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6 Reasons Why Traveling The World Is The Best Career Decision You Can Make In Your 20s

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why traveling can change your life

The truth is, seeing the world gives your professional future an instant makeover. Traveling to other countries will transform your outlook on life in general, push you to get outside of your daily work rut, and it might even impact your career aspirations.

Everything you do in your 20s matters. So make the most of it in order to save time and disappointment later. If you don’t know the best career move for your future, you might want to consider traveling.

I know that taking time away from your demanding work schedule in order to travel the world may sound like career suicide, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s actually a career booster, especially if you are willing to expand your mind and apply what you learned on your journey.

Are you ready to make a leap in your career? Here are 6 reasons why traveling the world is the best career decision that you can make in your 20s:

1.You get to explore global networking opportunities

Everyone knows that networking is key to climbing the career ladder and successfully positioning yourself as an entrepreneur. The best networking opportunities come when you travel. Why? You have access to a universe of professionals that you would have never met if you would have stayed in your current residence.

Every person that you meet can expose you to new ideas and ways of doing business that will allow you to think outside the constraints of your social circle. Think about the value of your social equity if you are able to say that you are connected with people from all over the world.

“The world is a book, and those who don’t travel only read one page.” – St Augustine

2. Spreads your career wings

Who said you had to settle down and marry one career in your 20s? The average person changes careers multiple times, gaining various skills in each profession. The greatest thing about traveling is that it allows you to figure out what drives you; what really makes you happy.

Use your time to try out careers that interest you, even if you just volunteer at a community organization. Test the waters and find out what you love. Then, do whatever you need to do to get into that industry when you return, even if it is only an entry-level position. Follow your bliss and you will never regret it!

 

3. Improves your future impact

What will be the most sought-after skills five years from now? Companies are constantly expanding their businesses overseas and working with clients from all over the world. Between two candidates with comparable work experience and formal education training, the person who has international exposure is most likely to get the job.

You need to have experiences in foreign cultures in order to advance at these successful, global companies. International exposure makes you valuable.

 

4. You can learn a foreign language

With universal unemployment problems, being multilingual is definitely a competitive edge over others. Language will break down barriers and allow you to connect with more people. Take the time to learn a language when you are young.

It is an ability that tells of a person’s cultural intelligence, commitment to learning, and openness to diverse people. These qualities are highly valued in the marketplace and will allow you to attract more opportunities than your monolingual peers.

 

5. Builds your career confidence

Traveling builds your confidence in ways that you never imagined. If you can climb steep mountains, eat foreign foods, and immerse yourself in an environment where you can’t speak the language, what can’t you do? This confidence carries over to your career. After challenging and unexpected, though inevitable situations, you have an innate sense of confidence in your ability to handle difficult situations in your life.

Besides that, traveling the world helps you define what you want in life and gives you the confidence to go out and do it. When you know what you want, you are able to identify jobs that allow you to add the most value and be happy. You don’t settle for a job out of fear of not having financial sustainability. You search for the job the sets your soul on fire.

 

6. Releases your untapped potential

You never know what you can do unless you try it. The more opportunities that you take outside your comfort zone, the more you discover about yourself. You get to see what you are really made of, by identifying skills and talents that you’ve never tapped into. That is the beauty of new experiences: it introduces you to another, unexplored part of yourself.

“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” – Danny Kaye

These new skills and experiences may be just what you need to land your dream job or advance your entrepreneurial pursuits. As Pat Williams once said, “Figure out what you love to do as young as you can, and then organize your life around figuring out how to make a living doing it.”

Travel as much as you can to expand your mind and the world around you. When you are in your 20s, you have more flexibility in your career and it’s easier for you to make those heart-pounding decisions that can change your life.

Are you considering traveling? What career insights do you hope to gain from traveling? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

After 7 years of working in Corporate America as a Certified Public Accountant, Charlene left her job in April 2015 and decided to travel around the world with a non-profit international education organization called Up with People. She has traveled around the world with 100 individuals from 20 different countries. You can visit her www.careergoddessacademy.com or connect with her through Twitter.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Janel McNuckle

    Jul 11, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Great words of wisdom!

    • Charlene Rhinehart

      Jul 12, 2016 at 4:40 am

      Thanks Janel! There are so many career benefits for those who are willing to step outside of their environment.

  2. Glenn Mace

    Jul 7, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Great read, Keep working blessings

  3. Sue Dunlevie

    Jul 5, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Love this article, Charlene! Great info and so true.

