Contemplating

Considering a career break can be overwhelming as fears and questions flood your head. You need some inspiration - well, we have it! We will discuss the circumstances that brought you to this point and examine ways that you can take advantage of channeling them into a career break. You can also find out the many benefits of taking a career break (trust us, there are many) and be inspired by hearing others' stories of self-discovery, inner-growth, and re-examining goals.

Check out articles in the following categories:
Circumstances | Benefits | Supporters | Testimonials

Recent Posts

10 Reasons Why Boomers (and Beyond) Should Attend NYC MPG: Big Boom Road Show
Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

1. You can make it happen soon.

Taking a career break takes time, right? Time to plan; time to be gone; time to wait until the timing is right. But Meet, Plan, Go’s NYC shindig on September 20, 2014 is right around the corner. All aboard!

Want career break help?
Want career break help?
Come to our day-long event

2. You know you wanna go.

On a career break, I mean, but why not the MPG event too? Harboring dreams is nice, but letting dreams set sail is nicer. If you’ve been fantasizing about extended travel for years (decades?), you’ve got to be getting closer to takeoff. Put away that delay and focus on the desire.

3. You’ll reap from the investment of a whole $99.

$99? That’s pocket change these days—a few minutes with a doctor, a moderately-priced dinner out, or a couple cab fares to nowhere. That $99 even includes beverages, lunch, and drink tickets. Wisely part ways with that Ben Franklin and get closer to parting ways with ennui.

4. You’re not getting younger.

Hey, Boomer: know those sensations like aching joints, weight gain, and lingering lethargy? That’s called aging. It’s normal. A career break will kick your butt at times, true. But nonstop new sights and sounds will also boost your spirits and fill you with newfound vigor. 

5. You’ll face your fears.

At this MPG get-together, the nagging drones of worry will get out-shouted by empathetic cheerleaders who’ve mastered the game. You’ll leave with less fear, more faith, and the strength to put your fears where they belong: In the past. 

6. You’ll hear from some savvy, skilled role models.

Not to worry: The speakers and panel leaders are just folks—not lucky millionaires or trust-fund brats. But they’ve somehow managed to run away for months (or years!). Solo. With family. Or with new friends they’ve met along the way.

How? They’ll show you. 

7. You’ll meet other dreamers and schemers.

Tips and tales are essential, but you’ll also find ample inspiration by simply surrounding yourself with dozens of fellow trekkers. There’s power in numbers—and in sharing your vision with someone who will think you are not nuts, but brilliant.

8. You’ll get answers to YOUR questions.

Will Vietnam have Prilosec (or whatever)? What’s the best way to buy RTW airline tickets? What about bringing my kids or grandkids? Whither my cat? People who’ve been there and done that will talk to you 1-1. Heck, your cat may even find a habitat for his sabbatical.

9. You’ll have some laughs.

Hey, this isn’t brain surgery. And while running away for months is serious business, the goal is a joyful journey. You’ll need to pack your sense of humor to endure snafus. And you’ll definitely hear some hilarious stories about the pratfalls and epiphanies of long-term travel.

10. You’ll learn about re-entry.

All good things must come to an end, it’s the same with a fantasy trip. So you’ll get strategies for returning to work, routine, reality, or retirement. Yes, you can (and probably must) go home again. But that’s the perfect place to rest up and start scheming your next BreakAway.

Eventbrite - Meet Plan Go Career Break Travel Event - New York City 2014

Kirk Horsted blogs at MakeYourBreakAway.com and offers speeches and seminars too. Since 1990, he’s taken five sabbaticals ranging from 35 to 355 days, from Grandma’s farm (SD) to Waiheke (NZ). He’s embarked alone, with partner, and with his perfect children. When he must, he works as a writer, creative consultant, and college teacher.  

Quit Your Job With Confidence
Thursday, August 21st, 2014

How can you just quit your job?

Kind of a tough question right? I think it is easier than some might believe.

