Travel to learn
We have all heard the saying that ‘he who has not ventured outside his village thinks that his mother is the best cook’. A variation of the Swahili saying that ‘kusafiri kwingi ni kuona mengi’ – that he who travels a lot learns a lot.
Well, the Christmas holidays beckons and with them, an opportunity for travel. However, this year, you might reconsider something a bit removed from the usual annual countryside pilgrimage. Say a visit to a foreign part of the country, outside the country or one of those three or five day on-the-road excursions. Of course, within reasonable budget. Why?
Travel to another part of the country or globe will afford you the opportunity to learn another culture. Expressions of culture include customs, dressing, food and means of livelihood. As such, learning from another culture will help you expand your horizons at a personal level, as an employee or as a business. For example, how does the community you have travelled to treat their young or their old? How do they treat visitors? How do they resolve conflict? What are the lessons learnt that can translate into personal and business practices and enhance growth?
Being in a new environment allows for introspection as you are removed from the mundane. What areas of your personal or business relationships are you excelling at? Which areas are you failing at? Which relationships do you need to strengthen? Which ones do you need to cut loose? What about your spirituality? Such introspection helps define you as you ought to be and hence you can create concrete plans for their realisation as you are lucid in thought. To maximise on this, travel into natural surroundings – the beach, a lodge at the heart of a national park- where you can fully immerse yourself in nature and the serenity that comes with it. In the words of Johnny Nash’s I Can See Clearly Now:
I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Travel can enhance your communication skills. This is so as you will need to arrive at a consensus with, say, your partner, as to the holiday destination. Or if you are part of a travel group, you will need to reach out to others in the group in order to have your needs catered for, say, an allowance in the diet to accommodate a medical condition or religious obligation. Such travel also enables you to connect with your partner at a deeper level or form new friendships if travelling with strangers, more so, if the itinerary dictates that you spend a considerable amount of time in each other’s company.
Travel allows you the opportunity to move out of your comfort zone, i.e. that which is familiar, a particular sequence of thinking or doing things or perception. This is so as you come to the realisation that there is a whole new world out there and that things can be done differently. As a business owner, you might also realise new markets for your products or services or new technologies to enhance your productivity.
That said, travel will only do you good if you travel with an open mind, else, it will not do you much good. In the words of Charles Caleb Colton, “Those who visit foreign nations, but associate only with their own country-men, change their climate, but not their customs. They see new meridians, but the same men; and with heads as empty as their pockets, return home with travelled bodies, but untraveled minds.”