Is travel a good investment? Though it doesn’t grow your money like “actual” investments, it does pay off.
How? Read the stories below to find out.
1. After a pilgrimage to India, Steve Jobs got the clarity he needed to start Apple
In the 70s, Steve Jobs took a 7-month pilgrimage to India, a trip he later called “one of the two or three most important things I’ve ever done in my life.”
He took the trip with his friend Dan Kottke. They slept in abandoned buildings, contracted lice, dysentery, and scabies, and when Kottke’s traveller’s checks got stolen, they had to cut their trip short.
Mic reports that Jobs returned home with “a renewed sense of self and spirituality”, and established Apple shortly after. Kottke was one of his first employees.
The trip made such an impression on Jobs that in 2008, he would recommend to Mark Zuckerberg that he take the same pilgrimage.
2. Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, transformed the company after a trip to Italy
When Howard Schultz joined Starbucks in early 1983, the company wasn’t selling cups of coffee, but whole roasted coffee beans. It wasn’t until after he took a trip to Italy and discovered Italian coffee culture that things changed.
He bought Starbucks from its original owners and, mimicking Italian coffee culture, opened the first Starbucks cafe, changing the way Americans (and the world) drink their coffee.
3. Elizabeth Gilbert’s trip around the world made her bestseller author
When Gilbert was 37, she wrote a book on her one-year adventure through Italy, India, and Indonesia. Her memoir Eat, Pray, Love chronicled her travels, as well as her recovery from a painful divorce.
The book was translated into over 30 languages, selling over 10 million copies worldwide. In 2010, it was adapted to a movie starring Julia Roberts, making US$204 million at the box office.
4. Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder of Redbull, discovered the energy drink in Thailand
Back in 1982, Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz was a 40-year-old toothpaste salesman travelling in Thailand. There, he noticed the tuktuk (electric rickshaw) drivers drinking a beverage called Krating Daeng to stay awake.
He tried the drink and was amazed at how it made his jetlag disappear. He partnered with the owners of Krating Daeng and changed the recipe, eventually carbonating it, selling it in a slim silver can, and renaming it Red Bull. And the rest, as they say, is history.
5. JK Rowling came up with the idea for the Harry Potter books on a train
In 1990, 25-year-old JK Rowling was considering moving to Manchester with her then-boyfriend. After looking at some flats, she took a train back to London, and the idea for Harry Potter came to her.
“Coincidentally, I didn’t have a pen and was too shy to ask for one on the train, which frustrated me at the time, but when I look back it was the best thing for me,” she told Urbanette magazine, Newsweek reports. “It gave me the full four hours on the train to think up all the ideas for the book.”
She wouldn’t finish her book until five years later, and it would take her a few more years to get it published. But now, as we all know, Harry Potter is a multi-million franchise, making Rowling the richest author of all time.
6. A trip to the beach led to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s most successful work (so far)
After the first year of his Tony-winning show In the Heights, Miranda decided to go on a beach vacation with his now-wife. In the airport bookstore, he picked up a copy of Alexander Hamilton, a biography by historian Ron Chernow.
This seemingly innocuous purchase led to the highly successful musical Hamilton, which earned Miranda multiple Tony Awards, a MacArthur Genius grant, and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, to name a few. Miranda is said to have a net worth of US$10 million.
So is travel a good investment? What do you think?
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