Why do we work anyway? Is it to pass the day by and get some income, or is it to challenge ourselves and create ourselves? And if you knew you could leave your job for a year to come back to it, would you do it?

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I would think most people would say yes. So why not work towards doing that? If we worked smart enough to create a unique position for ourselves highlighting our strengths, we would create high value for ourselves. Being more valuable in your job will allow you to leave and give you options when you come back.

The decision to quit

My wife and I decided to quit our jobs and travel the world about two and a half years ago. We both graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2008 and found jobs in Oklahoma City. She decided to go to graduate school and take two years to get her nurse practitioner degree in August 2011. At that time I decided to get another job in the Energy industry in Oklahoma City as an Engineer. We both agreed that after Katie finished her masters degree, we would take off. I worked two years with my new company doing well, Katie finished her masters program, and we knew it was time to quit. We quit in May 2014 and have just started our RTW trip.

So far we traveled around the US for two months, went to the World Cup in Brazil, and now are in Portugal. We plan on traveling through Europe, New Zealand, Asia, Central America, and Africa for about a year and a half, hitting warm weather destinations the whole time. We also came up with a rule of for every four countries we spend time in, one of those will be devoted to volunteering for our whole stay.

Passing up the big offer

I had performed well with my company and made a good impression with my engineering role. After being there two years, I created a niche role for myself and started to have options open up for me to move up in the organization. Even though I was leaving to travel, I had the option to be welcomed back if we came back to Oklahoma City after a year of traveling.

However, this wasn’t my only option for re-entry employment. Two months before I was going to quit, another company approached me and asked me to start in five months time with a really good offer. Five months vacation and then a for sure job to come back to. Sounds pretty good and secure right? However, my passion for taking the trip we wanted to take exceeded my passion for traveling for 5 months and committing to something else.

Everything in life is not about money

It was a tough decision, but I believe you should do what you are passionate about. So I decided to go against ALL advice I received and declined the offer.

I decided to travel with open ends, realizing that there could be something I find along the way that could be more meaningful than creating lots of business for a company. In the end it is your life, and you have to live it, not by a company’s plan and standard for you, but by your own. After declining the offer, the company came back and said ok, we will extend this offer for 2015. Take your time and you have something to come back to if you want it.

How did I get all of these opportunities?

I think of work differently. Instead of coasting through work to retire after thirty-five years, I’d like to “retire” every fifth year with the ability to have a job for us when we come back from taking breaks.

Let’s work to be truly valued so that we can demand a career break and get it. You can become more valuable by doing these things in your career:

  • Work smarter to make a big impact with your group
  • Be positive, happy, and enjoyable to be around
  • Do more research on a specialty problem and uncover the unknown
  • Come up with an innovative idea to solve that problem or create another section of business
  • Take charge, execute, and grow your new idea or business section, doing it with no instruction from your boss, just informing your boss of your actions along the way
  • Realize you are now in demand and valued at your company
  • Have the confidence to demand more from your work, and negotiate leave with the ability to be hired back
  • You are in demand, be confident

Some are already in demand at work or valued and just don’t know the power they hold. Your company knows you can do a great job. They know you are doing a good job now, and know that you can do a good job when and if you come back. You are a sure bet to them and not a risky hire.

Telling my boss about quitting to go travel made me realize that if you have ambitions outside of work, whether that is taking care of your dad who has cancer, retiring, taking time off to travel, your company does not see that as a negative or a threat. They can relate with life choices a lot easier than leaving for another job.

Don’t hide your passions, but work them into your life and job and take risks to do so. If you have the passion to quit your job and travel then you also have the passion to stand up to others plans/advice and be happy doing it. Your good at what you do, so be confident about negotiating leave.

Just as much as you are scared to leave your paycheck, your bosses are scared to loose you. It’s not a one way relationship. If you have a good relationship with your company, then through that relationship they will be open to hiring you when you come back. If you can’t talk to your boss and colleagues about these things, then there isn’t much of a relationship, and you might have to depend on your connections outside of your current job. For me, regardless if I go back to my old job or take the other opportunity, the one thing I know is that my number one priority is to travel, and I won’t settle to pursue that dream right now.