    Thanks,
    Sue

    • Charlene Rhinehart

      Jul 6, 2016 at 5:27 am

      Thanks for reading, Sue! Traveling is a valuable personal development activity.

  4. Melody

    Jul 5, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I think traveling adds color to a resume. It gives you an edge and let’s employers know that you are not afraid of trying new things and taking on risks. It also sends a message that you can related to a diverse group of people and share in conversation about culture and how business is conducted in other countries. Thank you for writing this! There sre professionals that are stuck in the rat race who need to hear this.

    • Charlene Rhinehart

      Jul 6, 2016 at 5:30 am

      Great insights, Melody! Traveling is definitely a great resume booster that can spark interesting conversations during an interview or among colleagues. If people want to be relevant and relatable in a global economy, they need to start finding ways to build their cross-cultural competences.

  5. Charlene Rhinehart

    Jul 4, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Sherece, I understand all of your concerns. That was me 6 months ago. I was so TERRIFIED. I almost missed the best experience of my life because I was so worried about how I would manage my bills and be away from home for 6 months. You realize that EVERYTHING ALWAYS WORKS OUT FOR YOUR GOOD. If you approach life from that angle, you will gain access to the freedom that you always wanted. Once you take the leap, you will have the courage to do more things you were too afraid to do. All it takes is a single step. Everything you could ever want is on the other side of fear. Congratulations in advance! Can’t wait to hear about your new adventure!

  6. Garrick Bradley II

    Jul 4, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Love the article! I made a goal to myself to travel somewhere AT LEAST once a year. I just got done traveling to a conference but I think it’s about time I travel to another country again. Traveling in your 20’s is the best time! There are no obligations (unless you are married and/or have kids). I remember being in Brazil and was starting to become quite fluent with the few phrases of Portuguese I knew. You can pick up a second language fairly quickly.

    • Charlene Rhinehart

      Jul 4, 2016 at 5:59 pm

      You are right! When you learn a new language, you are 10X more marketable in the job market and can create valuable connections with people all over the world. It’s awesome that you take advantage of every opportunity to travel. Once you start traveling, it’s hard to settle for an ordinary lifestyle. You usually want to see more, do more, and live every moment intentionally.

  7. Charlene Rhinehart

    Jul 3, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks Tim! I’m so glad to hear that you will travel to the USA! The networking opportunities are endless. I meet new people everyday in my own city so I can only imagine how your traveling adventures will create tons of business inspiration and spark ideas for more life-changing articles. Thanks for your encouragement!

  8. Michael Williams

    Jul 3, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    This is an amazing article and you are a incredible inspiration! Keep up the good work! 🙂

    • Charlene Rhinehart

      Jul 3, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      Thanks Michael! Traveling presents opportunities beyond what we can image. Have fun on your travels!

  9. Denise Marsaw

    Jul 3, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    Yes absolutely!!! Traveling made me FEARLESS

    • Charlene Rhinehart

      Jul 4, 2016 at 5:53 pm

      Yes! You are a great example of how traveling has boosted your career. You were able to get into reputable MBA programs and connect with companies around the world!

  10. Charlene Rhinehart

    Jul 3, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    I’m so glad to hear that you booked a trip to the USA! There is so much to do and so many people to learn from. My trip to Australia 4 years ago was a game-changer for me. I LOVED every moment of being in Sydney: ) As soon as I returned to the states, I started researching more ways to travel around the world. Once you start, you have a pulsating desire to see more, do more, and learn more. I can’t wait to hear about your experience, Tim! Thanks again for the encouragement.

  11. Tim Denning

    Jul 3, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    Charlene I love this article. It’s as if you are reading my mind. I just booked my holiday to the USA and this advice reinforced my decision to take a break. I am looking forward to the global networking opportunities and the contacts that I gain. Keep doing what you’re doing Charlene!

  12. Sherece

    Jul 3, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    I have considered traveling for quiet awhile now. Its always been a passion of mine. When traveling I hope to gain cultural knowlege. How does other cultures communicate, what are there views on social and political issues. Basically, learn how they operate to be able to better understand and communicate with them. Furthermore, traveling sounds great but It’s that fear of actually doing it. We live in such a past fast society and working long hours to get ahead tends to block our passion. My biggest fear is taking that next step. Not knowing what I will do next, how I will make it through. How will I manage these bills without working. We loss sight of our dreams and goals because we were told if we work hard it will pay off in the end. Sometimes that end never comes for people. I want to that the leap.

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Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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