Friendship and adventure have driven me to investigate the intersection of travel and the entrepreneurial mind. After receiving a wedding invitation from Nikhil, a close friend from graduate school, I was overjoyed for him and his fiancé! The one catch was that the wedding was to be held in Mumbai, India. While questions regarding schedule and attire typically come to mind when receiving such an invitation, I was struck with few more pressing ones…
India? Really? India? Seriously…? Isn’t that a full day of travel? Do I need a visa? Is this really a good idea given my most recent life decisions? My gut was telling me that I should swear off exotic travel and focus on choosing a business idea to go forward with, building my professional network, and developing more technical skills. After all, that had been part of my initial roadmap since I set forth on this path. More so, I see those steps as necessary to long-term stability.
With all of these questions in mind, I asked myself one more. What if there is another opportunity that was hiding beneath the surface? One that could be unearthed if I pushed the envelope just a little further. After giving the invitation a bit more thought, I allowed my predictably irrational mind to kick in high gear. I would find a way to celebrate the soon-to-be newlyweds and marry the idea of traveling with the start of my next step in life. I don’t think that pursuing travel and fueling my entrepreneurial energy are that dissimilar.
While close to buying round trip tickets from the United States to India, I considered extending my travel and exploring some additional destinations. I felt good reason to visit Thailand, Brazil, and Ecuador on this travel. After all, I wasn’t due to start my programming Bootcamp for a couple months.
Thinking ahead, I considered what value all of this would entail and what it would offer my mind. Could I glean something from this that couldn’t be found elsewhere? While there would be new environments, culture, people, and experiences, I’d like to explore what that means to me.
For starters, it means having fun. I believe there to be an inherent relationship between fun and creativity. Professor Jürgen Schmidhuber engaged in this study in 1990 and has determined that fun is an intrinsic reward that motivates people to invent skills in surprising novel patterns especially in science, art, music, and humor. Albert Einstein wagered the same in his famous quote “Creativity is intelligence and intelligence is having fun.”
Problem-solving with new chessboards and new rules. Each of the new countries, cities, and landscapes that I enter will have different physical attributes, norms, and rules that will require adaptation and engagement. The faster and deeper that I engage, the more I expect to have unique experiences, connect with fellow travelers and locals as well as experience greater states of happiness that I can share with others. This positivity is something that I can reinforce as part of my life practice.
Learning about others and having conversations that dig deeper into their essence. Whether it be speaking with the person sitting next to me on the airplane, a traveler on the same transient path, or a friend I’ve known for years, the time that they have lived has brought them teachings and experiences that hold intrinsic value. Any conversation could serve as a guidepost. Learning about their relationships, successes, mistakes, ambitions, and direction in life could positively influence my life as long as I keep myself open.
Relaxing and letting the mind wander. I am often pensive and my mind tends to run fast. I find there something beautiful and elegant about infusing the mind with moments of relaxation and intensifying thought. Sometimes when we ask ourselves impossible questions, we get impossible answers. These answers that we arrive at might not be something we can force out of ourselves nor can they be something as concrete as a mathematical solution. We have to arrive at them more slowly and allow our wandering mind to get us there.
As my travel is currently underway, I’ve picked up on some of the messaging and signs thus far. I am seeing more clearly with eyes that are comfortable looking at dimensions and with a mind that is focused more on human connection. In short, I feel inherently more present and mindful. While this may be a retreat for the soul, I argue that the entrepreneurial mind cannot help but follow.