Taking the step of quitting is something that seems pretty hard to do, but it all depends on what we want to do in life.  Like most change in life, the hardest part is within your own mind. Once I actually did it, I realized that I can achieve whatever I want to, I just had to go for it. If I can do it, you can do it, too!

Katie and Wes decided to quit their jobs in Oklahaoma City April 2014 and take some time to explore the world and slow down. Their lives were career oriented and too routine. They thrived for a big change that would let them experience actual value in their lives. They plan to travel for about 18 months to South and Central America, Europe, New Zealand, Asia and Africa. They want to travel around one month per country and try and do four countries per continent; volunteering in one country for every four that they travel to. Follow them on their blog, Facebook, and Instagram.

The Importance of Career Break Support
Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Digital Support is Good, But In-Person is Better

Often all we need to make change in our lives is a little push and encouragement. That’s why we created the Meet Plan Go Career Break Conference - for people with similar goals and travel dreams to meet face to face to get the support they need to take a career break leap. It’s like our website – but with REAL people who you can talk with face to face.  On September 20, 2014 you’ll make connections to past career breakers and future ones who you can bond with and ask questions!

Eventbrite - Meet Plan Go Career Break Travel Event - New York City 2014


Want to learn more – check out our video about the Importance of Support:

Getting people on the road to achieving their travel dreams is the best reward we can think of here at Meet Plan Go!  The weekly emails we get from people about how their career breaks have changed their lives is what convinced us to do another career break event for 2014.

See what past attendees have to say:

“My husband and I are 11 months into our trip around the world and we have a lot of thanks to send your way. We had been dreaming of traveling like this, but I didn’t think it was really possible until I read an article you were quoted in almost 3 years ago. Shortly after that, I attended the Meet, Plan, Go event in San Francisco where you spoke. Your story, and many others, really resonated with me and we made a commitment to make our dream a reality. And here we are.

Thank you for inspiring me and many others to take these leaps of faith. We’ve had an amazing trip including volunteering in Cambodia for three months. I can’t imagine not having taken this time to explore more of the world.” –Jill

“We leave in 16 days (exactly one year from the date of the 2012 national Meet, Plan, Go! meeting.”  –Kellie

“I wanted to reach out and thank you for inspiring me to travel. I attended the MPG nationwide event last October 16th 2012 in Minneapolis. After attending the event I obtained a lot of useful information which allowed me to research more. After researching I decided to take a leap of faith and put in my notice to quit my job early January 2013.” –Mitchell

“We ( my girlfriend at the time and now fiancé ) attended your seminar in may 2012 in NYC and took off April 2013 for 7 months. We have been home for a month now and had an incredible experience traveling and gained the extra confidence to go after attending your seminar. “ –Mike

Learn more about our conference September 20, 2014 in New York City!

Eventbrite - Meet Plan Go Career Break Travel Event - New York City 2014

Breaks are Necessary
Thursday, July 17th, 2014

The word “break” often has a negative connotation. A break up, break down, break in, break the law, break a leg. And the term ‘career break’ is no different – people of think of it as a bad thing.

Eventbrite - Meet Plan Go Career Break Travel Event - New York City 2014

However , a growing body of evidence shows that taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves productivity and creativity.

“Americans and their brains are preoccupied with work much of the time. Throughout history people have intuited that such puritanical devotion to perpetual busyness does not in fact translate to greater productivity and is not particularly healthy. What if the brain requires substantial downtime to remain industrious and generate its most innovative ideas? “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets,” essayist Tim Kreider wrote in The New York Times. “The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.” –via ScientificAmerican.com 

Taking a break from your typical routine, your career, or demands of life can be the best thing you can do for yourself. However, I didn’t need a scientific stufy to tell me this, I already knew. Taking a break from my work was the best thing for me.

