Four Benefits of Business Travel

Four Benefits of Business Travel

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 Opinion: Currently I’m riding shot-gun as my companions and I drive through several states including Louisiana, Illinois, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
 
Traveling is something that not enough people do, and I encourage people to travel whether it is for business (if there is a choice given) or for pleasure. Traveling gives a new meaning, a new perspective, to how an individual views life. According to The Atlantic, “Mark Twain, who sailed around the coast of the Mediterranean in 1869, wrote in his travelogue Innocents Abroad that travel is ‘fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.’”
 
This week’s article I started writing in New Orleans, Louisiana. Instead of at my home in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am on vacation for the next two weeks and I thought this would be a great opportunity to see how business travel works. So far it has been staring at a small screen for short periods of time. I’ve devised a small list that illustrates just some of the benefits of travel. 

 1. Health Benefits
Now it may not seem like it but several studies have found that traveling improves physical, emotional and mental health. 
 
Physical health is difficult to maintain for many people across the United States, and for some the idea of business and exercise seems daunting. However, this may not be the case. According to US Travel News, “Travelers may also be more inclined to try new activities while in a new place, like paddleboarding, or hiking.” Last year while I was in Vermont I tried zip-lining for the first time. There were a lot of bridge crossings and balancing to be done. I really had to concentrate on the movements I made. 
 
The idea that travel can help your emotional well being might seem like a pseudo idea, but over the decades scientists have gathered a lot of evidence to back up their claims. According to Elizabeth Scott, a writer for Very Well with a master’s degree from San Diego State University, “It should come as no surprise that vacations that include plenty of free time bring stress relief, but research shows that a good vacation can lead to the experience of fewer stressful days at least five weeks later!”
 
Travel can increase your creativity, but it also allows the individual to adapt and think in different ways than he or she normally would. According to Psych Central, “As creativity is generally related to neuroplasticity (how the brain is wired), it means our brains are sensitive to change, influenced by new environments and experiences. According to the Columbia Business School’s Adam Galinsky, the key to getting a creativity boost is to really immerse yourself in the place and engage with its local culture; this open-mindedness can help you to embrace different ways of living.” Traveling to new places or to places that you do not frequent often can lead you to think on your feet and make quick decisions. While this is true, travel also leads a person to be more kind and compassionate. As an individual has gained a new understanding of how another person lives their life. 

 2. Exploration
I have traveled extensively, and after this trip to the South, I will have visited 30 plus states. Traveling to new places allows an accepting individual to gain knowledge and experience. 
 
When traveling I love to visit as many historic sites that I can, so that I may try and immerse myself into history. The picture below used to house slaves on an old plantation in Louisiana. The West Coast, in general, has nothing to connect us to the pre-Civil War days like the East Coast, where many of the historic sites are easily accessible. 
 
On my current trip in the South, I was traveling through Louisiana, and I pulled over to a visitor center. It was pouring down rain and every once in awhile there was thunder and lightening. The employee at the visitor center told us about slave houses that were still standing from their plantation days. I drove over the houses on an old Louisiana backroad, and at first, it seemed like there were only a few houses, but when I looked at the other side of the road there was easily about 30 houses. The houses were all rundown and in shambles. Knowing and reading about the history of slavery in this country and seeing its physical form left me feeling disgusted. I try to imagine it as it was and I cannot fathom a United States where slavery was allowed to exist, but I know it did. However, in many countries slavery is a problem that still exists. The exploration of the slave houses allowed history to come alive. The houses, after all these years, have not been burned down or destroyed. They’re still standing to serve as a lesson and a reminder that we are never done learning from our past.

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3. Meeting New People and Experiencing New Cultures
While traveling, an individual is exposed to not only a new environment but people with different cultural backgrounds. In New Orleans I booked a food tour because New Orleans is known for its melting pot of creole and cajun food. I experienced jambalaya, muffaletta (pictured below), po’ boys, beignets, pralines, and much more. On a business trip it’s a given that you must consume food, so why not eat what the locals eat? 
 
On the food tour I met a lovely couple from Michigan. The couple originally moved to the United States from Europe. On the tour we walked to different dining establishments, and at each one I would sit with the same couple while we talked about travel and life experiences. The couple came from a small town in Michigan where it takes them three minutes to get to work. The husband asked me if I preferred the Raiders or the Niners. I replied, “at the moment neither.” 
 
While traveling an individual never quite knows what is going to happen. The mundane and the repetitive drivel of office life is put away.

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4. Grow Networking Relationships
While traveling for business an individual comes in contact with many different people of different cultural backgrounds. These people may or may not work in the same line of business as the individual, but if the individual stays in communication it allows for the possibility of future networking arrangements. 
 
To steal a line from Nike: “just do it.” Just travel whether or not it is for business. Traveling is an experience in and of itself, but digging deeper and taking the time to immerse yourself into another place that is different than your own has many added benefits. 

Follow this author on Twitter: @jrichardson1776 

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