Whether you travel for business, or travel for the sake of travel, you are bound to become a better freelancer.
Here’s what I have learned from working and travelling with the Obvious Choice on their travel and incentive programmes on my journey as freelancer:
Travel improves your planning and time management skills.
Travel involves a lot of planning – from the itinerary, to the booking of flights, accommodation, transport, logistics and the obtaining of all relevant travel documents.
Here I’ve learned that timing is everything. Sleep on a flight- or accommodation-deal and you’ll have to deal with the consequences of paying more than you have budgeted for. The same applies to your business or project. Procrastination can cost you a missed deadline; another deadline can cost you a client, and in the end, procrastination can cost you your business. Act on the deal immediately. Don’t procrastinate.
You learn how to schedule and stay updated with your paperwork.
Just like you need to update your paperwork for a relevant passport or visa for your international travels, you need to ensure that your project’s paperwork, spreadsheets and documents are all up to date – easily accessible and ready to be sent from whenever and wherever you are.
Being out of the country does not mean that you are completely unreachable. Always have a copy of your proof of residence, a certified copy of your ID or driver’s license, your tax number and an invoicing app or system on standby while abroad.
Language barriers in foreign countries can improve your communication skills.
Ever been lost and needed directions from another person in another country who does not speak your language, but in the end, by giving him your full attention and by observing his hands gesturing into different directions you got sorted?
Miscommunication often happens in the working environment, even when we speak the same language. Listen, observe and never underestimate the significance of body language.
When dealing with service providers in destinations where English is not their first or second language, it is important to write emails in such a way that is easy for everyone to understand.
Travel exposes you to diversity.
The beauty of travelling and working abroad is that it teaches you how to embrace diversity in terms of culture, religion, and humanity. Did you know that cultural diversity increases productivity, creativity, profits and employee engagement in the workspace?
Travel is a journey of self-discovery.
There is so much beauty out there waiting to be discovered – street food stalls, art, people, culture and many wonderful sights. Stretch your comfort zone and take in as much as you can – that way, you’ll discover new things about yourself, especially in the areas of your strengths and weaknesses.
Travel teaches you to take responsibility.
Whether you travel solo or in a group, you are responsible for yourself. You manage the outcome of your events. You are responsible for what’s packed inside your luggage. Respect all departure and transfer times. Stick to your itinerary timelines, appointments and schedules. You are responsible for keeping your relevant travel documents and finances in a safe place. Stay within the rules and regulations of the country you visit, especially at customs.
If you know your passport is flagged, don’t get on that flight thinking you can sort it out later. Airlines pick it up and you can find yourself in a very difficult situation.
The same applies to your projects. When something feels wrong or out of place, it probably is. Know when to say ‘yes,’ know when to say ‘no’ and manage all expectations.
Travel sparks new ideas, networks and accelerates your vision.
By travelling you get to meet new people. These people can help you expand your group of networks, introduce you to new products and help you grow your business on an international platform. We no longer have to think ‘local business only.’ In fact, we can’t afford to – it is important to know what is out there – for yourself, your business, projects and clients. These days, anything is possible, thanks to technology.
However, always remember that no digital experience can ever surpass or replace human contact when building relationships or connecting with people.
Technology may give you access to the world, but travel gives you a world of experience.
Are you a freelancer and do you love to travel?
We’d love to hear your story. Leave us a reply in the comments’ section below.
In the meantime, stay curious, work hard and travel awesome!
Creative from Johannesburg, South Africa. Practising as content creator, performing artist, writer, web designer and programmes coordinator – participating in the art of possibility.
Let’s travel the world, create content and share amazing stories!