insight magazine

GEN NEXT: Have CPA, Will Travel

A grueling busy season, and the long hours of everyday demands, had me looking for ways to mentally and physically recharge. By Leslie Zwirn, CPA | Fall 2017


It was going to be the longest stretch of time I had ever been away from home. I was feeling naturally anxious, but also brimming with excitement, when I hopped on a plane to spend five months studying in Sydney, Australia. Those five months ended up not only being unforgettable but also pivotal in the personal and professional choices I’ve made—I also caught the travel bug.

After landing back in the U.S., I continued investing in my personal growth by travelling, but it has become obvious over the years that it has also been crucial to my professional growth. Every time I step into a plane or car, I push myself outside of my comfort zone—I leave behind what’s familiar to explore the unknown. Travelling allows me the opportunity to push my boundaries, whether it’s sky diving over a beach in Australia or starting a conversation with someone eating alone in Italy.

These experiences have undoubtedly helped me in the workplace and have made me a better employee: I’m more at ease when encountering new situations; I’m more comfortable pitching an idea to my team or asking for a promotion; I’ve strengthened my ability to learn; I come to work with a smile and a feeling of joy to be surrounded by my coworkers; and, I live life with more confidence.

When discussing careers in accounting with experienced professionals, the advice I always receive is to do something specifically for myself. Travelling is that, keeping my mind fresh and providing a break from the daily stress we all face in this profession.

This year, I ate beignets as I strolled along New Orleans’ famed Bourbon Street. I listened to live music at Nashville, Tenn.’s Bluebird Café. I camped in Asheville, N.C., and went boating in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Travelling allows me to enjoy the little things, such as a smile from a stranger, the taste of new foods, or simply absorbing unfamiliar surroundings. I feel at peace when I travel, and I’m always excited to pack my bags. After all, the world is waiting for me—and for you.

Leslie Zwirn, CPA is an ICPAS Firm Ambassador and Senior Assurance Associate with the accounting, tax, and advisory firm CohnReznik LLP in Chicago.

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