Work Trips – Exploring Beyond the Business

Having a position that requires travel can sometimes get you into a spin of the office environment, board rooms, and hotels. A constant reminder that you are not home, not able to have your typical cup of Joe, have your Netflix account programmed into your Smart TV, or even the car you typically drive. Although it can be daunting from time to time, exploration and adventure can be your new best friend.

Throughout my experience so far in my career, I have had a couple roles that have been extremely travel intensive. With the majority of these travels being alone, I have found getting out into the wild spaces and forests around wherever you may be visiting can really help clear your mind and improve your head space.

San Bernadino National Forest

When I get outside, breathe the fresh air, and hit a local trail I can most definitely feel a difference in my overall mood and mindset in general.

Last year, I met Michael Adcock, an accomplished businessman and adventurer. We were sitting at a work event and instantly found a similarity…our passion for the outdoors and hiking. We swapped stories and shared our National Parks list, and how we have a ways to go to see them all. He told me he loves to go out and explore while he is on work trips, it was cool to see someone else that makes the most of their work trips. Thank you for inspiring me to explore more, Michael!

I have always felt the outdoors ease my anxieties and worries, but recently found there is some science that supports this thought. An experiment in China where subjects were either in a city or nature space, proved to lower cortisol levels, the stress hormones, in the subjects that were exposed to the forest in comparison with the city test subjects. (1 – Mao GX). Furthermore, research supported the notions that exposure to nature can improve psychological health, ADHD symtomology in younger persons, recovery times, and several other health markers (2 – Repke).

According to Dr. Jason Strauss, director of geriatric psychiatry at Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance, the benefits come easily. Just “20-30” minutes a few times a week is enough to improve your health. (3 – Dr. Jason Strauss). The baseline of what I am trying to share boils down to this: being in nature has many health benefits and can improve overall well being. I hope you get out and try it for yourself, I know for me at least, it works wonders when stress becomes overbearing.

On my most recent trip to Ontario, California I was able to cruise the never ending twists and turns of the mountain landscape heading towards Big Bear Lake, California. Knowing the week ahead would be chalked full of meetings and plenty of time on the road, I planned this little jaunt as a mid-week relaxation time. After work ended on a Tuesday, I set out to the mountains. My mind became clearer, and I felt so at home in nature.

When I arrived in Big Bear Lake, I was surprised by houses perched on rocks all around. Huge boulders lined the drive, along with pine trees with cones the size of a 2-liter drink. It was such a spectacular scene, especially as the sun started to set over the mountains, cascading over the lake like a purple-orange blanket.

Rejuvenated and full of spirit, I got back in my car and made the drive back into the valley. Taking the short trip out to the mountains was such a splendid time! I cannot wait to go on my next adventure, I am sure there will be one right around the corner.

I hope on your next work trip you will get out and explore. It may change your outlook on what a business trip has to look like!

Sources:

1 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22840583

2 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6104990/

3 – https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-get-back-to-nature

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