No, I’m not talking about my career break I took in 2006 where I left my corporate IT career behind to travel around the world for a year. That break certainly was successful as it ultimately was the motivator for launching Meet Plan Go.

I’m talking about my break from career breaks in 2013.

Some of you may have noticed that the last big Meet Plan Go event we held was in 2012. It was a big success and contributed to putting many of you on the road to your own career break. However, after the event, I needed a break. I had been working so hard on getting others to take a break I had burned myself out. However, the year I took off from career break event planning was just what I needed. I used the time away to get out of my normal Meet Plan Go work routine and regroup. I focused on other projects on my personal travel website and as expected my creativeness and energy for Meet Plan Go returned.

I can finally say that I’m ready to get back to Meet Plan Go events!

We are changing up the format for 2014 in order to really focus on those who are serious about going and are looking for inspiration and advice on how to go about it. We are holding a full one-day conference in New York City so that attendees can have ample time to learn everything they’ll need to know and get all of their questions answered in person!

Get access to experts and connect to others on the same path.

This full day event will provide you with ample time to get your planning questions answered personally, and more importantly build relationships with others with your similar career break travel goals. There will be presentations and experts there to discuss:

• Getting over your fears
• Planning your break (budgeting, itinerary, volunteering, insurance, packing, working on the road, getting local, lodging, airfare, and more)
• How to market your travels into your job search when you return
Plus, in our break out groups you will be able to talk to travel experts and walk away with resources on specific areas of travel planning, travel modes, and travel options.

If you are tired of two weeks of vacation time and want to break away from the cube to explore the world, we will teach you how on September 20th.

Space is limited to 150 people. Reserve your spot now and spend a weekend in New York City!

Eventbrite - Meet Plan Go Career Break Travel Event - New York City 2014

A break might just be what the doctor ordered – I know it was for me.

Sherry Ott is the Co-Founder of Meet Plan Go and a career break evangelist.  She believes that every single person should have a career break on their resume!  Since her original Career Break in 2006 she has been traveling the world, living nomadically while running her own travel and lifestyle website Ottsworld.com.  @Ottsworld on Twitter

Beware Boom Doom & Gloom!
Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Be afraid. Be very afraid. The Baby Boomers (Americans 50-68 years young) have embarked on a precarious journey toward retirement. And though you may not care if you’re, say, younger than 50, you should. Because if Boomers can’t pay for their foodstuffs and hip swaps, we all will.

It could get expensive. Already, the U.S. government has a debt problem. Healthcare costs are making us chronically sick. And the 1/99 formula bodes ill for the 99%. All to say: A stinky financial fart may be brewing. And it’s not only going to redefine retirement, it may in turn jeopardize countless career-break dreams. 

Don’t believe me. Oh sure, I boast a few degrees, aced prob and stats, and hold several certifications, including the BISS (Because I Said So) and WMWY (What Me Worry? Yes!). But, hey, you do the research.

In this case, let’s break it down with 3 lowlights from the 2014 annual Insured Retirement Institute report. 

The percentage of Boomers who are confident they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement has dropped to 33%. 

Okay. That means about 2/3 of our current and future retirees don’t have a clue. Apparently, they still believe in Santa Claus, Uncle Sam, or the Grateful Dead, who sing, “I need a miracle every day.”

80% of Boomers report having savings for retirement. Of those, about half have $250,000 or more.

Hmmm. Let’s calculate:

Half of 80% (or 40%) have more than a quarter-mil. So 60% have less.

Any financial advisor worth his fancy glasses suggests you’d like 20 years worth of living expenses to retire smartly. Today, U.S. median income exceeds $50,000. Multiply by 20, and that’s a cool $1,000,000 in savings for most folks to get out of bed comfortably post paycheck.

43% of Boomers expect Social Security to be a major source of retirement income; 46% expect it to be a minor source. 

In other words, Boomers are counting on SS. Bigtime. Now, that’s not all bad, because (one good source says) SS provides about half of the income for 65% of Americans over age 65. And yet, everyone knows SS is at risk of spending too much while taking in too little (sound familiar?). So prudent pensioners-to-be must ask: Will SS still love me tomorrow?

