We know there is overwhelming amounts of evidence that shows you have to shut down work and check out every once in awhile - especially if you are an entrepreneur. For me, traveling to a new country or place is the best way to get back to productivity and creativity. If you are in the trenches every day, at work and on the computer, it can be tough to spend another 5 hours researching places to go to get away from it all. However, it's the new year, and your mental health is as important as your physical, so like making time for the gym, you have to make time to get out of your space and travel! Through trial and error of many different apps and services, I have found a few good ways to take the stress out of planning so you can get back to living life outside of a wifi connection.
Decide on a general location in the world and a budget, then, get an agent - there is actually an app for that. Typically the location you choose will reflect on the time necessary to experience what it has to offer, and allow for some time to unwind and get lost. I spoke to Katelyn O'Shaughnessy, a fellow startup founder who just launched a company that does all of the trip planning for you in a mobile app, for free, called TripScope. She started out as a travel agent (yes, they still exist) planning trips for millennials when she realized there was a need for things to be easier. Turns out, travel agents on TripScope can give you the best prices for everything, find you deals and perks and they get paid through the vendors - not the traveler. Even if you have no idea what you want to do while on your break, using TripScope you can set preferences to a general outline of things you like or want to see, for example: beaches, zip-lining and nightlife and your pro agent can give you ideas. It doesn't get much easier than that.
Once you've decided on the part of the world you are heading, don't think about the logistics, and start visualising what you want to accomplish in your personal life. What do you want this break to recharge? Personally, I want to spend more time away from the screen and get real life inspiration. Using an app like TripScope allows the logistics and planning to be handled in realtime so you can focus on the things that really matter - your creative genius. Imagine a personal travel agent or assistant in your pocket. O'Shaughnessy expressed the ease of the platform which eliminates the need for booking, looking and calling around for the best deals and most exciting locations because it does it for you. Everything from missed flights to reroutes to last minute upgrade opportunities are taken care by the agent in real time on your mobile device, ensuring that your recharge time really is stress-free.
Work on your creative genius. Once you've visualized what it is you hope to get personally, you can use that to guide your experiences. For me, writing is something I want to keep doing and refining, so I might want to find a great place to sit, people watch and write. When playing around with the app, I saw that there are features that allow you to video chat and share-screen with your agent. If I am wandering the streets of Milan, I can text my agent and ask them to guide me to a location that has great cafes outside so I can sit and take it all in. Changing your scenery can deeply help the creative process along.
Get off the wifi connection. This is so difficult especially if you want to use your google maps feature, but there is something magical about wandering aimlessly. When I spoke with Katelyn, she mentioned that while you can book, change and chat with your agent at any time and in real time, your itinerary is always available even with no cell connection or wifi available.
Get on the plane! You've now accomplished the impossible, a stress free and fully planned excursion to work on yourself. As an entrepreneur it's important to recharge once in awhile. We know that it's an important step for us to remain with our heads in the game.
When I asked Katelyn her experience as a first time tech entrepreneur she said, "it's been one hell of a ride. No two days are ever the same, and I find the chaos and uncertainty of running a startup strangely enticing. I was born to do this." I think we all feel this way sometimes, but remember, take some time doing something else for yourself and get out in the world. If you don't, you'll be stuck in a bubble; which is the exact opposite of innovation. Sound off in the comments and let me know how you get back to your creative genius below.