5 Business Lessons I Learned Traveling the World

There’s nothing quite like travel to help you grow as a person.

From the highs to the lows, leaving your comfort zone behind opens new doors into personal insight. What’s really amazing is how those lessons can be interpreted in so many different ways.

For instance, I’m about to take five things I learned while traveling – and spin them into a lesson about running your own business. So grab your passports and let’s start the journey.

El Tren del Fin del Mundo in Patagonia, Argentina

El Tren del Fin del Mundo in Patagonia, Argentina

1. Always hire the local guide.

Hiring a local guide is a great way to get insider information on wherever it is you’re visiting. It can also be a great way to get access to somewhere that might be otherwise unreachable …

… like the time I hired a tuk tuk driver to take me into Angkor Wat two hours before it opened so I could photograph the stars above the ancient ruins. [You can see the photos here]

When it comes to doing anything for your business, you can always choose the DIY route. Depending on your motivation level, this is a great way to save money and get good results.

However, you have to ask yourself, “how much more value could I get by hiring someone to do this for me?” So often, the time and energy you invest doing it yourself could be much better spent doing something you actually love!

Angkor_Wat-Sunrise-Dawn-Star_Trails-Siem_Reap-Cambodia-Greg_Goodman-AdventuresofaGoodMan-1

A long exposure of stars above Angkor Wat in Cambodia

2. Just because something is famous doesn’t mean it’s worth seeing.

I can’t count how many times my wife and I took a multi-day detour to visit some famous site or location – only to get there and discover it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

A perfect example of this is the Mona Lisa. After waiting on a huge line and pushing yourself to the front of the mob in front of the painting, you’re treated to a teeny painting behind a thick wall of bulletproof glass. (Though, it is still pretty cool to watch her eyes follow you around the room).

From a business perspective, think of it this way. Just because everyone is jumping on the latest web design or marketing trend, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be worth the effort. Trends come and go so quickly these days – and it’s always better to do what feels authentic to you.

. . .

3. The best camera is the one you have with you.

As a travel photographer, I strive to never leave a guesthouse without my fancy dSLR camera. That said, life happens, and sometimes I find myself in front of an epic scene with only a point and shoot camera or a cell phone.

And, do you know what? I’m still able to take a great photo and share it with my friends and family. In fact, I’m often grateful that I’m not lugging around 25 pounds of camera gear – and instead, enjoying the moment!

Here’s a photo essay from a recent trip to Montana, where my only camera was an iPhone.

When it comes to your business, this can be interpreted as “be happy with what you have … and know that you can always do better.”

I especially see this when it comes to website design. All too often, people reach out and express their disgust with their current website. To this, I always reply, “while it may not be the website of your dreams, at least you have an online presence. That already puts you light years ahead of your competitors who don’t”

Of course, if you do want the website of your dreams, we can help you with that.

Me-Monks-Ta_Phrom-Angkor_Cambodia-Greg_Goodman-AdventuresofaGoodMan-1

Me with a bunch of monks in Ta Phrom

 

4. Try every food you see – no matter how strange.

Over the years, I have sampled my fair share of odd foods: grasshoppers, fried twinkles, guinea pigs, and even a live octopus. While I can safely say that I’m not interested in trying any of those again, there was always the chance I would love them.

In today’s constantly-changing digital world, the latest app or website trend can be likened to a strange food. Sure, you may not like it once you try it – but there’s only one way to find out. Plus, so many of these offer a free trial, there’s really no reason not to.

Re: eating the live octopus:
This experience was a part of the National Geographic TV show I starred in. You can watch it below or see the photos and stories here.

 

 

5. When you go for cheap, you get what you pay for.

I’ll always remember the time that my wife and I tried to save a few bucks on a hotel in Malaysia.

Instead of spending the night in a comfortable bed with a swimming pool, we had to flee our bedbug infested guesthouse (which may or may not have doubled as a brothel) at midnight and spend hours searching for a clean room that could accommodate us at such a late hour.

here’s the full story of that itchy night in Malaysia

The same can be said for hiring someone to help with your business. Once upon a time, I tried to save money by outsourcing some of my work overseas. Time and time again, it wound up taking double the amount of time and causing 10x as much trouble.

Don’t do that to your business. Treat yourself to the help you deserve … to a partner who will make your life easier in every way. (Yes, I’m clearly talking about myself here 🙂 )

Acro Yoga photography

My wife doing acro yoga at sunrise in Yosemite National Park.

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