One solution: Make more; work less

 

To be sure, we can’t all develop ulcers worrying about other people’s golden years. But we might want to take their medicine by not getting ourselves into the same sick jam.

That starts by taking money—and planning—seriously. Planning pays because, after all, nobody ever took a career break without earning a master’s in Planning first. And the “work less” subhead above reminds us that sabbaticals take time—as in, time away from work (income).

To this Boomer, retirement is not something you delay until your senior moments. Maybe it starts here, now, with what I dub the Retire Now and Then philosophy. Consider taking 5% of retirement along the way, even if it means working 5% longer at the end. You agree, right? Or else you wouldn’t be on this site. 

How to do that? It’s not so hard. Try to live by these oh-so terse 11 Commandments of Fiscal Fitness.

For starters, #1 is: “Live within your means, no matter what that means.”

Good luck. We’ll need it. And happy sails…

 Kirk Horsted blogs at MakeYourBreakAway.com and offers speeches and seminars too. Since 1990, he’s taken five sabbaticals ranging from 35 to 355 days, from Grandma’s farm (SD) to Waiheke (NZ). He’s embarked alone, with partner, and with his perfect children. When he must, he works as a writer, creative consultant, and college teacher.

Photo credits: 401(K) 2012, Shutterstock

‘Try Before You Buy’ A Career Break
Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Sherry & her motorbike in Vietnam

When I was preparing to run my first marathon in 1998, I started telling all of my family and friends about it; even though I had never run more than 10 miles at that point and really had no idea if I would be able to do the marathon or not. Yet I proudly told people that I would be running 26.2 miles in a little over 3 months.

When I started considering moving to Vietnam in 2008, I started to slowly mention to people that I would be moving to Saigon to teach for a year. I would hear and see their reactions and tuck them away in my brain. I wasn’t too confident yet that I would be moving – but I continued to spread the Vietnam-expat message in order to see how it felt to say me hear the words aloud.

Verbalizing Goals Is Powerful

Basically – I like to try big goals on for size; verbalize them, and then listen to what they sound like. Does it sound good? Does it roll off my tongue? How do I feel when I say it? What are people’s reactions?

Many goals dance around in our heads, but once you actually verbalize them it’s different – they move from your head into sounds. Sounds other people hear, digest, and remember.

It’s like seeing a great pair of jeans on the rack that look perfect – and then you go try them on and realize they make your ass look big and they go back on the rack. Sometimes you need to try your goals on for size. See what they look like and how they feel. Do they flatter you, or do they make you feel uncomfortable? What do others think about them?

This is what I recommend people do when it comes to their career break or travel goals. I know you dream of seeing the Pyramids, volunteering in India, or living in Bangkok, but have they been verbalized yet? Have you ‘tried them on’?

Try It On For Size – Say It Aloud

You can do it. Just let the words come out of your mouth in the privacy of your home…

“I’m going to take a career break and travel.”

How does it feel to allow the words to come out of your mouth? Liberating? Scary?

Now – go to your trusted friend and say it.

Next, go to a stranger at a Meet, Plan, Go! meetup and say it.

By stating your goal – you are more likely to do it.

This is one of the reasons we hold Meet, Plan, Go! events in your city; you can meet and talk to others about your travel goals – A supportive community who is more than happy to help you ‘try your goal on.’

Once you say it, it sounds good, it feels liberating; this is only the first step. Next start taking actions to plan that career break or sabbatical. What’s that? You don’t know where to start?

Hold On Before You Feel Defeated

Consider signing up for the Career Break 30 e-course – it’s free. It will lead you over the hurdles and through the entire process of planning and taking a meaningful career break or sabbatical; from the contemplation and preparation to on-the-road and re-entry. Plus, you’ll have support along the way from a group of people who all hold your same goals to travel.

