A Whole New World: How Travel Experiences Change You
Traveling to new places all over the world has always been a joyful experience for me. Engaging with different cultures and getting to know people with different backgrounds are what fuels my love of travel and my passion for sharing it with my clients.
A few blogs back, I shared the first part of a fascinating conversation I had with Jon McGraw. Jon is a partner at Vision Pursue, a company that works with businesses, sports teams, and individuals to improve their mindsets, performance, and life experiences. He’s also a former pro athlete. Besides being really interesting to talk to, Jon applies a unique perspective to the subject of travel, sparking new ways to think about the impact a trip can have on our outlook.
In part one of our conversation, Jon and I talked about one of the benefits of travel – how getting away from it all can help us achieve – and practice – mindfulness. Jon offered an interesting take on how to not only make the most out of unplugging while you’re on vacation but also how to bring mindfulness back with you after a trip. If you haven’t already, please check out the first blog about our conversation here.
Our discussion covered a lot of ground, here’s part two:
Kim Gibbons: Along with mindfulness, I feel such a connection when I travel. Does that resonate with you?
Jon McGraw: Absolutely. Connection is a basic human need. In our world today, so many people feel disconnected, isolated, and alone. Travel connects us in a couple of different ways. First, it helps us reconnect with ourselves. Getting away from the stresses of day-to-day life is an opportunity to recharge and check in with our own thoughts and emotions.
In addition, traveling to new places, and experiencing new things automatically expands our perspectives, opening us up to connect with new people and different ways of thinking. Our world becomes bigger.
Kim: That’s so true. I always tell people, you may think you know what a place is like or how people in other countries live, but you have no idea until you’re there. I’ve literally been traveling since I was a child, so it’s difficult for me to put into words how much it has shaped my perspective.
Jon: I mentioned this when we talked about mindfulness, too. There’s a quote I like – “We don’t see the world the way it is. We see it the way we are.” That’s true, but when we travel, we approach it with curiosity. We’re open to learning. We allow ourselves to take in different ideas. Travel has the power to positively change the way we are.
In our company’s work with clients, we talk about “in-groups” and “out-groups.” We all have “in-groups” or social groups that we identify with psychologically. On the flip side, “out-groups” are social groups where we don’t see ourselves as members. These groups can be based on many things, including gender, ethnicity, age, or religion.
We all have in-group favoritism, where we subconsciously favor people who are members of a shared in-group. The neuroscience behind this concept is extremely compelling. Research shows our brains react differently to situations based on our perceived in-group and out-group connections.
What travel does is expand our thinking. It gives us new opportunities to discover commonalities with a more diverse population. In effect, we expand our in-group connections as we embrace the ideas and cultures of others.
Kim: Our company works with business leaders to create travel experiences for groups of employees or customers. The objectives range from rewarding success to team building to giving back and social responsibility. As you talk about how travel expands our perspectives, how do you see it impacting business?
Jon: From my personal experience, business leaders who are well-traveled are more receptive to embracing diversity within their companies. You said it earlier. You don’t really know something until you experience it. The human brain doesn’t absorb information the same way it does experiences. Travel creates experiences.
Through my work, I see it every day. Companies that are the most successful are the ones that create an experience for their customers. Experiences are the holy grail when it comes to building brand loyalty. By extension, companies that are able to be intentional about creating travel experiences for their employees or customers can reap the benefits of deeper connection with each other and the company’s mission. At the same time, these shared experiences of trying new things and exploring different cultures help promote diversity and inclusion.
Kim: Well said. Travel creates experiences of a lifetime, and we can all benefit from expanding our sense of connection along with our perspectives. Jon, thank you for sharing your insights. I know you’ve given me some new ways to explore how I connect with the world through travel.
Waves to you and smooth sailings ahead!