How Freelancers Can Use Travel To Enhance Their Skillset
Freelancing gives you the time and money you need to see the world. When you’re working for yourself, you don’t need to clear a vacation to Cancún with HR and you certainly don’t have to worry about racking up vacation hours before setting off to Europe for a month-long adventure.
Despite the freedom that freelancing affords, newly self-employed folks seldom take the time to travel. If you’re the type to put off travel, it’s likely because the idea of unpaid holiday racks you with guilt and work-based FOMO.
But what if you could improve your skillset while traveling? Would you be more likely to visit Spain if you could learn Spanish while relaxing on the beach? Or, if adventure is your thing, would you consider thru-hiking the Sierra High Route while working on your videography skills?
As a freelancer, nothing is stopping you from traveling and learning at the same time. This means you can skip the guilt and improve your resume by enhancing your skillset while you travel.
Travel and Creativity
Your daily grind probably makes the prospect of learning a new skill feel impossible. You may even wonder how your self-employed peers make time to complete basic chores — let alone learn Spanish. However, experienced freelancers know they can’t be in two places at once. Instead, they know how to strike a good work-life balance by making time to travel, learn, and think creatively.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need to travel to make time for a new skill. Simply setting aside a few afternoons for personal development every week is a great way to add to your existing repertoire of skills consistently.
However, choosing to travel is important if you struggle to “switch off” from work. Going on vacation can boost your mental health and help you get out of a creative rut. Planning to travel also helps you visualize a different daily schedule and promotes introspection. This could help you identify gaps in your skills and help you shift away from unhealthy work patterns.
Travel is also a great way to meet new people and improve your sociability. Socializing with folks in countries from around the world can spark a passion for languages and promote an awareness of global trends that may have previously missed your attention. When you return from your travels, you may find it easier to connect with potential clients who want to work with well-traveled, socially aware freelancers.
Planning to Beat the Guilt
Traveling is inherently beneficial to your mental health and professional development — but what if the thought of taking a week off work still leaves you quaking with guilt?
If you struggle with work-based anxiety, it may be worth getting in touch with a therapist. There are thousands of licensed virtual therapists available online via programs like BetterHelp and TalkSpace who can help you work through the thoughts and emotions that may be triggering your anxiety.
However, if you feel like you can handle your guilt and anxiety yourself, then you should try mind-mapping for greater mental clarity. Mental mind-mapping helps you visualize your thoughts and spot areas of “faulty” or “irrational” thinking. You can start by naming your feeling and identifying its root. Slowing down and analyzing your concerns on paper helps you stop a thought spiral and alleviate your guilt.
If you still feel guilty about taking time off, consider shifting your responsibilities to make up for any lost income. Start by estimating a weekly earnings figure. Once you’ve established a ball-park number, consider how much extra work you’d need to do to make up for this lost revenue. By working a little extra, you can usually recoup your losses and truly earn your time off for travel.
Skills to Learn While Traveling
Learning a skill while traveling sounds great until your feet touch the sand and the margaritas start flowing. You have to be realistic about the skills you want to learn while traveling to get the most out of your time away from work while enhancing your skillset.
Learning a language while you travel is significantly easier than learning in a classroom or via an app. You’re constantly surrounded by different intonations and foreign scripts or signs — it’s the learning equivalent of diving in at the deep end of the pool.
However, you usually can’t learn a language through osmosis. You’ll likely need to invest in some form of formal language learning before, during, and after you travel to put a second language on your resume with confidence.
One of the best ways to gain language proficiency and confidence is to travel with a group of fellow learners. You can find all kinds of groups to travel with via local universities or language learning programs. If you really want to get “inside” knowledge of a language, it may be worth attending a translation workshop with accompanying travel and accreditation.
Video marketing is among the most in-demand skills in the freelance market today. Total market spending on videography is set to exceed $100 billion by 2023, making video marketing a bigger industry than TV ad spending.
You can claim a piece of this pie for yourself by adding videography skills to your resume. Traveling is arguably the best time to learn the basics of producing, shooting, and editing video content. You already have a fantastic set to shoot on that can take your time to gather all the content you could possibly need.
When learning videography skills, try to gain accreditation with one of the major editing platforms. Adobe Premiere Pro is usually the go-to for professional video editors as the Adobe suite gives you maximum range to edit your videos and produce professional-grade content.
As a freelancer, you should already have a clear marketing strategy to increase your exposure and land clients through targeted advertising. Part of that marketing strategy should involve building a social media presence that enhances your personal brand and draws inbound clients to your webpage.
But building a social media presence is tricky during your day-to-day operations. Planning, posting, and engaging with social content usually ranks low on the priority list — particularly if you aren’t already familiar with the basics of social media marketing.
You can use the time you spend traveling to learn more about social media analytics and improve your presence online. Understanding the data behind your most successful posts will help you create more tailored content in the future and increase your engagement and reach across different social pages.
Producing clear, concise writing is an essential skill for all freelancers. Would-be clients are likely to look elsewhere if your email correspondences or social media content is littered with comma splices and fragments.
Fortunately, developing your writing skills is fun and easy — you can leave the grammar handbook at home, too
Getting lost in a fantasy world or crime novel may seem like lost productivity, but reading is the quickest way to improve your writing. Exposing yourself to professional prose will enhance your understanding of syntax, sentence structure, and grammatical conventions.
You can take your study of prose to the next level by packing a pen and taking notes in the margins. Underline any sentences that strike you as particularly impactful. You can use these stand-out sentences as a guide the next time you want to write a sales pitch or creative content that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.
Enhancing your skillset while traveling is easier than you might think. Reading a good book, editing a few videos, or posting to social media can help bolster your experience and improve your creativity. If you want to get the most out of traveling, try to gain resume-worthy accreditation via an online class or by joining a travel-oriented course.