How Running My Own PR Business Helped Me Prep for Traveling Halfway Around the World

Earlier this year, I had the immense pleasure of traveling around the stunning country of Australia for a month. It wasn’t my first time in this spectacular place though – I initially went when I was in college.

That time was my first time ever traveling  – the first time I ever even left the east coast of the US – and I got incredibly homesick. I couldn’t enjoy my time traveling, despite in such a beautiful place. I always knew that I wanted to make it back to Australia and have sort of a “do-over” of my earlier time there and I finally made it happen this year.

Instead of doing the populated east coast I did my last trip, I wanted to do something a little different – the Outback! After all, I wasn’t the same person I was the first time I went. I’ve spent the last eight years running my own PR business which has given me a completely new perspective on quite a few things in life, and this trip not only was confirmation of that growth, but helped me to gain new clarity on aspects of my professional life as well. It was an absolute win all around!

We often feel like taking off for a month is impossible in the face of client needs, financial concerns and needing to keep up with media relationships. If you’re considering taking time off, or have been sitting on a travel dream for years and years, consider this your first class ticket.

Here are the entrepreneurial and travel lessons that served me well as I said yes to this travel experience and now settle back into business as usual.

1) There Is No Right Time to say yes to a dream

When I was working full-time before starting my own company, I had always dreamed of having a beauty/fashion PR agency and having the luxury to pick and choose my own clients and plan their strategies from the ground up. I would read about amazing people who started their own companies at a young age but didn’t think I had the guts to leave my full-time job. But one day I got a crazy rush of courage and decided to just go for it – and I haven’t looked back. There have been times I struggled with my business but overall have never regretted it – it’s changed my life for the absolute best.

The same thing happened when I booked my trip halfway around the world for a month – I had been researching it (following SO many #WesternAustralia Instagram hashtags!) for nearly two years but never thought I could justify taking a month away in the
Australian Outback! But then it began to sink in – there is no time like the present. There is NEVER a right time to quit your full-time job, leave your responsibilities for a month, or do anything else that majorly puts you outside your comfort zone. You just have to do it and trust yourself that you’ll figure it out – and you will.

2) Plan and Prepare – But Allow for – and expect – Surprises

Running a business (especially in PR!), you schedule out everything as best as you can, but you also need to learn to roll with the punches (um, hi delayed UPS shipments and corrupt JPG files). This mindset hugely helped me in Australia – whether I had to make some last-minute adjustments when the scuba diving excursion I was planning for sold out (go snorkeling with friends instead!) or torrential rain canceled my trip to the picturesque Rottnest Island (I explored what the city of Perth had to offer) or no joke – a cow running through our campsite! (zip up the tent real quick and pray!) – being able to be flexible and adaptable made my experience abroad even that much more enjoyable.

There is NEVER a right time to quit your full-time job, leave your responsibilities for a month, or do anything else that majorly puts you outside your comfort zone. You just have to do it and trust yourself that you’ll figure it out – and you will.

3)  Dive in – literally

Australia is pretty far from NYC (hello 20+ hour flight) – I made sure to fit as much in as I could since I didn’t know when I’d next be back! From swimming with whale sharks to jumping off (multiple) cliffs into bodies of water to surfing on Bondi Beach, I didn’t want to miss a moment. I have found that I’ve kept up this mentality now that I’m home and have been applying it to my business as well – I’ve been taking advantage of any exciting opportunity that comes my way.

Whether it’s stepping outside my comfort zone in terms of clients I take on, expanding different skill sets I’ve been wanting to learn, or even just RSVPing to cool events outside my space to meet new and interesting people who might turn into a business
contact – or just a great new friend – I’ve been a lot more open to new experiences since coming back. Not surprisingly, this new energy has already helped my business see some exciting new developments.

I am so glad I took the plunge and went back for a travel re-do. I was able to really take stock of how I’ve changed and influse a bit of that carpe diem energy back into my business which has served me well. I’ve come to recognize travel as not only a great way to relax and gain new experiences, but as a truly useful business strategy.

Lindsey Smolan

Lindsey Smolan

Lindsey is the principal at VLIV Communications, a NYC-based boutique public relations agency that specializes in generating buzz and press for emerging and established beauty, fashion, accessories, and lifestyle brands. LSPR has a genuine passion for helping clients grow and succeed, and their long reaching connections, from fashion and beauty editors at national magazines to influential celebrity stylists and the increasingly growing blogger and vlogger communities, help them do just that. LSPR strategizes with clients to determine their key brand messaging and how to effectively convey what exactly makes them unique to these key contacts.