Whew! A little late on this one, folks! Apologies for the delay!
Happy June, everyone! I know it’s not officially summer until the end of the month, and it’s still been cool and rainy here, but something about being on the other side of Memorial Day weekend sure makes it feel like summer and vacation season have arrived!
I’m sure many of you have been very busy with end-of-school activities, and congratulations to everyone who is celebrating graduations over these past and coming weeks! It’s definitely an exciting time of year. As for M and me, we’re fresh off a nice, relaxing long weekend in the Finger Lakes with some friends and ready to face the new month head-on!
In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been loving lately:
“Oh look, Gwen’s sharing another travel photo gallery!” — every FLFP reader right now.
Sorry, guys. I just can’t help myself. I’m a sucker for them, especially when they’re quick to peruse, full of well-done photos, and have brief, informative captions. Give this one a browse, add some destinations to your dream travel list, and check back every so often; my understanding is that it is constantly updated throughout the year.
M sent me this article a week or two ago and I finally got a chance to sit down and read it. I’m glad I did.
Author Todd B. Kashdan’s point is that despite most people’s inclination to return to familiar places and seek peace, convenience, and relaxation in their vacations, there is actually a tremendous benefit, particularly for your career, to challenging yourself by traveling to a new and unfamiliar destination:
“We often choose to spend our hard-earned dollars for comfort, predictability, and relaxation, and there are benefits to doing so. But as a psychologist, I believe that travel should routinely be used to achieve the opposite: to get out of your comfort zone, expose yourself to uncertainty, and eschew rest for exploration and learning. The result is personal growth — greater emotional agility, empathy, and creativity.”
— Todd B. Kashdan
Kashdan goes into greater detail about each of the three personal growth benefits listed above and builds a strong case for how each can make a tremendous difference in your career.
I can’t agree more. While I can’t list my travel experience on a resume in the same way that I can my work history, much of my professional success can be traced back to skills and confidence that I gained when spending time overseas. I talk about the challenges I’ve overcome on the road in interviews. I employ problem-solving skills, flexibility, and empathy honed through multiple occasions where things didn’t go according to plan in the middle of a foreign country. I’m not saying I have it all figured out, but I do know that I am a different person because of the way that travel has changed me, and that person has more value to an organization than the person I was before.
Although he shares examples from a recent trip to Sri Lanka, I also appreciated that Kashdan didn’t limit the benefits of traveling to somewhere new to far-flung places across the globe. Any time you’re getting out of your comfort zone, you open yourself up to new challenges and opportunities for personal growth. If you’re an American, there are plenty of ways to do that right within your own country. If you come from a small town or a more rural and conservative region, try a few days in a diverse and kinetic metropolis like New York or Chicago. If you’re a city guy or gal who rarely connects with the outdoors, consider hiking part of the Appalachian Trail or visiting some of the vast expanses of the American or Canadian West. Heck, even trying an international cuisine for the first time can have benefits.
For me, travel is about striking a balance based on my needs at the time. Recently, M and I have been more aggressive in our activity levels and the distance from home of our chosen destinations because we want to see and do as much as possible while we’re young and fit and before we have kids tagging along. After the busyness of our wedding, however, we chose to take it easy with a Caribbean cruise that gave us a daily choice of whether to relax and go with the flow or do something a little more adventurous. As the seasons of our life change, I know that our travel styles and desires will adjust accordingly. Regardless, I still want to find ways to continue to be out of our comfort zones and stretch ourselves, and to do the same for any kids who come along.
It’s only healthy!
3.) A new couch!
After leaving Alaska, finding full-time work in New Jersey, and getting my first solo apartment in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, I bought a cheap, couch-like futon to outfit my living room. My thought was that this would be an inexpensive way to add seating and an extra sleeping space for any guests, and that eventually I would upgrade to a proper sofa or have an apartment with a guest bedroom. I never dreamed that that futon would still be with chilling in my living room six years (and three homes) later.
While I can certainly say that I got my money’s worth out of it, over the years M and I developed a bit of a love-hate relationship with the futon. Because it was so cheaply made, it quickly became lumpy and uncomfortable. The material was wearing out, and sitting at just the right angle could reward you with a nice jab from some of the busted springs. I would like to think that I’m not an overly proud person, and I’m definitely not the kind who needs to have the best of everything at all times or who delights in showing off her possessions, but I did feel like I had to apologize to anyone who came over to visit for not having a more comfortable place for them to sit. (God bless Emily for her fortitude in sleeping on it every time she came to visit, the poor thing.)
Part of the reason that the futon has stuck around for so long is because M and I have resisted investing in furniture because we knew a house hunt was around the corner. We didn’t want to commit to any big purchases or style decisions before we had a better idea of what our permanent space would be. That house search, however, has dragged on for more than two years (something I have NOT been loving lately), and when we moved into this new apartment in early April we resolved to finally treat ourselves to a few pieces of real furniture. Cut to me writing this post from the comfort of our brand new couch!
M and I were able to take advantage of some Memorial Day sales and my sister-in-law’s employee discount at a local furniture store (thanks, Haley!) and purchase a new sofa at a great price. I’m so happy and grateful that we can now host people comfortably and relax in a living room that finally looks like adults live there. We’re still working at making this new apartment homey, and also trying to decide the right balance between investing in decor and furniture now versus holding off until we have a more permanent living space. But for now, my heart (and my bottom!) are very happy with our decision!
That’s all for now! Stay tuned for upcoming posts on spending a weekend in the Finger Lakes, staying healthy on the road, and our next Travel Career Snapshot, all headed your way in the coming weeks!
Best wishes for a wonderful weekend!
What have you been loving lately?
What place have you visited that challenged you the most?
What have you treated yourself to recently?