I recently spent two months backpacking by myself through Southeast Asia.
Once the jet lag wore off—and the food poisoning had subsided—I realized that traveling alone was the greatest thing I could have done for my career. It shook up my worldview, put my priorities in perspective and gave me the confidence that comes from learning I can navigate the world on my own.
So how, exactly, did traveling solo make me a better PR professional?
Sharper decision-making skills. Public relations professionals often make decisions with long-term impact for clients, so we must evaluate our options carefully and consider our clients’ overall objectives.
When traveling by yourself, you must make thousands of decisions that affect your safety and the overall outcome of your trip.
Sometimes it’s a quick choice: Do I argue with the taxi driver trying to rip me off, or should I let him keep my money? In other situations, there is more time to evaluate your decision. For example, I spent days deciding whether to go to Vietnam, as planned, or stay in Cambodia an extra week.
Ultimately, I stayed in Cambodia, and based on time constraints and my travel style, I’m confident that was the right choice. I learned the importance of making and sticking with decisions; trust your judgment.