This week, we hand the blog over to our founder David who has always been a strong advocate of travel.  In this post, David will discuss the many merits of travelling, most notably the way it can help entrepreneurs become better business people. From opening minds to new ideas to enjoying a complete refresh, travel is essential.


One’s destination is never a place, but always a new way of seeing things.

Henry Miller


When I was 11 years old, my parents took our family on holiday to Europe, a trip that changed my life. I grew up in the city of Victoria, on Vancouver Island in Canada. It is a beautiful place, with stunning mountains, a majestic sea and long beaches that stretch out before you. But for all its beauty, it is not a crowded place. We used to joke that you could drive to any destination in Victoria in under 10 minutes. So, travelling 4,761 miles to London was an incredible experience.


Stepping off the plane and onto the tube, I was entranced by the tangled network of lines that connected 7 million Londoners. In the 1970s, Canada’s population was only three times that of London, despite boasting 6,352 times its land area! With such a dense population, London was buzzing. Hundreds of cultures, cuisines and languages danced around this amazing city. And to top it all off, this all occurred within an area 19 times smaller than Vancouver Island! In the words of Henry Miller above, it truly was a new way of seeing things.


At the ripe old age of 11, I vowed I would live in London one day, and I am delighted to say that I have now lived in London longer than anywhere else in the world.  But my love of new places did not end at 11. Today, 44 years later, travel is still a huge part of my life. However, it is not always easy to take holidays when you are an entrepreneur. You have worked hard to build your business up to where it is, and the prospect of travelling and leaving that all behind is tough. Near impossible, if your business is new and you are the sole member of the company.


I also understand that entrepreneurs go through tough times. For five years, I did. As I discussed in earlier posts, the wine business I set up did not work. I had to make a lot of cutbacks, and it was a scary time because there was so much uncertainty and not much to fall back on. However, the one thing my wife and I always hung onto was our four-week holiday in Canada. We made amendments in other places in order to afford this. We switched to a cheaper food provider and took flasks of tea to our weekly walks in Hyde Park, rather than buying expensive drinks. These changes, along with some bigger cutbacks, meant we were able to keep our treasured break.


Both my wife and I grew up on the West Coast of Canada. Most of our family and many friends still live there today. My wife once said to me: “I absolutely love London, but part of my soul is on the West Coast.” How could we stop going to a place that meant so much? So we found a way to make it work. And many years on, with business going well, I am so glad we did.


Those four weeks of the year were a time for my wife and I to relax, see family, laugh, eat good food, drink even better wine, and leave our financial troubles behind. When you travel, you get to talk to new people, get great ideas from old friends, and become inspired by your surroundings. You come back refreshed and emboldened. If it weren’t for those Canada holidays, and the support of old friends and family, I might not have had the idea to embark upon the KPI programme, which changed my approach to business and therefore, my life.


At 55 years old, I am still amazed by the way that new places can take your breath away. My wife and I recently went to visit our daughter Vicky, who is living in Granada, Spain. A fascinating city, where east meets west; the Moorish Alhambra palace, the ancient neighbourhood of the Albaicin (a world heritage site that Vicky and her fiancé call their home) and the Hammam baths that are dotted around the city, harmoniously sit alongside the hallmarks of Andalusia. You can drink big, bold Rioja in a traditional Plaza, and get a Tortilla Española alongside it, for free!


On our trip to Granada, we went for a hike in the mountains, and I was stunned by the force of the river we walked alongside and the stunning jagged rocks above us. The fact that I am 55 years old, and still discovering new places, fills me with unparalleled joy. Those 5 days have allowed me to plunge back into my work with a renewed enthusiasm and a relaxed mind.


I always read posts on how to be a better entrepreneur, and what crops up time and time again is the importance of taking a break. In a world where mental health is being far more freely discussed (about time!), the internet abounds with articles written by both psychologists and entrepreneurs that discuss how frequently entrepreneurs suffer from anxiety and depression. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to succeed and often have families to provide for.

Time and time again, these articles note the importance of taking a break. As I discussed in my post over Christmas, we took some time off to relax and enjoy being with family. But sometimes, when our office is in our home, the temptation to check our emails or catch up with work we didn’t manage to complete, lures us in. When you go away, and you aren’t connected to the Wi-Fi, it is a chance to completely let go. In Matt Haig’s bestselling Reasons To Stay Alive, he notes the impact travel had on his own anxiety and depression.


When you are depressed and anxious your comfort zone tends to shrink from the size of a world to the size of a bed. Or right down to nothing at all. Another thing. Stimulation. Excitement. The kinds found in new places. Sometimes this can be terrifying, but it can also be liberating. In a familiar place, your mind focuses solely on itself… By forcing yourself into a new physical space, preferably in a different country, you end up inevitably focusing a bit more on the world outside your head.[1]


So if you can, I urge you to travel. It may not change your life, or give you that inspired new idea, but maybe, just maybe, it will give you that break you really deserve and allow you to come home a little lighter.


Until next time!




[1]Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive, Canongate Books, 2016, p.142-143