3 Lessons Solo Travel Has Taught Me

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Lynette (bottom left) with her team in Agoda

As a solo traveler, Lynette’s ideal trips are different from most people. Whether it is staying with a local family in Colombia, skydiving in the Czech Republic or climbing amid nature to Machu Picchu – one of the charms of travel for her is the opportunity to turn precious experiences into everyday lessons.

Starting in January 2015, Lynette (Leontine) Sarmiento has been working with Agoda as a People Technology Manager for almost four years now. One of the reasons that convinced her to relocate from the Philippines and join Agoda in Bangkok was the thrill of working abroad and traveling.

Throughout her ten-year experience of traveling and almost four years of working at Agoda, Lynette reveals that traveling has really helped her to identify with some of the company’s core values – Agoda Leadership Characteristics and DNA.

Let’s find out the three lessons from her travel that help her to connect with Agoda’s values.

Lesson 1: Be brave to try new things

Lynette while skydiving in the Czech Republic

Extreme air sports seem to take a lot of nerve to do. But Lynette believes in overcoming fear by facing it. That is the reason she decided to jump from a moving aircraft 18,000 feet above ground in the Czech Republic. “I feel like I’ve grown because I’ve pushed myself to do things that scare me,” shares Lynette when asked about doing terrifying or adventurous things.

Like skydiving, working at Agoda also requires her to step out of the comfort zone and challenge herself. “If you just do the same thing every day and don’t take risks, you don’t really push yourself,” says Lynette. As innovation is another important trait at Agoda, “The only way you can grow here at Agoda is when you do something that’s never been done before,” suggests Lynette.

Lesson 2: Break stereotypes

When Lynette told her family about her trip to Medellin in Colombia, they could not believe her. It is a city once known as the most dangerous in the world. Invited by a Colombian family met in Europe, she completely changed her views after a week staying and visiting hidden local spots with them. “If I didn’t experience that myself, I would still have that bad perspective and stereotype about the country,” admits Lynette. “I think Colombians are the best people in the world,” said Lynette truthfully. “Everything changed when I was there and really experiencing and immersing myself in their culture – totally different from what other people might say.”

Lynette with her Colombian family

Because Agoda is a multicultural workplace – with employees from more than 60 nationalities, the experience in Medellin reminds her of Agoda’s diverse culture and to respect the differences in the workplace. “I try to tell the folks here (at Agoda), it is better to see and experience things firsthand. That’s when you learn and change your views,” says Lynette.

Lesson 3: Stay positive and be patient

On a trip to Peru, Lynette learned how to stay positive and be patient. When she climbed up to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru, she saw “literally nothing”, since the weather there was very foggy. Disappointed but not hopeless, she waited there for four hours. Eventually the sun came out and the fog disappeared, showing a breathtaking scenery of Machu Picchu that left Lynette crying tears of joy.

Lynette before and after the fog disappeared at Machu Picchu

Lynette is a living example of another Agoda Leadership Characteristics – to inspire others. The positivity and patience is applicable to work as well. “Same with work. There is always the light at the end of the tunnel,” says Lynette to people out there who are struggling with problems at work. “You just have to be patient sometimes. The sun will always come out.”

Inspired by Lynette’s travel lessons? Join her in Bangkok or apply for any of our latest vacancies.