It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn when I travel. I have been lucky enough to go on a few international trips, and each time I return home I feel like a new part of me has been awakened. Travel sparks an insatiable desire in me to contribute to this breathtaking world and to be a part of innovative ideas that expand knowledge prompt social and economic progress.
My last trip was to Nicaragua with Under30Experiences. Words cannot begin to capture how moved I was by the microfinance lessons I learned as well as the people I met. I came back ready to take on the world and was excited to hermit with my work (yes, this often surprises people but my crazy propensity to work is the topic for another discussion).
Here are some of the lessons I learned on this trip:
1) Do Your Homework
You have probably heard that you get what you put into something. The amount of preparation you do for a client meeting or presentation will probably pay off since you will be comfortable with the material and able to focus on questions and discussion you spark rather than struggling to remember every detail and fact.
To be honest, I wish I had brushed up on my Spanish and done a little bit of research into the history of Nicaragua before I went on the trip. The Under30Experiences team was very lucky to have someone who was born in Nicaragua and spoke fluent Spanish (thank you Cesar!) to help translate for us. But next time I travel I am going to be more prepared, that way I can learn even more!
Entrepreneur Tip: Be prepared for every situation you enter. Going to meet a new investor? Google him and find out what he does and what he is passionate about.
2) Never Confine Your Thinking
It is so easy to fall into a traditional way of thinking and accept custom and routine as the only way to do things. But going through the motions has a way of stifling your creativity and limiting your perspective to what has been done before.
When I travel, my routine is different and I’m exposed to new foods, sights, and people. As a result my thinking is more creative and problems are less daunting to tackle.
Entrepreneur Tip: Don’t put any limits on your thinking or problem solving. Sure, you may have a few wild ideas, but those wild ideas may just be the solution you were looking for.
3) Go With the Flow
Travel plans rarely go as expected- but usually it’s the detours and wrong turns that take you off the beaten path and into adventure that you remember for the rest of your life. I’m a Type-A never-go-anywhere-without-my-planner type of person, so my initial reaction is usually one of stress and frustration. But some of my favorite memories were made when I let go off my well-laid plans and let life happen.
Entrepreneur Tip: Business doesn’t always go exactly the way you planned. Stressing and dwelling on what went wrong isn’t going to change the present, so let go. Take some time to regroup and re-strategize and learn from the new path you’ve embarked on.
4) Don’t Make Assumptions
Our experience of the world is a mosaic of sensory encounters. Our brains put together sounds, sights, tastes, and touch to build an understanding of the world around us. Without all of this information, we sometimes make connections where there aren’t any.
When traveling, there is no such thing as a stupid question. It’s less embarrassing to ask at the beginning than to pretend to know the customs and rules of a different culture.
Entrepreneur Tip: Go into every meeting and business encounter with an open mind.
Travel has a way of opening your mind and your heart. I am going to make a dedicated effort to remember these lessons, especially when I am not traveling so that I can bring that sense of exhilaration to my daily routine. It’s easy to fall into routine and simply go through the motions, but you can have engaging discussion and spark your creativity without leaving the country. Change your perspective and challenge yourself to think critically.
What business lessons did you learn on your last adventure? Share them in the comments!
If you are really ready to break out, challenge yourself, and be around other ambitious people in an exotic, creative environment, check out our new travel company Under30Experiences and join us in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
Enter to win a Trip of a Lifetime to Costa Rica via Under30Experiences.
Cara Murphy is Editor here at Under30CEO. She is also Associate Marketing Manager at the Juvenile Diabetes Cure Alliance and Managing Editor at Conscious Magazine. She can’t live without coffee, crossword puzzles, travel, and multi-tasking. Follow her @cmurphs12 for inspirational quotes and musings.