If social media proves anything about ourselves and the greater societal condition, it’s that none of us have ever had a single original thought. We’re all just out here living the same lives and having the same dreams.
This is hyperbolic, of course. However, I can’t help but feel that no matter how different my life may seem to other people — and despite the glaring lifestyle differences we have — many of us have the same wants, the same desires.
The pandemic has proven this more than anything that came before it. Though it was not the great equalizer people were initially claiming it would be, the way we all resorted to similar cliches and comfort habits was reassuring. Although we felt alienated, we weren’t totally alone.
Whether it’s further proof of the hive-mind formed by the collective mood or merely the work of algorithms, whatever I was thinking made its way onto my news feeds. When I was cooking banana bread, so was everyone else. When I was feeling pandemic burnout, articles came out about pandemic burnout. And when I was aching to travel again, everyone was talking about was all the places they’ll go when pandemic restrictions are lifted.
So the summer arrived, and so did vaccines. Suddenly, the world was open again, and many of us jumped at the chance to travel. My social media feeds were packed with Italian foliage and Grecian Islands — because everyone else had been dreaming of the same vacations, apparently.
Now that the Omicron surge has closed offices and has us WFH again and travel regulations have tightened, I’m having those same dreams again, the same wish to travel. And I know if I am, everyone else must be, too.
Yet another wave of the virus is more than frustrating. It comes with increased pandemic fatigue, which makes us prone to restlessness, general anxiety, and serious resentment. None of this makes for a particularly sunny disposition especially not at work now that many of us are virtual again.
This can lead to burnout at work, which is not ideal. Especially after last summer’s taste of freedom and travel. Bitterness about our current lives can lead to fantasizing about quitting our jobs and moving to a remote island somewhere far-far away.
But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing — work and travel can have a symbiotic relationship. For example, working now will help you pay for your travel later. This is obvious. But here’s the less obvious truth: traveling can also have major benefits for your work.
In fact, big companies believe this so much they invest in it. Instead of the “Unlimited PTO” that many corporate environments use to entice employees who never actually use their time off — or feel guilty about doing so — companies are paying for sabbaticals so employees can return to work at peak performance.
To combat burnout, this technique helps alleviate the temptation to join the hoards of people fueling the Great Resignation.
According to the Wall Street Journal: “Workers are putting in more hours than ever nearly two years into the pandemic. They are in many cases burned out and believe a prolonged break is the best respite. Surprisingly, some companies agree. Employees who take sabbaticals say they return to work energized and more productive. Managers who are worried about retaining top talent and how the Covid-19 era is wearing on employees’ well-being find sabbaticals engender loyalty and greater creativity.”
The freedom to take enough time off to travel is proving a magical reset button, keeping employees from feeling caged in by their jobs. As more and more companies see the results, the positive effects of travel will become more accessible.
Until then, your past travel experiences can also be an asset to your career. Whether you left your job during the Great Resignation, are looking for work, or want to spruce up your resume, Actif says: “Listing traveling as a hobby in your résumé might be a good idea because it can make you more employable. It indicates and demonstrates to employers that you have developed a set of skills (especially soft skills) that will make you a good fit for their companies. ”
It also emphasizes for your potential employer what’s important to you. And if your travel date is non-negotiable, you'd want to make that clear upfront.
Resigned to our rooms, kitchen tables, or make-shift closet offices, here are some travel essentials that will get you excited for your upcoming Eat, Pray, Love era:
Slip is top-of-the-line when it comes to luxury silk products. Their sleep mask will make any travel experience feel more than luxe — despite that brat kicking the back of your middle seat all through your international flight. This mask is your best bet for sleeping through it.
I’m the girl you see carrying a pillow through the airport — with no shame! I even bring my own pillowcases to hotels because I prefer silk ones — specifically this Slip silk pillowcase. Silk is proven to be better for your skin and hair, making it the ultimate beauty accessory.
Jetlag is the worst, so I’m constantly on the lookout for things to help me sleep better on vacation. As an aromatherapy devotee, this calming pillow mist will be in my carry-on forevermore to help me drift off to dreamland.
As an avid traveler, exceptional luggage is a must-have. Trust me, I’ve broken suitcases mid-transit and had to wrestle with my stuff across long itineraries — not fun. Lesson learned! I’m resolved to pack light and invest in an intelligent carry-on. And this one is trusted by frequent fliers everywhere.