We've known for years that travel is good for business - you build a strong network of international colleagues and contacts, and it boosts happiness and satisfaction, etc. But did you know it can also make you more creative? If you look at the great thinkers and writers of the past, it's easy to see this theory proven in practice - Ernest Hemingway travelled to Europe to find inspiration for new works, and Mark Twain famously said that "travel is fatal to prejudice" after he journeyed along the Mediterranean coast in the 1800s.
In recent years, there has been some serious research into this anecdotal theory, and neuroscientists have found that spending time overseas has the potential to affect more than just your point of view - it can actually facilitate neurological change. It all boils down to neuroplasticity and the fact that our brains grow new neural pathways when we are subjected to new sounds, sights, languages, tastes, smells, and sensations in general. These new synapses, in turn, revitalise our minds.
According to Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School and author of 'How Multicultural Learning Experiences Facilitate Creativity', we experience enhanced cognitive flexibility and integration of thought when we are immersed in foreign experiences. This allows the mind to jump from one idea to the next, and create connections where there weren't any before - a vital component of creativity. However, according to Galinsky, you can't simply jump on a plane and expect that just being in a different place will do the trick.
If you want to draw the real neurological benefits of travelling, according to Galinsky, you have to actively seek out new experiences and immerse yourself in the culture. As such, making your way to Beijing on a business trip, booking an Uber Black staying in the hotel and dining at the local branch of a restaurant you know back home won't make that much of a difference in your cognitive flexibility. However, if you were to take the public transport or try to engage in conversation with your taxi driver, take to the streets in between business meetings, enjoy local fare at a little hole in the wall over dinner and seek out homestays, you are far more likely to get your brain excited.
At TravelManor we take great pride in tailoring business journeys that allow travellers to get the most out of their overseas adventures. Get in touch with our passionate team of travel planners and find out what we can do for you. You may think that your time is too tight to immerse yourself in a new destination, but we’re here to show you that a little creative reshuffling of an itinerary, a shift of a flight, or the streamlining of your layovers can leave you with more time to explore. Let’s see how we can open up some time for you to build some new synapses as you travel, shall we?