Home / News / Business Of Life /  Walks during travels help bust stress, trigger creativity

Balfour Manuel, the managing director of logistics services provider Blue Dart Express Ltd, likes to bring balance to his hectic work life by reserving a couple of short breaks each year apart from business travel. “I find it a luxury to be able to pull the breaks when I’m travelling for business and utilize even a few hours each evening to take in the city—whether it’s food, the people or general atmosphere. I spend this time trawling the closest markets, mostly hunting for music shops," says Manuel.

A pleasant speed breaker to slow down the frenetic pace of work is also a great way to not fall easily into the pitfalls of only an “office-meetings-calls" routine. “In the age of constant acceleration, the virtues of walking versus hopping on to a motorized vehicle are numerous. Especially when you are encountering a city for the first time. It helps to extricate yourself from the phone and absorb things in a paced manner," says Manuel, who believes travel triggers creativity and fresh ideas at work.

Travel wasn’t a focus while growing up, he clarifies. “It was only after I joined my first job that I had the independence to explore places on my own. It was travelling for work that triggered the passion to savour different cities. Now, apart from business travel, I like to take a vacation with my sons, or even take a few solo trips to refresh every year."

Growing up amid the lush Western Ghats of Maharashtra, Manuel had the opportunity to be always close to nature. “My friends and I had an unlimited supply of energy to walk up any low hill at the drop of a hat. There was no temptation to snap the landscape from a phone; only to enjoy it with our eyes. I don’t have the luxury or energy to do that anymore. Perhaps, that’s why I include walking while travelling. It’s a massive stress-buster," points out Manuel, who is in his 50s. “If the whole day has been packed with meetings, this is a great way to recuperate and find clarity of thought. With the mind rested and stimulated, I’m able to think afresh at work as well."

The hills of Maharashtra have been long replaced by the cool climes of Cologne, Munich, Bonn and Frankfurt. Manuel is a frequent visitor for work to these German cities. “Straddling the River Rhine, Cologne is especially stunning at night. One can never get bored of the rich architecture there. Munich is another favourite. It can be edgy and traditional at the same time, depending on which part of the city you’re exploring," says Manuel.

Music is a big part of his “agenda" while travelling. “When travelling to different countries, I ensure that I pick up some regional music from there," says Manuel.

Manuel believes that slowing down emphasizes connection to the people you meet and understand their world better. “I’m drawn to the local culture through the people of the place. I have no qualms in striking a conversation with anyone on the road or at a pub. The insights that you get to a place by talking can never be received by a brochure or website," says Manuel. “Somewhere, striking personal connections easily has an impact at work as well. It inadvertently enhances your communication skills and the ability to be more empathetic to your team."

Among the countries he has visited, Manuel finds the people of Turkey the warmest. “They are unabashed in their manner and always greet visitors with a smile," says Manuel. “Naturally their fascination with Bollywood helps to slip into a conversation quite quickly," he laughs, admitting that he has been mockingly referred to as one of the biggest superstars of India.

On the Road highlights the lessons industry leaders have learnt through their travels. Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com

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