And in the vain of trying before you buy – here’s a free checklist Go ahead. Download it. Try it on. See if you like it. If you do – then consider signing up for the Basic Training class and community to equip yourself with the tools to achieve your goal.

Try it on…verbalize it…and then move in the direction of your travel dreams.


How to Travel As a Couple on Career Break
Monday, May 19th, 2014

Warren and Betsy Hiking the Lycian Way in Turkey. Travel is a real test of a relationship!

How will your relationship fare during a career break? It’s easy to romanticize the entire thing, thinking your trip will play out like the couple version of Eat, Pray, Love. Even though reality is not quite as easy or predictable as the movies – thank the travel gods! – our friends and career break veterans, Betsy and Warren, say you can plan on a stronger, healthier relationship by the end of your career break by setting just a few ground rules and expectations.

Betsy and Warren Talbot first began planning their career break in 2008, and in 2010 they set off to travel the world (after hosting the first Seattle Meet Plan Go event!). While on their career break they began writing about their experiences and lessons, and it eventually spawned their own publishing business of books, courses, and a weekly podcast. Their career break actually led them to a brand-new career!  We’ve actually featured a number of their books on Meet Plan Go as they are great resources for career break planning, teaching you how to save money, get rid of your stuff, and overcome fear of making big changes in your life.

Now that they’ve been living, traveling and working together non-stop for four years, we wanted to ask them some specific questions about what they learned, and they sat down on the terrace of their new home in Spain to reveal some of the insights from their new book, Married with Luggage: What We Learned About Love by Traveling the World

Here’s what we covered:  

  • Travel actually strengthened your relationship – why is that? (0:25)
  • How did you handle the planning stages as a couple?  Did someone take the lead or was it shared responsibility? (1:23)
  • How do you make decisions as a couple when you travel? (2:25)
  • How do you manage when something really goes wrong? (4:25)
  • What one new thing did you learn about each other once you started traveling?  (5:33)
  • What tips do you have for spending 24/7 together as you are traveling? (6:48)

Popup_MWL_FinalWhat’s next for these two? They are taking a 12-city tour of Europe by train to mark the release of their latest book, and they are calling the whole trip An International Love Affair. Follow along at Married with Luggage to see what they uncover about love and romance as they ride the rails this summer.

And if you want an inside peek into the evolution of a marriage on the road, check out their 5-star rated book, Married with Luggage: What We Learned About Love by Traveling the World.

Overcoming Fear and Mental Hurdles
Monday, April 21st, 2014

Each person’s situation and fears are different, but most often our fears of career break and sabbatical travel fall into four main areas:
Financial: I don’t have enough money – you have to be rich to travel

Societal: What will others think if I leave my job to travel – my family, friends and peers won’t be supportive

Career: I will ruin my career with a gap on my resume

Safety: fear of travel in general (health, safety, theft)
You may relate to one or all of these fears to varying degrees. But an important first step is to recognize that these hurdles and thoughts are really stories you have created about yourself. They are not necessarily true, but they can have self-fulfilling consequences.

Best Case Scenario and Positive Thinking

We usually default to assuming the worst-case scenario will come true. But we challenge you to think about “What if everything goes right?” for a change. That’s right – just close your eyes and think about those perceived hurdles as opportunities.
Financial: I can learn how to better save money & budget which will benefit me/my family in the long run. I will also realize that I don’t need as much money as I think to be happy.

Societal: Others will love hearing my story of following my passions and I will inspire others to do the same.

Career: By taking this career break I will be more knowledgeable of the world and it’s cultures, a better communicator, able to work in a variety of environments, and demonstrate great flexibility that will make me stand out in interviews and cover letters.

Safety: I will learn ways to remain safe no matter where I am in the world and will see that how people & places are perceived in the media is not necessarily true for entire countries.
There is always a way to over get hurdles – always. Positive thinking is just a start.

