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Travel and Leisure

Why You Should Take a Year Off and Hit The Road

It may sound crazy, but there’s less holding you back from dropping everything and hitting the road than you might think. Ultimately, the biggest obstacle isn’t logistics, and it isn’t finances: it’s simply your state of mind. For far too many people, the only thing holding them back from this enormous adventure is their own belief that it can’t be done.

If you can get yourself to accept that taking a year to travel can come with enormous benefits, you’ll see that the sacrifices you have to make in order for it to work are worth it. Of course, you’ll have to plan it in advance, get your finances in order, and learn about where you’re going. However, once you do, there’s not much left other than reading up on the latest state department travel advisory and hitting the road!

Regain Perspective 

The trouble with adult life typically starts with the small habits that were originally meant to help you make our day-to-day lives run more smoothly. Patterns designed to remove unpredictability and instability from our routines are incredibly effective – so much so, that over time, any new stimulus or unexpected event becomes increasingly rare.

When you’re stuck in a routine, it can start to feel like life is passing you by. The days blend together, with nothing distinguishable to set them apart. This is the result of a lack of new experiences! After all, unpredictability is at the heart of the unexpected and the unknown.

This is why traveling for an extended period of time is so good for your mental health. It acts as a sort of ‘reset’ button, bombarding you with new and exciting situations in which you have to think on your feet and be at your best. Doing so slows things down, and helps you regain perspective over what really matters.

Improve Your People Skills

While you’re on the road, you’ll find yourself face to face with virtually every kind of person imaginable. Every single one of them represents an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and improve the scope of your people skills. Even if you’re already a social person, removing yourself from your network and diving into deep water can help you push your own boundaries!

While this may not seem like a hugely important aspect of travel at first, often the longest-lasting result of hitting the road are the life-long friendships made along the way. The experience of growing close to someone from a wildly different culture than your own is deeply beneficial for your head, heart, and soul.

If you’re considering taking a year to travel, remember:

  • Make an effort to try new things!
  • Stay in hostels, not hotels, and take part in their organized activities.
  • Ask around about walking tours. Spending a day with a group is a wonderful way to meet new people.

Finally, if you’re traveling to a country with a culture wildly different than your own, don’t shy away from awkward interactions. Learning local interpersonal customs and traditions is fascinating and rewarding!

Learn How to be Flexible   

One of the skills we seem to lose as we get older is knowing how to be flexible! Being able to go with the flow, and make the best out of an unideal situation, is a skill you have to develop. Once you do, it’s invaluable! Knowing how to stay calm in stressful situations, think on your feet, and rework your plans is fantastic in both your social life and career. There’s no better place to learn it than while on the road!

After all, travel is all about unexpected twists and turns. As much as it is possible, don’t plan the specifics of your trip! A good general rule is to have a list of sights and experiences you’d like to check off, while taking things one day at a time. Expect the unexpected!

Of course, there are certain situations you need to prepare more for than others, but that doesn’t have to change the spirit of exploration and discovery that you bring with you on the way. If you’re planning to hit the road by car, for example, check out our article on 10 travel essentials for a road trip!

Travel is an Investment in Your Career

If you’re quitting your job for this trip, don’t burn any bridges! Instead, politely put in your two weeks using Lensa’s two week notice template to make your goodbye as pleasant as possible. Why leave things on a positive note?

Because you’ll be back, of course! Hitting the road isn’t about turning your back on your life and career. Instead, it’s an unorthodox way of broadening your skillset and revitalizing yourself so that you can excel in it.

Time flies, and you’ll be back before you know it. Once you are, you’ll be getting to work with a clear head, hugely expanded people skills, the capability to be calm and flexible no matter what, and a fresh perspective on what you’re working towards and why.

What are you waiting for? Take a year off, and hit the road!

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