I have a small, four-by-four inch block of wood on my desk featuring the silhouette of a city skyline, orange, yellow and blue streaks interwoven around the black buildings. I picked it up at a pop-up market in downtown Washington, D.C. Handwritten in the sunset colors are the words:

Go Everywhere
Talk to Everyone
Eat Everything 

You probably wouldn’t be reading this e-newsletter right now if you didn’t share my love of traveling. The great thing about working in the travel and hospitality industry is that you’re constantly thinking and talking about going, exploring, venturing further. You’re always discussing more efficient and enjoyable ways to get to places — cruises, airplanes, car rentals — and how to maximize the experience there, such as shared vacation rentals, unique hotels, camping or glamping. Every day you help people have life-changing adventures. Rewarding? Absolutely. But when is the last time you took a vacation?

What a long, strange trip this pandemic has been. For some, life is reverting to a pre-pandemic rhythm, but the travel and hospitality industry is seeing extreme booking rates while simultaneously dealing with a lack of staff. You can’t keep facing challenges without a break. You need to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit for your own sake, and also to set an example for your team. As a leader, you’re likely encouraging your staff to take care of themselves and seek balance in a tumultuous time, but they won’t feel entirely comfortable doing so until they see you adding action to words. 

Travel + Leisure reported nearly half of workers in the United States leave vacation days unused — and when they do take a vacation, they tend only to enjoy a four-day break.

When you’re finally on that vacation, don’t work! “Spending weekends or holidays working undermines one of the most important factors that determines whether people persist in their work: intrinsic motivation,” the Harvard Business Review says. “People feel intrinsically motivated when they engage in activities that they find interesting, enjoyable and meaningful. Our data shows that working during leisure time creates internal conflict between pursuing personal and professional goals, leading people to enjoy their work less.”

Our members are great at keeping each other accountable when it comes to taking a break. It’s been reassuring to receive “out-of-office” notes from everyone. You all are going to some awesome places! I hope your summer journeys have been a reminder of what you love about this industry. 

Did you have an epiphany while away? Or maybe just ate something really, really amazing? Let me know!