View from Ruta 10, Panama.

Adventures in lieu of Relaxation

Running a business is its own form of “mental adventuring”, but truthfully, it’s filled with routine and structure. I feel like in order to really shake things up, and get some perspective, that I need the challenge of coping with new cultures, environments, languages and curious foods.

In 2014 my husband Rick and I rode our motorcycles from Vancouver, BC to Panama City in five weeks. We rode through eight countries, navigated questionable border controls, freezing cold, oppressive heat and survived all sorts of unfounded warnings from people about what was ahead. When I got back I was totally exhausted and came down with debilitating influenza. I couldn’t have been more happy or more invigorated!

A cold day crossing the emptiness of New Mexico.

Those five weeks turned my life upside down and inside out. I was forced to strategize about basic needs like food and shelter, cope with the elements and humble myself by asking for the help of strangers. Experiences like this cultivate empathy, teamwork, problem solving, resourcefulness and creativity. By being able to practice and sharpen these skills outside the office I was better equipping myself to bring new approaches when I returned.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect was being able to cultivate a greater sense of self awareness. Back home in the comfort of routine and structure, it’s a lot harder to see yourself. Challenges and adversity are necessary ingredients for self discovery. To test your own mettle from time to time rattles your perspective on life and forces you to check-in with yourself. For me this kind of check-in is a crucial realignment with my goals and personal happiness.

Only way to beat the heat: a bus shelter with no pants (Mexico)

When I return the adjustment period can feel a bit jarring, but it’s not long before I adapt the style of critical thinking I used on the road to normal life. In fact, often my first day back I have solutions to old problems. Things that used to push my buttons I don’t even notice. My creativity is heightened and I feel a tremendous sense of motivation. I also see the business with fresh eyes and feel excited about next steps and new challenges.

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Make is a digital creative agency, connecting with youth audiences. We are based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Sarah Tesla is the founder of Make and a world traveler. Her next adventure is in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Twitter/ Instagram: @sarahtesla + @lostnotfoundin
Twitter/ Instagram: @makeisawesome