Ways to keep your mind sharp while travelling

Travel that is just about relaxation is all very well and good but after a few months you might start feeling a sense of brain rot. You need some mental stimulation. Here are some ways to get it.

1. Take on a personal project during a long trip.

For example, you might choose to do a project of writing a novel in 30 days. Extended travel is a great time to do a project like this. Some people do an extended sabbatical so they can work on launching a business. This is another option but it’s hard to actively travel when doing this. For this option, you’re better off finding a base where you feel inspired and holing it.

If you want to learn a skill while travelling, you could always learn programming, or surfing, or guitar, or anything you want.

2. Go to local events.

For example, you could go to a local hackathon. These aren’t just for programmers. Artists can contribute, as can people with sales and marketing or other business skills.

Big cities often have lots of inspiring talks you can go to.

3. Consume “brain food” entertainment.

If you’re not in a city, you might need to get your brain food from the internet rather than in person events. There are loads of places to watch inspiring and educational talks online. Youtube has lots of talks by authors, like the Authors@Google series, which is when authors go and speak at one of the Google campuses. TED talks are great, and Itunes U allows you to take full college courses for free from the privacy of your own laptop.

4. Language classes.

Language classes are of course an obvious option for giving your brain a great workout while travelling. You can do formal classes, use apps
( Duolingo is great and it’s free 🙂 ), or do language exchange. Of course getting out and challenging yourself to talk to people and attempt conversation is better than anything else you could do!

5. Keep up your professional development.

If you have a career that requires ongoing professional development, then why not continue doing that on the road rather than letting the requirements build up to the point you have a daunting prospect ahead of you when you get home. You might choose to branch out and explore an area of interest that you haven’t had time to deep dive into while you’ve been working your 9 to 5.

Google Scholar is excellent for keeping up with journal articles in your field and most articles seem to now be available as pdfs these days, without having to pay the typical very high fees for subscribing to a journal. Google Scholar will help you find the free pdf links. I could spend hours getting lost down the rabbit hole of Google Scholar!

6. Attend conferences.

Attending conferences is a great way to stay connected to your career. Especially when planning visits to big cities, check around for any big conferences in your field and see if any are going to serendipitously collide with your travel plans.

7. Get ripped.

Yes, of course getting physically fitter will help you keep your mind sharp too!

Photo Credit: Anne Adrian under Creative Commons license