Millennials in the work force are traveling more than any generation before. Each year, they average five business trips, compared to just two for those aged 35 and up.
Besides just being fun, the travel trend sweeping Gen Y may actually be making them more productive. Neuroscientists claim that traveling increases the neuroplasticity of the brain, supporting creativity and innovation.
“Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,” says Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia University.
That’s why one young person is capitalizing on the benefits of travel to enhance the quality of her life and business year-round, and empowering others to do the same.
Meet Ginger Kern, founder of The Traveler’s Mindset, a community hub helping thousands of travelers have transformational experiences abroad. She’s also a TEDx speaker, a leadership coach, and an avid traveler who tallied an impressive 25 countries by age 25.
This week on the Unconventional Life podcast, Ginger shares how you can integrate the supercharged mindset of a traveler into your everyday life.
Kern’s passion for travel stems from her love of adventure books as child. Growing up in quiet Milwaukee, WI, she recalls noticing a stark contrast between her life and the life of the stories’ characters. “I noticed all these characters would have these amazing adventures but I was just sitting there,” Kern jokes.
The books invited Kern to a reality of adventure and possibility. In college, she chose to study French, German, and Italian to equip her for the ultimate adventures abroad.
The cornerstone of Kern’s philosophy is that travel vacation and daily life don’t have to be separate realities. “We go on vacation and escape,” she says. “Mentally we put up this barrier–like we can be a certain way when we’re out there exploring and having adventures, doing new things, being curious. But when we come back home, we get stagnant, go into our routines, and totally get stuck.”
The disconnect Kern observed between travel and everyday mindset sparked her inspiration for The Traveler’s Mindset, which serves as a bridge between the two. “The concept is openness, curiosity, and a sense of adventure no matter where you are in the world, even when you’re at home,” says Kern.
When you practice the Traveler’s Mindset, you allow the benefits of travel to assimilate into your day-to-day life. Cognitive enhancements like higher creativity, better problem-solving, and increased depth of thought, become integrated seamlessly.
If you’re having difficulty with finding the resources to travel, including time or financing, Kern’s site offers free advice to help make travel a reality for you, no matter what your situation. For example, if you’re locked into a location-dependent job, you might not have considered the possibility that you can actually ask your boss for an opportunity to travel or receive a raise. Focus on the value-add in creating a solution that would benefit you both–flexibility may be more available to you than you think.
Below, Kern shares how you can capture the Traveler’s Mindset to approach your entire life with a greater sense of curiosity and zeal.
1. Identify what inhibits you from feeling excitement and adventure. Notice what exactly in your life switches the off button of your excitement. “Maybe it’s how your boss treats you, or how you interact with your spouse or partner,” Kern says. “Do they always bring up that one thing that stops you from feeling alive?”
2. Become 100% responsible for your response to it. Don’t blame the thing that you believe is taking away your excitement, because that will only leave your powerless. Instead, take accountability for your response to it. If you notice yourself feeling upset by the same thing across multiple situations, it is because the common denominator is you.
3. Repair your relationship to it and allow your excitement to flow. The thing that is robbing you of your excitement can only continue to do so as long as you let it. Rather than try to change it, change yourself. How can you respond more openly to it, instead of closing to it? How can you find a way for your excitement to flow even when it is present? When you heal your relationship to what is bothering you in your life, you make it so nothing has the power to take away your joy.
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