Make Meaningful Connections (and More Indie Travel Values We Love)

BootsnAll has been in existence since 1998, and although we’ve gone through some changes over the years the fundamental reasons why we continue doing what we do remain the same. We’ve attempted on a few occasions to put those company core values into words, with limited success – until last year.

At our 2011 annual retreat we did an exercise that got us thinking about BootsnAll’s values in a completely different way. The result was a set of four core values that we think not only fit the company brilliantly, they speak to many of the things we love about travel, too.

BootsnAll’s Core Values:

  • Embrace change
  • Love learning
  • Make meaningful connections
  • Work & play with passion

It’s easy for us to say, “Yes! All of those values are the values of BootsnAll’s readers and travelers, too!” but we thought it would make more sense to demonstrate that by highlighting some of the articles we’ve published in the last year that showcase one (or more) of these core values – articles you’ve read, enjoyed, and shared.

>> What do you think of BootsnAll’s core values?

Embrace Change

  • embrace
    (v) to take up especially readily or gladly
  • change
    (n) alteration; transformation

Change can be challenging, even for those who thrive on it – because, let’s be honest, not all change is positive. When it comes to indie travel, change is usually sought after, desired, and still (sometimes) unexpected. How you handle change, however, is up to you – and it impacts everything that follows. We embrace change at BootsnAll, adapting to the ever-changing environment that is the online travel business, because we’re travelers who recognize that as the only way to move forward in potentially difficult situations.

Stephanie Storke’s article, “8 Travel Tips For the Type A Personality,” provides the reader with her hard-won advice about letting go of her inner control freak so that we can understand the perks of adopting a different persona when traveling. Jennifer Miller’s essay, “Travel is Not a Contest,” encourages people to not just slow down when traveling but to bring the benefits of that slower pace into every day life. Jessica Spiegel’s article likened a passport to opportunity, but actually using that passport as embracing change and opportunity.

But it’s Adam Seper’s article, “11 Reasons to Stop Dreaming and Start Planning Your Round the World Trip,” that we think really showcases what the “embrace change” core value is all about. There are many indie travelers who, for one reason or another, think they can’t manage a RTW trip – even though they really want to take one. And there are many more travelers who may not want to take a full-fledged RTW trip but can’t even get themselves to take their allocated vacation days each year. The change we’re embracing in this article is all about getting off the fence, making some possibly difficult and life-changing decisions, and putting one foot in front of the other to get where you want to go.

Love Learning

  • learning
    (n) modification of a behavioral tendency by experience
    (v) to gain knowledge or understanding of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience

Travel is an incredible, if intense, education. Through exploring the world, we are presented with opportunities to learn about it and ourselves – should we choose to do so. And though we may discover that things are precisely as we expected them to be, travelers sometimes find their foundations rocked. Adopting a love of learning early on can help enable a person to rebuild foundations, or build entirely new ones, before setting off in search of new learning opportunities.

We wouldn’t be surprised if Mabel Lee’s article about the “12 Career Skills That Travel Will Improve” or the one by Kristin Glenn and Shannon Whitehead, “Why Travelers Make Great Entrepreneurs,” were forwarded to a number of skeptical family members as would-be long-term travelers seek the support of loved ones by demonstrating travel’s educational and career benefits. Stephanie Yoder gives travelers ideas for “11 Skills to Learn on Your RTW Trip” (or, really, on any trip). Adam Seper only realized two years after his RTW trip just how much he’d learned about his own travel style from that year spent exploring the world.

It’s Renee Lo Iacono’s article, “7 Things You Learn About Yourself (and the World) While Traveling Solo,” however, that we feel really speaks to the core value of “love learning.” We like what Renee says in this piece about seeing the world as a solo traveler, but ultimately it’s what she says about how you can come to see yourself after traveling solo that puts this one over the top. After all, what could be better than learning you’re more resourceful, confident, and independent than you previously thought?

Make Meaningful Connections

  • meaningful
    (adj) significant; having a purpose
  • connection
    (n) a set of persons associated together; a person connected with another especially by marriage, kinship, or common interest

The vast majority of travelers we know, even those who have “life lists,” travel not to check things off but to have meaningful experiences – and that often equals having interactions with people along the way. Sometimes it’s meeting other travelers in the hostel common room, sometimes it’s having hand-gestures-only chats with the guy at the next cafe table, sometimes it’s falling in love (however briefly) with someone you didn’t know a week before. These connections can change the course of your travels, and, indeed, your life – if you let them.

Jennifer Miller’s article about the “Seven Places To Make Love Before You Die” certainly had readers talking, but even if you’re (ahem) practicing what she preaches with your spouse or life partner you’re still making a meaningful connection, if y’know what we mean. (And we know you do.) Catherine Bodry offered some ideas for “How to Meet People on the Road Without Hosteling” for those of us who may not be interested in the dorms anymore but still love the camaraderie found in the common room. Adam Seper made friends with other travelers during his RTW trip, some of whom he traveled with and others he has visited in the years since.

The meaningful connections we loved most, however, were the ones Audrey Scott and Daniel Knoll of Uncornered Market made when they visited Iran. In a country traditionally seen as off-limits and hostile toward the United States, they found the people were not only warm and hospitable but overtly welcoming when they found out Audrey and Dan were American. Connections like that are even more meaningful when you’re least expecting them.

Work and Play with Passion

  • passion
    (n) a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept; an object of desire or deep interest

Mark Twain said, “The secret of success is to make your vocation your vacation,” and while not everyone can be so fortunate as to turn their travel for passion into a profession, it’s entirely possible to bring the same kind of passion we bring to our travels to our jobs. In fact, being passionate about doing good work – whatever your work is – can help make your job more meaningful.

Adam Seper’s article on “12 of the Best Jobs that Combine Work and Travel” might just help those of you stuck in a job you don’t love find something to which you can devote yourself. Our list of “18 Travel Resolutions to Keep This Year” is great for your vacations, but it’s even better if you can apply some of those resolutions to your every day life.

Our favorite “work and play with passion” article, though, was Julie Ovenell-Carter’s “How to Travel More Without Quitting Your Job” – because not everyone hates their job or dreams of taking a long-term trip. Combining a love of travel (along with ideas for how to do more of it) with the fact that travel makes for more well-adjusted and productive employees is something we can be quite passionate about, indeed.

photos, top to bottom, by: scorbette37, scorbette37, Patricio Moracho, Bohari Adventures

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