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How Travel Will Do You Good – Perspective is Leadership

I’m continuing the #Trust30 writing challenge I mentioned on my Daily Feed ~ 2011 June 1st post. Here’s today’s installment.

If we live truly, we shall see truly. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there?

(Author: Chris Guillebeau)

Ah, an other topic close to my heart.


Travel is essential. Travel is a must.


Stuck? – Travel!

Need a new perspective? – Travel!

Want to get clarity? – Travel!

Searching for a new idea? – Travel!

Feeling dead, just “surviving”? – Travel!

Want to get away from the wife and kids? – Travel!

OK, scratch the last one. (Getting away doesn’t work, and I consider it an abuse of the great institution of travel. That’s like going to a pub and getting drunk. Anesthetizing the brain. If you need to get away, resolve the root cause so you don’t have to.)

Anyway, you get the idea.


First off, let’s start with perspective. Perspective is one definition of leadership.

Countries across the globe all have different resources, and people living there have adapted to make the most of it over the ages. A resource can be almost anything; I use it as the sum of things a given people have accepted as reality. Sunny climate, oceans, mountains, thermal springs, low humidity, high humidity, wildlife, many or few urban areas, clean air, polluted air, history, great architecture are all just semi-permanent resources in this way. (I intentionally don’t call it circumstances – that’s just in your head.)
All these resources shape the people who live there, and they develop a way of doing things that works for them best. Too hot during the afternoon? Take a siesta. Too cold in the winter? Wear heavy coats (and drink lots of vodka). Place too crowded? Emphasize quietness and cleanliness. What we perceive as different cultures are actually answers to problems that are more relevant at the place you’re visiting. Seeing how people deal with them can not only help you deal with similar problems, but can give you new ideas, new approaches to resolve other ones. When I find myself facing a detail-oriented problem, I just ask myself, “What would a Japanese person do?”

This is why I liked HSBC bank’s campaigns sometime back. The ones showing the same picture multiple times, each with a different label. The labels were depicting what people associate with a given image across different cultures. While the quality of the individual ads varied, it did work in a clever “make you think” kind of way. Those ads are the best chance to switch your brain into “travel mode”, without actually traveling. Now imagine what actual travel could do!


Wow, now I sound like a love-child of a travel agent and Tony Robbins.


I do speak from experience though. I’ve lived in 4 countries on 3 continents so far. I don’t know if I’m more creative then I otherwise would be. I do know, however, that I can approach problems from different angles at the same time. Almost as if I were a small group, not an individual.

Sound schizo? Nah, it’s all good. I’m grateful for having the experiences that enable me to do this.

Going back to the original question, (what’s the place you want to visit before you die?), it’s space. Go boldly where no mental marketer has gone before ;) .

Also, I travel for the experience, so when I go somewhere I’m going there to do something, with plans and goals in mind.

I’ve included the activity on the list too:


  • Scuba diving and chilling on Okinawa, southern Japan. I’ve been many times, but I was always running around like crazy.
  • Beach Party with live folk music on Ishigaki Island. An other, even smaller island in Southern Japan. The traditional music is awesome.
  • Whale watching in Norway. I’ve never seen a whale, so this is a must, while they’re still around.
  • Sketching in Italy with Glenn Vilppu
  • Take my mom to Italy
  • Take my dad to Spain; their favorite places, respectively
  • Pamplona Bull Run in Spain
  • Tomato Festival in Spain. Ah love tomatoes they’re so versatile. ;)
  • South of France for the beaches and the cuisine
  • Monaco, just for a laugh, and to check out if it’s liveable (tax breaks tempting; I don’t gamble)
  • Tour the castles in Europe with a GT car for 2-3 months
  • Tonga, to visit my friend Joe the rugby player, and check out all the cool things he’s been telling me about
  • Belgium, to shop for chocolate and visit friends (in that order)
  • Singapore, to visit friends and the cuisine
  • Thailand to visit friends
  • Plus my #1, the ultimate “big momma” of all tourist trips: SPACE.
    2 tickets for a Virgin Galactic flight, at a cool $200,000 a pop.


OK, that’s it for starters. I’ll add more later as they pop into my conscious.


Last, but not least, travel can bring you big bucks.

By capitalizing on the “Lag Time” principle you may discover something that is “hot” locally but hasn’t spread to the rest of the world yet. For instance Krispy Kreme donuts are no big deal in the USA, but customers here in Nagoya are rioting over it. There’s a line stretching outside the store at any given time during opening hours. Do you think the owner would have invested in the franchise if he hasn’t seen it work in the USA first?

There are always dozens of entrepreneurs making a mint in “just coming up” opportunities that are yet to attain global recognition. Heck, they may not even have spread inside the given country yet. What if you came across one? Won’t happen without traveling.

By the way, that’s exactly what Dietrich Mateschitz, owner of Red Bull did. Tired and jet-lagged to hell, he came across this taurine-infested concoction in Thailand that seemed to work wonders. “It keeps Thai taxi drivers alive on 13+ hour shifts, should work elsewhere too..” Yes? YES! Look at what he’s made of it! What if he never made that business trip to Thailand?!?


Bottom line is that by traveling you gain experience. “Living”, as opposed to just “surviving” means gaining experience, not just disposing of your allotted time.


Heck, just thinking about travel helps. How? Research shows that the brain releases dopamines (feel-good stuff) just by thinking about travel.

We all grow old, whatever we do. If you travel you increase your chances of growing wise, too. Plus you may enjoy the process more. ;)

Oh, and once you’re home again you’ll have a fresh new look on your daily routine, giving you a chance to re-assess what’s important and what’s not. Win-win.


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