Traveling is a Smart Personal (and Career) Investment
More than just a means to rejuvenate or another opportunity for sightseeing, I travel to improve my skills as a journalist. This is important for me as I’ve been in this business for the last 16 years and it’s getting more competitive.
I also spend a considerable amount whenever I go on leave from my work in order to travel. I’m not into luxury travel, but I need my creature comforts such as staying in a hotel room with air-con and ensuite bathroom and eating out in nice cafes. I want to spend my hard-earned money the right way, so instead of shopping, I’d rather spend my time and money attending writing and/or photography workshops.
Interestingly, there are a growing number of professionals who are traveling to invest in their career. Last February, the Wall Street Journal reported that learning holidays is one of the growing travel market segments. WSJ quoted a report issued by the U.K.-based Mintel International Group Ltd. A survey done by Mintel last year found that 27% of those interviewed want to learn a new language on holiday and about 25 % would like to take up a new skill.
There are several ways to go on a learning holiday. The next time you pack your bags and head to some exotic destination, you might want to include some of these in your travel itinerary:
1. Go art tripping
Spend more time going to museums, galleries and some historical sites. Looking and appreciating magnificent works of art will not only feed the mind and soul but enhance your creativity.
Being creative is not only valuable to those who work in arts or media-related fields. In her book “The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People,” counseling psychologist Carol Eikleberry said “creativity begins not with problem solving, but with problem finding – with the seeing or sensing of a problem. Creative people focus on what is wrong, what is missing, what needs to be changed to make something better.” Indeed, the more creative people are also the most productive people in the workplace.
2. “Develop” your hobby
There must be some hobby that you loved so much that it’s actually spurring you to do some major career shift. Problem is, you can’t get any formal training to take that hobby to the next level. Well, why not use your vacation time to attend short courses overseas?
These courses run from one day to about a week. Journeywoman.com has a list of travel companies that organizes leaning vacations all over the world. Check this out if you want to sign up for that photography workshop, culinary tour or a French language class.
If you’re going to Southeast Asia, I personally recommend Objectifs Centre for Photography and Filmmaking in Singapore and the Yoga Barn in Bali. Objectifs offers a variety of photography courses from a two day workshop on
street photography to two-month beginners course on photography. Yoginis who want to deepen their practice and consider a career as a yoga teacher may head to Bali and sign up with Yoga Barn’s yoga holiday.
3. Blog about it
Blog about your travels and establish your expertise online. Being a blogger will allow you to focus your energies and hone your expertise. What you constantly blog about will make you more knowledgeable about that subject. Blogging doesn’t only entail writing a post but also researching and analyzing the ideas at hand). But more than that, blogging has evolved from a mere online diary to a tool that allows anyone to market one’s expertise.
For example, if you work in the hotel and restaurant industry, your blogsite can include your critique of the meals that you ate, restaurants that you visited and hotels that you stayed in. You can also blog about the food culture in that place that you visited.
There are many free sources on the net if you want to know more about blogging. A couple of free e-books that I can vouch for is Erica Douglass’s Blog Success Manifesto. and Leo Babauta’s How I got over 150,000 Subscribers.
4. Travel for a cause
Go abroad and volunteer your services to a non-profit agency of your choice. More than a way to contribute to a better world, volunteering allows you to use and enhance existing skills while at same time acquiring new ones.
Volunteers need to always think on their feet and with only a few resources, you’ll be forced to find a way to do what needs to be done. You can download this free ebook Your Totally Awesome Guide To Volunteer Travel for anything and everything that you want to know about voluntourism.
If you’re in Nepal, I suggest that you go to Pokhara, and spend a few days as English teacher to trekking guides trained by the Chettri sister of the Three Sisters Adventure Co. Not only will you empower the Nepali women by helping them be financially independent but you can also enhance your teaching and language skills.
(Main post image by Paul Stocker)
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