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Travel Breeds Inspiration

March 2, 2013

You know how when you love what you do, you want to be the best at it? You read about your job? You go to school or take a class to learn more? You fixate on the progressive journey that is in part, your life?

If you’re not in love with what you do; quite frankly, you don’t interest me. Even if you have a job just so you can  travel, technically, your career is traveling, and not that lame job. If you’re working at a gas station, but you are a passionate parent, great, if that is what you want. But, if you are just this robot that is going through the motions because you gave up or never figured it out, I don’t like you already. If you’re breaking the rules because you were raised around others doing that, and then didn’t actually solve that brutal cycle, I’m going to give you some empathy in that conversation, but then I’m going to ask why you didn’t figure it out. I’m still going to expect you to do something more than what was handed to you. It isn’t alright to surrender. We can’t afford it. To me, humans owe this world. Life is a beautiful payback and if you are on this planet to ruin that or to ride it out, you suck. I believe that everyone must have some sort of passion, outside what you have with yourself and with your partner. I believe that humans need to study, practice, and invest in a form of work that moves this planet forward. And truly, almost every passion does just that because you aren’t just learning about your work; you’re learning about yourself, which ultimately does help our condition.

One of the most powerful ways we learn is with each other.

If you’re a mom, you hang with other moms at times. If you’re a biologist, you chat with other biologists about your current research. If you’re a writer, you talk to other writers or you let them edit your work. You compare notes with those that work near you. You constantly reflect and assess your performance so that you can improve. At some point in that continuum, you begin to feel confident enough to network further, share, and then maybe, even teach it to others. Sometimes, you rest inside your bubble, whatever that may be: your building, your hospital, your website, etc. Growing still takes place. Job satisfaction and professional fulfillment are always your goal, but after years of experience, there is nothing that makes you quite better than getting outside, far away from your work base, to learn from others that work in your same industry. When you get the opportunity to travel due to your job, it opens you up to the possibilities that nest within the passions and the reasons that you began that pathway in the first place. If you live in Georgia, networking in California would add a layer of learning. If you live in Colorado, going to Mexico for research opens up a different avenue. It reminds you of the global arena and I’m one that believes every job has those connections and it’s worthy to find those out.

I don’t know what people who have cubical jobs do as my job certainly can’t compare to that. I’m an educator who spends much of her day in several locations. But, I will say that the friends that I have who hold those types of jobs are doing some amazing research, and even though they are in a cubical for much of the year, they too get to break out of it for field work. I believe that is their way of gaining new perspectives. Each industry is different.

Sometimes with my work, I get to travel to other schools, even outside the state, to learn, network, and teach others. This week, I got to spend time in two schools in Auburn, Maine, as a trainer for teachers and we did many classroom observations, and post-observation conferences. While my role during this work gig was challenging and particularly professionally rewarding, what made it so wasn’t that I was considered an “expert” in the situation because clearly, I’m always going to consider myself a learner. It was me simply getting to be with Maine educators to gain their perspectives on what they are trying to do with education. It was sitting with the Maine students, and having amazing conversations about their perspective. It was them talking about our work, our challenges, and our realities, but seeing through their eyes. Maine’s version. Even though we are connected because of our similar philosophies and understandings about what needs to take place in our buildings, they are taking it on in their own way, with their own goals, and in a totally different context than my school in Anchorage, Alaska.

When I can actually walk across the bridge that connects us, and be in their environment to have those discussions about why we do what we do, not only do I learn more about myself and what the hell I’m doing with my profession, I leave inspired. I’m inspired by people across the nation, which makes me question the power of the field I’m in. While humanity as a whole is a species in crisis due to global warming, the United States could easily go down way before that, simply because of the product we aren’t producing from our schools. But, seeing the passions of educators through a different lens gives me so much inspiration to keep trying. When you are inspired, you become more inspirational. You want to be contagious on a larger scale. You become better just because of the human connections.

Everyone needs inspiration for what they do, and while that can come from many angles; sometimes, it’s best to get outside your immediate realm to see what the other folks are trying. How are they treating that disease? How are they calculating that data? What do they think or feel about the current trends? What materials have they discovered that work better? The connections that we humans can make within our professions are so powerful, and when utilized, can make each of us move another step forward.

So, consider travel as one avenue for inspiration. While many of us travel to recharge our batteries by being away from work, travel can also be a great muse for your passions.

Thanks for stopping by!

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