I have been traveling more than a star circus monkey over the last few weeks, and I've come to the definitive conclusion that any travel, whether for business or pleasure or both, is one of the most restorative things you can do.

Generally, you only hear people talk of travel as a necessary evil that saps their strength, adds to their workload, and increases their stress. But I disagree. Of course, I’ll still seek out a heavenly massage or a day on the beach when I’m feeling overwhelmed, but I really believe that nothing will have you returning to the office refreshed and reenergized as much as a few days spent on the road. (Of course, having my beloved BlackBerry with me keeps me from returning to any surprises at the office and helps me stay on top of e-mails — the consummate time drag.)

When we travel, the opportunities to share ideas and opinions with people outside our usual business circles are invaluable. A couple of hours in a lounge chair with a cocktail can also be helpful.

I squeezed in some sightseeing, eating, and drinking for a few days in Prague and Budapest, and I got to spend time with both locals and visitors. The things I saw and heard were not only interesting, but they taught me a lot about various aspects of different cultures — from historic sites to favorite foods to drinking customs to simply everyday living.

I also participated in a Newport Beach charity golf event sponsored by American Airlines that was out of this world. You’ll hear more about that in one of my future columns, because it deserves an entire page. But, just as in Europe, I spoke with people from all walks of corporate life who gave me valuable insight on ways to handle a number of different business situations and decisions.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our own insular world that we often forget there’s a wealth of information just a conversation away.

Then I got to take a trip to Hawaii to meet and photograph the five winners of our Road Warrior contest. You’ll get to hear all of the details in our December 15 issue, which is when we’ll reveal who won. For now, let me just say that, as usual,­ we have some fascinating and fun winners that you’ll enjoy meeting and hearing about.

If I haven’t convinced you by now how good travel can be for you, perhaps some of the stories in this issue will.

We take a great train trip through some stunning towns and scenery in Mexico, sniff out some yummy places to enjoy an excellent Thanksgiving dinner outside of your own dining room, and visit with a phenomenal photographer whose images of Africa will have you longing to see the continent with your own eyes. And in our UpFront section, we highlight a number of places that are worth taking some time off to escape to.

As usual, we have a little something for everyone, and enough stories to keep you entertained through even the longest flights.

Picture of Sheri Burns