Travel in itself is a great way to expand your horizons. Exploring unfamiliar places, meeting new people and experiencing something out of your norm can increase your creativity and flex your cognitive ability. And while just the state of being outside of our comfort zone might be enough for some of us, many travellers want even more intellectual stimulation while on a trip. Throw obligatory business duties into the mix, and you might find yourself burned out instead of inspired.
Just like any of the other components of wellbeing we have discussed, you need to dedicate and plan time to focus on what matters to you. And if intellectual wellness is of top priority, here are some ways to push your intellectual capacity and self-growth while travelling:
Choose wisely: If your business travels take you to an event with sponsored activity choices, select an activity that is completely different from something you have done before. This is not the time to play it safe (metaphorically speaking—buckle up in that ATV). Another intellectually stimulating choice would be something that immerses you in the location’s culture, history or cuisine. For example, a swamp tour or a French cooking class while in Louisiana might stretch your brain muscles more than a round of golf (unless you’ve never swung a set of clubs before).
Expand your expertise: The pursuit of knowledge and life-long learning is essential for long-term brain health and memory. If you are at a conference with educational sessions or panels, attend one that expands your knowledge or covers a topic that is completely undiscovered to you. You might not see how it directly relates to your job or industry, but you’ll find nuggets of information that you can apply to your day to day. Or you may walk away with a new-found curiosity in something you can dig into as a personal interest, without direct correlation to your job.
Join in: We have all been in small meetings or at conferences with icebreakers or group exercises and felt a tad uncomfortable and inclined to keep quiet. But situations like this present a great time to learn and grow from others. Speak up, voice your ideas and opinions, and listen and learn from others at the table. You could walk away with a new perspective, idea or innovative approach to take back to your office. The act of lively discussion alone expands your intellect.
Jot it down: Journaling exercises your brain and helps you retain information. Throughout your time travelling, keep a journal to quickly write down new ideas, experiences or thoughts you might want to refer back to when home. Writing is also therapeutic and improves your social and mental wellbeing by expressing your emotions and letting go of anxieties and frustrations.
Make it last: Make moments last post trip by continued learning and exploration. Remember that French cooking class we talked about above? Practice some of the techniques (and fun) from that class in your kitchen, and even try some new recipes. Remember to look for articles, TED talks or podcasts related to a panel or education session that was especially intriguing to you. Read through your journal and note what peaked your curiosity through your travels and add a book on the subject to your Kindle. Continue down the path to self-growth and pursue new avenues to fuel your mind.
Just like any muscle, you need to feed and exercise your brain in order for it to strengthen. Travel presents many opportunities to keep your mind well, so dive right in. Once you get out of your comfort zone and get over the common fear of ambiguity, leverage your travel experiences to learn and grow.
For more information on wellness while travelling, and how to become #travelproof, visit https://www.tandtstatesman.com/travelproof