Why Entrepreneurs Need to Travel
This summer, I went on a roadtrip with two friends, traveling through the USA. One week of driving from Toronto to Buffalo and west to the Rockies, then south to Arizona (over 120°F), where we stayed for about a week.
While driving 5,000 KM over the course of a few days (we flew home, thankfully) may sound exhausting, there were great unexpected stops, lessons, new experiences and hilarious moments. As an entrepreneur, changing up your routine and being exposed to all of this can have an awesome impact.
Here are a few reasons why entrepreneurs should travel regularly, based on my experience.
Note: “Travel” here doesn’t refer to lying on a beach at an all-inclusive resort – that’s relaxing and disconnecting, which is great during overwhelming times. The travel I’m referring to is more about the experience, the journey, and actualy doing things.
The Benefits of Traveling for Entrepreneurs
1. Change of scenery inspires new ideas.
Whether they come to you on the trip – looking out the window as you drive down a busy city street for the first time – or when you’re back home in full work mode, there’s something about getting out of the house, office, or coffee shop and taking in a fresh view. It can quite literally change your perspective. “Change your external state, and you change your internal state.” There are also many articles about how a change in scenery can help with depression and ‘broken hearts‘ as well as improve your writing and more.
2. Meeting new people.
New networking opportunities are everywhere. Meeting new people while traveling can include customers or future business partners, even through a well-conected waitress or convenience store cashier. Expected or spontaneous, you can learn about the lifestyles of people in other areas, see how they think, get a sense of what people need or lack, and share your story and perspective with them. (Also, locals can give you far better recommendations than a travel website).
3. Exposure to other businesses and markets.
On the road you can see countless examples of what other businesses are doing and how they are positioning themselves. Since you’re in town, you can look into collaboration, or even borrow from their approach when you’re back home. You may even come up with a solution to a local problem, and create a new service offering or product out of it. (Again, something you could’ve only seen when you’re present there).
4. Added perspective (and your place in the world).
Traveling is a constant reminder of how massive the world really is, how small you are, and how much there still is for you to tap-into!
5. Time to think and reflect.
During day-to-day business operations, it’s tough to find time to really sit and think. While traveling, you can much more easily let your mind wonder (maybe out the window, through miles of endless fields; and in a case like mine, bare desert). You may ask “why” or “what if” about the things around you. Or you may dive deep into solving a problem you have back at work. (Take a look at this talk on The Power of Taking Time Off). The creative mind needs space to wander.
6. You can travel.
As a business owner, freelancer or entrepreneur, you’ve got tons of responsibilities – which also come with the benefit of freedom to make your own schedule! (You don’t have to give weeks of notice before leaving, or apply for days off work, or work your trip into a strict 7 days out of and entire 365). Plus, with so may tools available right on your smartphone, you can check-in with team members, set schedules, send and receive money, respond to emails, and even project manage and send invoices, all remotely (when you’re not in the midst of exploring, of course). When it comes to the cost of travel, writer Chelsea Fagan explains, “Traveling is often viewed as a luxury, something that we engage in lightly if we’ve checked off every other item on our list. But we spend money on so many other things, and put ourselves into massive debt on the gamble that the increasingly business-like college system will work for us. We feel that a few hundred bucks for a plane ticket is a frivolous expense, but 50k of debt is normal.”
Of course, there’s different degrees of travel, and even spending a weekend away in a nearby small town or retreat centre, for example, has lots of benefits.
If you’re convinced and are looking for a life of “constant adventure”, I suggest reading Chris Guillebeau’s book, The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World, which I wrote about right before graduating from university, right here.