I remember in year 9 going to see the career adviser as we all had to have a mock job interview. A scary thought for a 14 year old more interested in boys, make-up and MacDonald's to have to answer some tough life questions about what you want to be when you grow up. I don't know many adults who have been able to answer that question. However, after quitting my 9-5 job and going travelling I have finally understood what it is I want as a career and managed to make this come true. The skills I learnt from heading off on my solo adventure has changed the way I live.
I am now a writer, part-time TEFL teacher and travel blogger. I get to be creative every day, be my own boss and find so much happiness in what I do which wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't taken that leap and booked that first plane ticket.
Travel helps you to be more confident. You learn to look at the world and really see it. Not what the TV shows you or pretty pictures in a glossy magazine but what it is like walking in the footsteps of those living completely different lives to you.
Travel helps you be more organised. Sounds simple but if you're not punctual for meetings or even rocking up to the office on time then expect your p45. Improving your ability to multi-task and organise your time is essential as when you travel you can't afford to miss that flight or train, you need to maximise the time you have in that new city without causing burn-out from cramming too much stuff in. Planning and preparation may sound dull but to make the most out of your trip and without damaging your credit card it needs to be done. Show any potential employer that you can make your way around six countries in five months on a budget and see how impressed they are.
Travel helps you to solve problems, it makes you think on your feet and come up with solutions for problems quickly. You need to get your next flight but the train you'd booked is massively delayed, it' s also a religious holiday that you'd never heard of so everything is closed and you can't afford a taxi ... what do you do? It's problems like these that are common to experience when you're away from home but how you deal with them will be a real asset both in the moment and for your future.
Travel helps you develop good communication skills, whether it's bartering in a crowded market or trying to speak a foreign language to understand the simplest of tasks. Interacting with people from different cultures and backgrounds will help you be more compassionate and a better listener.
Travel helps you to stay calm in stressful situations. Boy oh boy backpacking is no easy ride. Take a foreign country, turn up the humidity and heat then add a different language and customs and you've got yourself a recipe for stress. But being able to take a deep breath and overcome these harassed feelings is a skill in itself. When you travel you are out of your comfort zone but learning how to handle this will come in useful for work-life stress.
But travel isn't just a way to think about how you can impress at your next job interview it also gives you the time and space to think about what it is you really want. To change the career path you had found yourself on, to make a bold decision and to come up with a plan on how you can go out and grab that dream job.