide-filled pool. And enjoy it.