Amsterdam

For the first 22 years of my life, I considered myself to be well-traveled because I had visited Pittsburgh. Ignorance was bliss. After college, I did what I was expected to do – I got a high-paying job and started saving for the “future.” During my few precious vacation days, I tried to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the office and recharge my batteries. It didn’t work.

The problem is, getting away from work is harder than you think, especially in short spurts. It wasn’t until I took a longer trip to Europe that I learned to let go and relax. I realized that a vacation needs to be more than just a “break” from the action. Since then, I have found myself camelback riding across the Moroccan desert, competing on a ping pong team in Spain, and going on countless other adventures that I will never forget.

Here are 4 reasons  taking a longer vacation and getting out of your comfort zone is a great way to recharge, be inspired and get excited for what’s ahead:

(For your chance to win a free trip to Bangkok, be sure to check out our contest below!)

Matt (6)
Details below

1. You’ll Learn A Real Skill

Have you ever taken a week-long vacation? I have. I sat on the beach, played golf, enjoyed time with my family and other “relaxing” activities. Don’t get me wrong, all of these things are great, but they are nothing compared to learning a language, mastering a foreign cuisine, or finding all the best markets in an ancient city. You can’t experience these educational and rewarding activities on a short break from the office. A long trip allows you to immerse yourself in something completely. It’s a refreshing and rewarding experience.

2.  Comfort Zones Are Overrated 

“…The farther you go, however, the harder it is to return. The world has many edges, and it’s easy to fall off.” ― Anderson Cooper

Don’t think of the word “far” in terms of geographical distance, but distance from your comfort zone. Most people take Anderson Cooper’s quote too literally –  I like to interpret the above quote as the further and longer you travel, the harder it is to return to narrow-mindedness. The more culture shock you experience, the farther your comfort zone will stretch. The farther, the better.

3. Find Out Just How Interesting You Are

“Have you met Will Smith? Or Johnny Depp?” Every time I told a new group of Spanish students that I was from California, I would have to field a barrage of Hollywood-related questions despite the fact that I’ve never even been there. Things that seemed uninteresting to me – like a trip to Los Angeles – were met with intrigue by those who had only seen California in poorly-dubbed American films.

Regardless of who or what you know, your views have value, especially on the other side of the world. Conversing with people in far-away places will remind you just how different and unique you really are.

4. Learn To Appreciate What’s Back Home

Most of us have a family, home, and group of friends that makes us proud. Yet, how often do we think about that during our day-to-day lives? Hopefully the answer is all the time. For me, whenever I am traveling, it gives me the opportunity to reflect on the things I miss back home and truly appreciate them. On those short “breaks” from of the office, you often find yourself thinking how little you want to return to work and your normal life. After a longer trip, though, you’ll be excited to get back home.

Matt (6)

How to Enter the Matt Kepnes Contest!

1. Show us your top destination in Southeast Asia by pinning it on Pinterest to a board of your choice.

2. Submit your pin by clicking the “Submit an Entry” button below. You will need to submit the URL to your pin to enter.

3. Follow creativeLIVE on Pinterest.

4. Watch Matt’s free class Stress Free Budget Travel on 1/29 & 1/30.

Prizes:

The winner will receive the following:

1. One Round-trip ticket to Bangkok from Cathay Pacific (black out dates apply, flight from Cathay gateways only)

2. A collection of travel books from Lonely Planet including:
Thailand Travel Guide, Cambodia Travel Guide, Laos Travel Guide, Vietnam Travel Guide, Southeast Asia on a Shoestring Travel Guide, Great Adventures Travel Guide, Lonely Planet’s Best Ever Photography Tips

Winner will be announced on air during Matt’s class Stress Free Budget Travel.

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