Time is On Your Side

Keeping your fears all bottled up inside makes them turn into irrational monsters. Simply confronting and talking about your fears over time is another way to climb over the hurdles. Just listen to Kim Dinan, a future career breaker, speak about how her and her husband have been working through their obstacles over time:

Research the Fear

Another way to overcome hurdles is to educate yourself. It’s easy to jump to conclusions; it’s hard to do research. Instead of letting the fears spiral out of control, stay calm, do some research, and see if your fears are real or not. Adam Seper’s initial fear was that they didn’t have enough money to take a career break and travel, however once he started researching it and reading about others who have done it, he realized the fears were unfounded.

Through this course, we will help you confront these hurdles and leap over them. Most importantly we will introduce you to and surround you with people who have overcome these perceived hurdles. People who have done it and whose lives are better because of their breaks. It may not be an easy process, but nothing worth doing is ever easy.

Of all the risks you can take in your life, the one that stands out the most is the risk never taken at all.

 

A simple exercise to overcoming your fears;

ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR FEARS

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing, which you think you cannot do. “ - Eleanor Roosevelt

Writing down your fears creates awareness and choice. Make a list of all of your fears you have about taking a career break or sabbatical and traveling.  Write as fast as you can in a brainstorming format. Include EVERY fear, however small or irrational. Then read them aloud, suspending judgment. Allow yourself to feel the fear without letting it spiral you into negativity. Notice that being afraid does not have to mean being pulled off center and losing ground.

If it feels comfortable, share your list with a friend. Before sharing your list, explain that you simply want a witness, that you are playing with how it is to acknowledge your fears without being pulled off center by them. Be clear that you are not asking for help and that you do not need advice. You do not need to be ‘fixed’. Ask your friend to simply listen, and to acknowledge you for being conscious of your fears.


 

Making the Leap
Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

I’ve had a camera in my hand since I was a child, introduced to photography by my dad. My sister and I grew up with his Bronica ever present, despite our “Daaaad” (with whiny tone) protestations. I’m glad he persevered because we now have a priceless archive of thousands of slides showing our family and the countries we grew up in from the 1960s to the 80s when my sister and I left home for college.

I love photography. I love the process of creating a photograph: visualising the final result, making the shot, developing the film (yes, I still shoot on film) and then coaxing the final image out, gently shaping it during the printing stage. I also love being outdoors and walking. Mick (hubby) is also into photography, which makes things much easier. We focus on landscapes and wildlife.

I’ve had a day job as a project manager for 25 years. The thought of completely walking away from the corporate world and becoming a full time photographer has come and gone many times over those years. It hasn’t been practical, but as I trundle to work year after year, in the same zombie-like state as the thousands of other black-clad corporate commuters shoving their way off of train platforms and onto London Underground Tube platforms, my soul rebels.

Now, finally, we’re calling time on that life, even if only temporarily. We’re launching our On Your Doorstep photographic project which aims to (1) celebrate the great British landscape and (2) encourage people everywhere to get out and see the natural beauty that’s around them. For more information, check out our blog.

So, Mick, Bea (the dog), and I are packing our tent and heading out for a while. I can’t wait! We have some broad thoughts about where to go (The Lake District in England and various locations in Scotland), but we haven’t made any firm plans beyond the first week. The sense of freedom from not having every day mapped out is tremendous!

That’s not to say planning isn’t required; ours just focuses on what we need to stay warm, safe, and healthy rather than travel logistics.

Research

  • We’ve researched places that look interesting all over Scotland. We probably won’t get to them all, but it’s good to know. where we stand a good chance of getting the kinds of images we want. We’re also banking on local knowledge and lots of exploring to find hidden gems.
  • We’ve ordered a selection of good walking maps (Ordnance Survey).
  • I’ve found a couple of darkroom(s) in Scotland where I can at least make contact prints while we’re away, otherwise I’ll drown when we get back. Mick, being all digital, only needs to worry about having enough space on the external backup drive.

