Travel is a creative way to let the soul expand. You need to be able to shift to a lower gear often, else you will just burn out, says Sachin Dev Duggal
Being a founder of one of the early cloud computing companies, Nivio, founder and CEO of Engineer.ai, an active investor in 20 technology startups, and a serial entrepreneur since the age of 17, Sachin Dev Duggal is constantly on the move. The 36-year-old, however, ensures his annual calendar includes several breaks, to unwind with his family. “It’s essential to know when you need to pause. Travel is a creative way to let the soul expand. You need to be able to shift to a lower gear often, else you will just burn out," says Duggal.
He’s always on the go: He recently had breakfast in Singapore, lunch the next day in Tel Aviv, dinner the following day in Tokyo, and returned home to enjoy Sunday brunch with his two-and-a-half-year-old son, Aramnäya, in Los Angeles.
Duggal says he has the ability to learn new things and enjoy cities in shorter bursts, despite the intensity of travel. “I have landed in a location only to find the meeting was cancelled or bumped into a childhood friend in a different country and reconnected. Those moments are all precious." He sees travel as a book, with each trip a new chapter. “You cannot think of trips in isolation—some chapters will be about relaxing and thinking, some about intensity and pushing your boundaries."
Travel helps him better understand unique markets, which is hugely beneficial for business, he says. “Travel gives you an appreciation for , where your target audience or business partners come from. It helps to understand their points of view and the manner in which they conduct business." Duggal believes there is a better transfer of knowledge between stakeholders of different backgrounds when people are well-travelled. “To me, the knowledge of different places and cultures is empowering," he says.
Travelling so frequently and on short business trips has taught Duggal to take unpredictability in his stride. The dynamic businesses he handles require him to accommodate quick changes in plans.
A good way to hit the brakes between dashing from one meeting to another is being at the beach, close to home. We are spoilt for choice near our home in LA, where we spend a lot of time at the Manhattan Beach. I love the sand and clear waters and have recently made the beach a father-son routine," says Duggal.
Sa Caleta in Ibiza is one of his favourite beaches outside of the US, and he got engaged there.
Duggal also makes an effort to a feel of the pulse of the local community and learnt about sustainability efforts.
“I loved a trip I made to Jim Corbett National Park in India with Wild Aid, an organisation that works on tiger conservation. Apart from being in the midst of shades of green, I got a chance to interact with the conservation groups and talk about the challenges and wins of one of the best wildlife destinations of the country," says Duggal.
In 2018, Duggal signed up for The Virgin Strive Challenge, a series of mass participation endurance events to raise money for charity. He swam 5km, cycled 160km, ran 11km and hiked 10km to the top of Mt Etna in Italy.
“The experience was harsh on the body, mostly because I wasn’t that prepared for it, but it was the perfect reflection of grit and resilience that one needs at work," says Dugal. “And gave me a new perspective on a new destination." On the Road highlights the lessons industry leaders have learnt through their travels.