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Why Traveling Will Literally Change Your Life

Why Traveling Will Literally Change Your Life

There are few things as rewarding as traveling. It’s one of the most exciting things you can do, and it’s also something that you will remember for the rest of your life. I recently had the opportunity to live in London for four months while studying. I was lucky enough to visit several other countries while abroad, and it was one of the most enriching experiences I’ve ever had.

While it’s not always practical to pack up and leave for extended periods of time, there are a lot of opportunities to travel both domestically and overseas. Traveling is easier than ever. With the right planning, it can be done on even the tightest of budgets, and the payoff is definitely worth the investment. Here are the top 10 reasons why you should make traveling a priority.

1. It’s refreshing.

The number one reason traveling is so great? Your travel destination is not wherever you usually sleep, eat, work, and play. It’s a whole new place with endless sights and activities for you to explore. It’s really easy for life at home to get stale, so try to get out there and see more of the world. Or at least the next few towns over.

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2. It’s easy.

Okay, so it’s not always a cakewalk, but travel is becoming much simpler. Of course, I will always recommend doing a fair bit of planning just to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. Keep your travel documents together, make sure all your reservations are made and confirmed, make sure you know how to at least get to your lodging from the airport/bus station/train station/side of the road. With a few little details like this covered, though, it’s really quite easy to get going.

3. You’ll learn new things.

About yourself, about other peoples, about other foods, about the world you live in. Traveling is possibly the most fun anyone can have while learning. It’s fascinating to learn about the world outside of your small community, so embrace the option to do so.

4. It’s customizable.

As long as you’re traveling without a structured group or guide, you’re totally in control of what you do with your time. How great is it to be able to do whatever you want to do? Traveling gives you a great excuse to let loose and explore your interests.

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5. You’ll meet new people.

Traveling is a great way to meet new friends. If you’re the backpacking type, it’s often very easy to find groups of people who are heading the same way as you. Hostels, for those who are budget-conscious, are also good way to meet new people, as many travelers there are traveling alone or in very small groups. There are tons of opportunities to meet both fellow travelers and locals.

6. You’ll gain skills.

Learning new skills can be any of a number of things. It could be that you learn parts of a new language or how to tie the perfect sailor’s knot. Or maybe you gain the skill of time management simply by planning your day. A great aspect of traveling is that you often gain new skills without thinking about it as work, or even without knowing it at all.

7. It gives you something to look forward to.

Sometimes, it’s really nice to have something on your calendar to look forward to. Just a little reminder that in two weeks’ time, you’re going to be on a plane to an exciting new country or road tripping to the West coast. That anticipation and excitement is almost as nice as the trip itself.

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8. And something to look back on fondly.

Pictures, memories, memorabilia, whatever you want to remember your trip by. Traveling is great because even when the trip is over, you get to relive every moment of it again in your mind.

9. You’ll experience new things.

Traveling is a great way to experiment with new things. Whether that’s zip lining, rafting, getting pampered, or just relaxing on a far away beach, you’ll get to try things for the first time.

10. It’ll make you a better person.

Going to new places is a great way to round yourself out. Well-traveled people are more interesting, more knowledgable, and, often, more fun. Surround yourself with others who share your passion for travel and your interest in becoming a global citizen. You’ll find yourself changing for the better as a result.

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Featured photo credit: Ho John Lee via flickr.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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