This post has been submitted by the passionate traveler and talented journalist Ahmed Medien from Tunesia who blogs right here!
I started travelling when I was 12 and never stopped. I continued and year by year the number of countries visited is steadily growing. Nobody understand, nobody knows the reasons for that and I constantly have to respond to the question “When do you come back?”. Well I don’t know and neither does Ahmed Medien, who is as big of a traveler as I am. In his guestpost he tries to answer the question “Why did you invest in traveling?”.
In a recent travel interview, I was asked where my passion for travel came from; why I did invest in traveling, and in abundance. I pondered upon this question for three months before I emailed the online magazine –my interviewer – an essay long email. A travel interview is a perk you get when you travel to 10+ countries in less than a year and voice it on social media. You see, since 2013, I set up a challenge for myself to travel every year while also managing and nurturing my own personal and professional goals. I don’t want to put anything aside. I want to grow fully.
My parents, however, do not support my travel ambitions. My parents think I should find a job now and spend my money later. I know, however, they are not the only ones who would dread the idea of traveling instead of seeking a humble day job. Unfortunately, this is the reality of many of us, new college graduates, in struggling or saturated markets with high job insecurity. This is why I put out my list – and hopefully yours soon – of three career perks only avid travelers will enjoy.
Before I start with the list, I would like to touch on the delusional side of me who thinks he can travel to expensive countries and still lead an okay life back home. It is hard if not very, very hard. I had to make and still continue to make many budget sacrifices to fly me out of the country. My frequented research and my interest in how “other people are doing it” have enlightened me to throw an e-business/personal blog to let the world know of my current (then) plans and I did that. I followed and pushed the topics of travel, discovery, foreignness and international market opportunities in every other conversation. I was rewarded with many introductions to better opportunities than a job at a local digital marketing agency. But, now, back to the list!
Travel thoughts – The International Experience
I use “the” because international experience is often the icing on the cake in every job application. You never know how much or little of it can actually put you ahead of other candidates.
I understand that studying abroad or interning abroad is not an easy business for third world nationals (such as I) who face hurdles to travel outside their countries. This is why capitalizing on short-term travel opportunities becomes so important. If you have to take a vacation in a foreign country, make it a learning opportunity and make it coincide with an event or a conference of interest for you. For me, someone who labels himself a marketer and a business strategist, my deep understanding of markets local and international alike is my biggest asset. The same applies for understanding several industries. The more we know, the more competitive we are. Engineers have technical skills to butter up their compensation packages.
Travel thoughts – The soft skills
Softs skills such as leadership, personal organization and a company/industry-character match up are golden to locking down employment offers and climbing up the ladders fast-er. Traveling is often stressful or at least the planning part of it. It takes many phases from saving up to travel, to budgeting to taking harsh decisions about what you can or cannot afford this time. Making on-call decisions is the hardest part. It is both a management and endurance exercise. Can you afford to ditch out your plans and make new ones at the last minute? Should you discard every new development and follow your plans to the most extreme detail? Not to mention, that getting out of your bubble in a new foreign environment takes a lot of courage and readiness to feel both ridicule and vulnerable. Asking if you’re on the right train line becomes the hardest task ever, and sometimes you’d rather reach the terminus station to get an answer instead of approaching a stranger. But, luckily, in my case, I learnt fast enough. My last trip was 100% spontaneous and socializing with locals was the best part of it. Travel helps hone your soft communication skills faster than if you were to “work” on them. Would you learn how to swim faster in water or by simulating swimming moves?
Travel thoughts – Thyself
Traveling on your own is the best soul-searching experience you can gift yourself. We or I often fail because we are unaware of our limitations. In the midst of our busy routines, we become numb to our own inner motivation and why we started this job or this project or made that commitment in the first place. After 10+ trips as a solo traveler, I feel much more comfortable with myself. I know what I want; what I like; what I feel comfortable with and what I don’t like. No one is more appealing to recruiters or society in general than people who know their deepest desires and can assert them fully and confidently.
Back to the email, there is a reason why I did not reply in three months. I didn’t know the answer. I knew I enjoyed traveling, but I didn’t know why. The truth is, I never envisioned that I would be traveling as much as I did. Traveling now is no longer about me. It is about the experience per se. I travel solely to meet new people and stay in new challenging environments where I know, as I did just outline it, I will walk out a much more knowledgeable and compassionate young professional.
If you’re curious enough, you can read my article why you should travel while you’re young. If you’re thinking about traveling or moving anywhere, I’m glad to talk this out with you either by email or on my twitter account @ahmedmedien.
And, If you enjoyed this article and would like to help me help you travel, accept my $25 Airbnb credit towards your next travel!