This blog post was updated on October 8, 2018.
Most people may not get more than a few weeks of vacation time each year, so this is generally the standard mindset individuals put them into when they start to think about their annual holiday trips and destinations.
But, have you ever considered taking a longer stint off to do a bit of extended travel?
I’ve already blogged about the financial benefits to long-term travel, as well as the skills this sort of travel helps you acquire, but now is the time to talk about what is probably crossing your mind right now: How does this hurt or, better yet, benefit your work life?
As the idea of long-term travel branches out from the normal university and gap year student range, the career break opportunity is becoming a very popular idea, and not just because people want to do nothing.
It comes from the need to break routine once in a while and simply do something different – and that just might improve your work life more than you think.
New Skills: Traveling for an extended period of time, whether that be 3 months or 1 year, can easily help you acquire new skills, especially ones that are beneficial to your current job. You can acquire another language or better cultural understanding that is perfect for those that work in an international environment. Those hours you spent bartering prices in the markets can translate to better sales skills, while being able to handle finances for travels all over the world can just make you a better planner in both work and home life.
Fresh Outlook on Work: I find that taking time off work helps you come back with a kick. However, traveling to some areas of the world might also make you really appreciate the opportunities available to you back home, including a job that was starting to seem monotonous day after day.
Besides being appreciative of your job, travel also opens up the possibility of discovering new ideas that can be brought back and integrated into your work. Imagine discovering a new dish to make in your restaurant, a new way to decorate your shop or maybe a new product worth selling back home.
Relaxed and Healthier: When you’re going, going, going all the time, you get caught up and rarely get a chance to unwind. If you feel that weekends are over as soon as they start, and two-week holidays were barely a getaway, then extended travel may be what’s needed in your life to simply relax. It’s unfortunately a live-to-work sort of culture, and sadly that makes many people overlook what is important in life, such as our health and sanity. I think that when we have personal happiness and well-being, it is much easier to focus and be productive in our working lives.
Theoretically, it works, but can you convince your boss? All jobs and companies have different needs, so whether or not you can take a sabbatical of sorts to travel the world is not something I can answer. What I can interject, however, is the logic involved with allowing employees an extended leave once in a while. If you’re feeling like this article makes great sense to you, then why not take these points to your boss – especially if they are forward-thinking and wanting to have you around and happy in the long-run – and see what happens. You may just find yourself on a flight to some exotic destination (the first in a string of locations on your round-the-world trip) sooner than you think!