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Expand Your Horizons — and Investing Ideas — Without Venturing Far

Written by Sarah Treleaven | Published on August 5, 2022

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With airport chaos, high gas prices and COVID-19 continuing to affect many of us, how do we continue to expand our minds and grow without wandering too far from the comforts of our own homes? We learned a lot about that during the height of the pandemic, and much of that can still apply today.

As we all continue to adjust to the new normal, whatever that may be, read on for ways to stay local and thrive in your own environment, build community, and rekindle your learning and relationships despite the uncertainties you may still be facing. And bonus? While exploring, remember that investing ideas — even during a pandemic — are all around us on a daily basis.

Be a tourist in your own town

There's nothing like a pandemic to make you feel like you've been doing the same thing day after day. But as restrictions have eased, consider new ways to explore your own hometown. Recent airport snafus have many considering staycations, and you don't necessarily need to venture far to reap the benefits of travel. Think about signing up for a day tour in your community, whether it's a food crawl, foraging expedition, craft brewery tasting or island-hopping ferry ride. You might very well see or learn something unexpected, or you may simply renew your appreciation for your own area — either way, it's a win.

Explore the world through your investments

Whether you tend to invest in homegrown companies or multinational firms, your portfolio (and watchlists!) can help kick off your next research adventure. Is your portfolio diversified geographically? Take a moment to explore the headlines coming out of the foreign markets your holdings touch on. Do you hold several sectors? Pick one you're less familiar with and dive into some reports. And remember: no market is an island. Paying attention to what's happening on the world stage can help you stay informed on global issues, like supply chain disruptions, that may impact your portfolio. (Hint: for a snapshot of what's happening around the world, head to the Market Commentary page found under the Research tab on the RBC Direct Investing site.)

Help someone new to your community

Something magical happens when you see your environment through a different lens — and a great way to do that can be by volunteering to help someone new to your community. Don't know where to start? In Halifax, the public libraries connect locals with newcomers who want to improve their conversational English skills; in Toronto, the Together Project pairs community volunteers with recent refugees for everything from nature walks to vaccine access; and the Vancouver Newcomers Club cultivates friendships between women through museum tours, book clubs and wine tastings.

Reconnect with an old friend

You may worry that your old contacts slipped away during the pandemic. After all, juggling competing family and work demands hasn't been easy. Still, you may wonder how your old friends are doing and reminisce about your pre-pandemic outings. Friends, old or new, can be our bedrocks during these trying times. With research showing that psychological stress can increase feelings of nostalgia, there's no better time than now to reconnect with an old friend. So, if you really find yourself missing someone, consider reaching out with a call or text message. It's important to temper expectations, but it's highly possible they miss you, too.

Learn a new language

During the early stages of the pandemic, I spent a lot of time scrolling through Instagram images of busy hawker centres in Singapore and pâtisseries in France. It was clear that I missed being out in the world. As time went by, I started to think about how I wanted to engage when things started to get back to normal — and that included improving my language skills. But digging into Spanish or Mandarin isn't just a gateway into a new culture; studies have shown that learning a new language can strengthen your mind, creating new neural pathways and helping to stave off degenerative disorders.

Put a positive spin on the story of your life

The last two years have given many of us time to pause and reflect on our lives — where we are, what we want and what kinds of changes we might consider moving forward. It's often tempting to focus these thoughts on where we've gone wrong, but here's another idea: Focus on where you've gone right. As noted by Harvard Business Review, the Reflected Best Self Exercise (RBSE) includes collecting positive feedback (both personal and professional) and then reviewing it at regular intervals. From there, note the patterns or themes that emerge. Where does your best self show up, and how can you use this feedback to excel in all areas of your life?

Focus on the future

Perhaps standing in an airport customs queue for hours makes the idea of boarding a plane utterly unappealing. But what about in six months? Or in a year? One of the hardest things about the pandemic was the lack of predictability, but it doesn't mean we will stop organizing. So, embrace this moment to make your plans — personal, professional and financial — for all the things you want to do, whether that's enrolling or re-enrolling in school, heading out on a bucket list safari or finally making a permanent move so you can be closer to the ocean. Not only will it give you something to look forward to, but when the time comes to make it happen, you'll be ready.

RBC Direct Investing Inc. and Royal Bank of Canada are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. RBC Direct Investing Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada and is a Member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Royal Bank of Canada and certain of its issuers are related to RBC Direct Investing Inc. RBC Direct Investing Inc. does not provide investment advice or recommendations regarding the purchase or sale of any securities. Investors are responsible for their own investment decisions. RBC Direct Investing is a business name used by RBC Direct Investing Inc. ® / ™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence.
© Royal Bank of Canada 2022.

Any information, opinions or views provided in this document, including hyperlinks to the RBC Direct Investing Inc. website or the websites of its affiliates or third parties, are for your general information only, and are not intended to provide legal, investment, financial, accounting, tax or other professional advice. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBC Direct Investing Inc. or its affiliates. You should consult with your advisor before taking any action based upon the information contained in this document.

Furthermore, the products, services and securities referred to in this publication are only available in Canada and other jurisdictions where they may be legally offered for sale. If you are not currently a resident of Canada, you should not access the information available on the RBC Direct Investing Inc. website.

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