Yesterday, my friend and I had a conversation about traveling when you have a demanding job. She is itching to travel abroad but is worried that she doesn’t have enough vacation time or that her company will not approve her time off. In the same conversation, she mentioned needing to move outside her comfort zone to be inspired and take stock at what she really wants to do with her life. My first thought: TRAVEL. NOW. DO IT!
I should admit I’m a bit of a hypocrite. I didn’t travel abroad or take a proper vacation until I was 35. That’s not entirely true. I did take time off for my honeymoon but I was in between jobs and didn’t have to worry about coming back to a full inbox and a laundry list of to-dos. Now that I’ve traveled abroad, I realize how important it is to experience different cultures and slow down a bit – especially in a fast-paced and creative field like Public Relations.
This blog was originally slated to be a recap of my recent vacation including my recommendations for food, culture, and shopping in Paris, Florence and Rome. But, my friend’s concerns got me thinking about how many other professionals out there have the same concerns. So instead, I put together a list of things to consider the next time you make excuses instead of travel plans.
1. Time off is good for your health: Studies show that vacations are just as important as exercise. They help cure burnout and chronic stress that’s epidemic in today’s 24-7 culture. The catch, it takes two weeks to take full advantage of these recuperative benefits. If two weeks away sounds like crazy talk, consider traveling during slow periods. I like to travel during Thanksgiving when things tend to slow down in the media world. It’s also the perfect time to travel to Paris and Italy if you like to avoid crowds and travel on a budget like I do.
2. Time off refuels your work: For me, this is reason enough to travel. My livelihood is based on staying fresh and creative. Visiting cities like Paris, Florence and Rome and truly immersing myself in the culture of these cities – touring the Louvre, seeing the David and St. Peter’s Basilica for the first time, spending the day learning more about The Roman Forum and Colosseum, eating gelato, pasta and drinking wine daily – jolted my creative thinking.
3. You’re not alone: Even though it was a client that originally pushed me to start traveling abroad, one of the most unnerving aspects of taking a vacation is letting my clients know I’ll be away. But that’s why you work in teams. I’m very fortunate to have a team that is willing to put in extra hours or take on more responsibility while I’m away. It helps to build vacations into our plans at least three months ahead of time to be extra prepared. In the end, your teams and clients will benefit from your renewed energy and perspective post-break.