Why Travel is the Best Thing for Career Success

Originally written as a contributing piece for The Women in Leadership Nexus

There are three things I miss about Connecticut (besides friends and family, of course): the foliage, the architecture and the pizza. Sorry California, but your one yellow-ish leaf doesn’t compare to the mounds of multi-colored piles beautifully scattered across New England lawns. Your one-dimensional homes can’t hold a candle to the stone clad Tudors and historic Colonials. And your pizza… I won’t even start (#Pepesforever).

Don’t get me wrong, I love California: the beautiful beaches, laid-back culture and mild winters. But I’ve found that sometimes in life you need to switch things up. You need a fresh perspective outside of daily or weekly self-care activities.

Sometimes, you need to do something drastic. For me, that means traveling cross-country to visit my roots. Having recently returned from a week-long trip (where I thoroughly enjoyed those three things I miss most), I was reminded of the importance of self-removal.

You know how sometimes in life you just feel… eh? Nothing is necessarily wrong; work is fine, friends are fine, relationships are fine. But somehow, someway your daily schedule has grown stale. There’s little that seems to invigorate you—even after that venti latte—and you can’t quite put your finger on what’s going on. Well, this is exactly how I was feeling before I boarded my plane to Connecticut.

In fact, I felt guilty for sensing anything but thankfulness for the life and career I have (anyone else struggle with the guilt of not constantly appreciating what you have for fear you’ll come off as ungrateful?). How dare I think of emotionally or mentally replenishing myself?

Every day most of us drive along the same one-way, narrow lane. After driving it monotonously, it can become difficult to see or perceive anything else. You can feel trapped, asphyxiated even. Being away reminded me of the magical, soul-refreshing effect of travel.

In interacting with friends, strangers and acquaintances, I was able to veer out of that lane and be stimulated by the life and experiences of others: their challenges, good news to share, and achievements. My brain was fed by the nourishing processes of comparing and observing.

This enabled me to see my own life through a different set of lenses, and it put things into perspective. Stressors began to dissipate. Once-blurry ideas were now in a larger, clearer focus. The distance changed everything. Now, back and settled into the office, I feel motivated again. I feel a new appreciation for this sparkling life I’ve carved out for myself. I’m proud of it, and who I am.

So, if you’re feeling in any way like I did I encourage you to pack up and go. Explore a new destination or perhaps visit your roots. It’s amazing what a little distance can do.