Why to Travel to Foreign Places

In Chapter 2 of 15 in her 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, entrepreneur Audrey Parker French answers "What Have You Found Most Rewarding About Traveling to New Places?" French not only learns to be more open to new experiences while traveling abroad but also to embrace home more fully after getting a new sense of appreciation for Austin, Texas. 

Audrey Parker French returns to CYF for her Year 3 interview after a one-year sabbatical from work and getting married.  She co-founded CLEAResult, an energy management consulting firm.  In 2010, CLEAResult ranked #144 in the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies.  In late 2010, CLEAResult was sold to General Catalyst Partners.  She graduated from Wake Forest University. 


Erik Michielsen: What have you found most rewarding about traveling to new places?

Audrey Parker French: I find that traveling to new places and experiencing new things just reminds us all that we can have new eyes when we look at things, a new perspective. And for the 6 weeks abroad that my husband and I enjoyed last fall, just really having the freshness of perspective to see that people’s lives are lived in all different ways, in all different languages, in all different cultures, and it helps free up any of the, you know, everyone does it this way, I have to do it this way kind of things that just run in the background of our minds that we don’t necessarily pay attention to.

It’s just like, well, this is how everybody does it, and when I – when we got the opportunity to travel and look around and see not everybody does this like this, not everybody eats like this or goes to work with the same attitude or for the same purposes or lives the same lifestyle, there’s just – there are so many new things to see and travelling is just an opportunity to have perspective on our own lives and learn anything and everything that we didn’t even know is out there to learn.

You can go to a new place and before you know it, you’re learning things about that place that make it special and unique, and it has you realize the special and unique things where you live, where – it was amazing just to come home. We started seeing our home – our hometown, Austin, Texas with new eyes. And really comparing it to other cities and countries and just saying, “We really have a new appreciation for where we live.” Seeing the quirks and the culture and the flavor and the things that for us are like home for us, and yet they are very different to other cultures. Other people of other places would come here and point out all sorts of things that they thought were different or interesting and to us it’s life -- it feels home, so it brought an expanded perspective to us of how other people live and a new appreciation for how we live here and just the fact that we love where we live and we love the culture and the people, and it really could be – all those things could be very, very different.