MINDSET: 3 mental challenges when you travel for work and how to overcome them

How do you balance travelling for work and maintaining your own sanity and healthy relationships in the process? Karryon Founder Matt has a few mindset tools to keep things in check.

How do you balance travelling for work and maintaining your own sanity and healthy relationships in the process? Karryon Founder Matt has a few mindset tools to keep things in check.

Working in the travel industry can bring with it some incredible perks.

From of course travelling the world (and getting paid for it) to experiencing life-changing moments with like-minded free spirits.

But like they say, ‘with every action, comes a reaction.’ So what does that mean when it comes to travelling for work?

Here are three challenges and solutions to consider to help you keep things in check based on my own experiences.


1. Your close relationships are likely to suffer


While you’re still on a work trip, fam or a conference, the perception from those closest to you is that you’re partying up a storm somewhere cool with like-minded attractive folk (which let’s face it, could be the case) while they spend another night after work with another takeaway while watching Netflix on the couch in their PJ’s.

Giddily calling them at random times at night or Facetiming them your hotel room tour or cocktail party is not going to go down well regardless of your good intentions.

Neither is posting endless happy photos on Insta or Facey of what you’re up to with your new crew of attractive folk you are spending your ‘work trip’ with.

“How’s the conference going? Err, pretty quiet so far my love…

Even if you are in the most trust-based, stable relationship ever known to humanity, everyone has a limit.

In fact there’s a good chance it’ll be blown wide open, probably by your significant other’s friends when they say “Looks like (public enemy #1) is having a great time on their trip!” when they see your FB pics, followed by “I don’t know how you do it with them being away all the time”.

Ouch. It’s what they don’t say to your loved one that always cuts the deepest.


What would be a good strategy to overcome this?


First up, always share your itinerary with your partner. They’ll feel better for it knowing where you are, and surely that’s the responsible thing to do right?

Use an app like tripit.com, and it’ll update any up to the minute delays for them too. They may even realise how gruelling your schedule actually is.

Then plan quality time (working out the timezone first) to call or Facetime from somewhere quiet (like your room for example) at least once a day to share your news. Listening intently first to what they are up to is also going to be good advice here rather than just blurting out your wondrous tales.

They’ll say that what they are up to is “not half as exciting as your adventures” (true), but if you genuinely value your loved one, you better take heed.

Your trip will be better for it too because no-one wants long distance issues – or to be single again when they return.

Share your pics with them BEFORE you post on Facebook so they’ll be the first to see them.

And finally, buy them a decent present. “Duh” you say. You’d be amazed at how many people don’t.


2. Your friends will say “you have the best job”


Let’s face facts here. Anyone who doesn’t work in the travel industry – irrespective of how much they earn is going to say “You’ve got the dream job”.

Take it as a compliment, because in many ways, you do.

Granted, you may not earn the six-figure sums that some of your lucky friends might cash in every year, but you also don’t work in a job you hate (hopefully not – if you do, leave) and get to do incredible stuff that most people will never get the chance to do. Like ever.

Yep, it’s hard work, the hours are long, and the work doesn’t stop even when you go away, but would you honestly trade it for another less travel based gig?


What would be a good strategy to overcome this?

Pic @girlgoneabroad

Deal with it and own it! It’s a great reminder not to get complacent in the travel industry and instead enjoy and embrace every second of your life as the movie you always wanted to star in.

If you are sharing your pics on Facebook or Insta, then one easy tip is to put some facts and cool stuff in that you’ve learned about the places you’ve been to share the love and educate your friends and family in the process.

“See, it is my job!” you can say when they next pay you out.


3. You’ll be alone on your travels

If you look at points one and two from a non-industry person’s perspective, your life does look amazing from the outside.

Add in Social Media and “I WANT YOUR LIFE!” will be something you hear from friends and strangers regularly.

But that as us industry folk do know so well, is not even half of it.

The reality beyond all the fun stuff is that we are away a lot and that means being alone a lot – exhausted from the often punishing itineraries and the work, and with our thoughts, demons and any other emotional baggage we may have brought along with us in our minds.

While naturally, loved ones will be missed, If we are holding onto any issues from our ‘normal lives’ outside of travelling, there’s a good chance they will become amplified on our travels far away from home.

One difficult call or email from home could trigger anxiety and a reaction that may trouble us much. Similarly, temptation could pop its head up with a leaning towards any addictions intensified.

Travelling has a habit of bringing up all kinds of stuff we didn’t expect when we check out of reality for a while.


What would be a good strategy to overcome this?


Try not to do this…

Look after yourself for starters. Firstly, make your hotel room your sanctuary and as comfy as possible.

If you can sleep well, you’ll enjoy your time away more so use an eye mask, earplugs if you need them and try and get away from staring at your phone and social media in bed.

For your mental health, I’d suggest trying some simple breathing or meditation in the morning at least and definitely on the plane. Download the Headspace or Calm apps on your phone to take with you.

Most of all, go easy on yourself and make sure you reward yourself with time out on the trip from ‘everyone else’ to chill. Take a bath, go for a run to clear your mind or swim in the hotel pool if there is one. Whatever works for you.

While the urge is to go full tilt every single minute on a trip (because why not), you’ll benefit more if you pace yourself and take some quiet time to reflect on what you have been doing daily.

Plus you’ll be in a better mood to listen and share your experiences with your loved ones back home.

Go for a run, see some stuff and clear your head in the process...

Go for a run, see some stuff and clear your head in the process…

Most of all, talk to people, Share how you feel with your trip colleagues too. After all, we’re all in the same boat, and people get it, especially when it comes to relationship challenges.

If it feels more severe than that and you’re not coping, STOP immediately, tell your superiors and make a plan to return home.

No, if’s or buts, nothing will ever be more important than your physical and mental health, and you can return any time.

Speak to who you need to make it happen and pull the plug.

But beyond all else, go back to point two and repeat after me “I do have the best job in the world”.

Now go and enjoy every moment and share it mindfully with those closest to you too.


Do you have some healthy mind tips to share? We’d love to hear them.