Entrepreneurial travel typically consist of meetings, conferences, summits, pitch competitions and networking events. As such, entrepreneurs rarely experience the places they visit. Due to their busy schedules, they miss out on interacting with residents, immersing themselves in the local culture, and sightseeing.
Last week, I returned to Chicago from my trip to Colombia. It was a rich and fruitful month of travel as I visited seven different cities.
From my experience, I have compiled seven reasons entrepreneurs should travel for leisure.
1. You learn more about yourself
When you visit a foreign place you are pushed out of your comfort zone. This is the best time for you to see your “true colors”. Your reaction to different cultural norms, unexpected tough situations, and interactions with fellow travellers will reveal traits you didn’t know you had.
As an entrepreneur, it is critical to know yourself. This self-awareness will allow you to recognize your strengths and weaknesses, your effect on others, as well as areas that you need to improve on.
2. It opens your mind
People tend to assume that they are experts in life because they have a wealth of social, academic and professional experiences. Once you are exposed to a different environment and culture, you realize how the knowledge you have is limited. Travel helps shift your perspective.
It becomes clear that your way of thinking is not necessarily the only one or the best out there. As an entrepreneur you need to be open-minded. That way you will be able to collaborate effectively with your team, investors and even clients in order to fulfill your vision.
3. It boosts your emotional intelligence
Travel gives you the opportunity to meet diverse individuals with incredible stories. It enables you to gain a better understanding of others and become more sensitive to happenings in the world.
Being book smart is necessary, but many of us forget about the experiential importance of emotional intelligence. Entrepreneurs need that to be able to understand both their workers and clients. The knowledge from books can’t help you relate to others through compassion and empathy, for example.
4. It fosters relationships
If you don’t trap yourself in a resort for the whole trip, then you will make new friends in the area you are visiting. You will be able to learn from and share knowledge with each other.
Through these new friendships, you may potentially meet a future business partner, mentor or investor.
5. It spikes creativity
Being stuck in the same daily routine can stifle your creativity. You may have “entrepreneur’s block.”
Blocks hurt productivity which is the opposite of what an entrepreneur needs. Traveling exposes you to new aspects of life that will refresh your mind and inspire your work.
6. It increases motivation
Being exposed to a different socio-economic environment is a great motivator. For example, experiencing life in a developed country shows you that the possibilities are endless.
On the other hand, visiting a less developed country may motivate you to use your work for the betterment of society.
7. It is relaxing
Travelling for leisure is relaxing. You get to step out of your bubble and see what’s really going on in the world. It gives you an opportunity to do what you want, when you want, and how you want to.
It gives you a break from the daily grind. Detoxing your mind in this way creates room for great ideas to flourish.