Packing

  • We have a well-worn packing list with everything from tents to smaller items like salt and pepper in the cook box (I love cooking).
  • British weather can be unpredictable, so we’re packing for cold, wet, snowy, sunny, hot and windy
  • Sturdy walking boots and good trekking poles go without saying.
  • Our emergency kit with compass, whistle, foil blanket and much more is ready. Every year the weather strands hikers walking the munros, even in Spring and mostly they’re not prepared.

Health

  • We’ve packed bug juice for midge season in Scotland as well as aspirin, bandages, antiseptic wipes, bandaids, etc.
  • We’ve ordered extra supplies of our prescription meds.
  • Bea has had her check-up and vaccinations, and we have tick treatments to take away.

Home

  • We’ve arranged house sitters.
  • We’ve arranged for our mail to be held at the Post Office while we’re away.
  • Our bills are all paid automatically; our bank’s great iPhone app allows us to manage our money.

Keeping in touch

  • Our website and blog are up
  • A Google custom map, embedded in our blog, will allow family and friends to follow our journey. You’ll find us on our website or Twitter @Thurmanovich.

This “just go” approach isn’t for everybody. We’ve quit our jobs, so we don’t have any guaranteed income to come back to; we’re making this our opportunity to really get our photography business going. We can supplement our income with temporary work where we need to, and even if we have to go back to “day jobs” for a while, the new business will have benefitted from some undivided attention at the crucial start-up phase.

Sometimes you have to close one door before another can open.

Boomers Know: Vacations Waste Time!
Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Did you know that Americans left 577,212,000 unused vacation days on the table last year? Now THAT’s a stat to be proud of! And since Baby Boomers still comprise 31% of the workforce (despite that the youngest of them is 50), we owe them a big thanks for their outstanding live-to-work ethic! 

It gets better. 49% of Boomers intend not to retire until they’re 66 or older. And 10% say they’ll never retire at all! And to think we’re wasting online ink here trying to promote career breaks? The average employed American takes only 10 days off—and refuses to use the remaining 4. We’ve got 144 million workers; you do the math! 

So let’s stop this balderdash about the beauty of breaks, retirement (temporary or otherwise), and time off. Let’s dispel some myths about this nirvana-utopia that one allegedly lands at when, say, you pack your bags and fly to Vietnam or Cabo or San Fran or wherever.

Myth #1: Vacations offer rest.

This, of course, is poppycock—since vacations stress the already over-stressed routine, require months of planning, days of packing, and hours of travel—and often on jets with bad air, dangerous food (if any at all), not to mention seats the size of one butt cheek. Once “there,” simple but essential acts like procuring Pizza Hut and finding a decent toilet can be a chore. The R&R happens when you finally get home and collapse back into your harried life. 

Myth #2. Vacations are affordable.

You kidding me? You gotta buy gas to drive anywhere, if only to the family cabin. And what about sandals and straw hats and Tommy Bahama shirts for the cruise or beach? Plus airfare and sleeps? Better to save your hard-earned cash for more important things, like big vehicles, Fleetwood Mac reunion tickets, and the newest iPhone.

Myth #3. You meet interesting people.

Nonsense! Vacationers (and the people who serve/sell to them) are unrealistic dweebs who like to set aside sanity for careless silliness. Take this guy. I recently met him while vacationing (gasp!) on St. John. He entertains lazy grinners and diners, makes guitars out of cigar boxes, and has been mastering his own musical style for years. Poor guy. He could have been a banker in North Dakota and gotten rich on the oil boom. 

Myth #4. You bond with family.

Yeah, so what? Who doesn’t get enough family—especially Boomers (who have had to deal with them for decades). Why make sandcastles with your grandkids when you already spent the holidays spoiling them? Stay home and stay tuned in and turned on. Find some Gilligan’s Island reruns and pay close attention to those hemorrhoid-remedy commercials! 

Myth #5. Vacations encourage exploration.

Ya sure, you can leave your comfort zone and go swim with man-stinging rays or climb rocks. But those are slippery slopes—and you could get your eye poked out. Stay on the job, I say, and keep up with your BookFace and Social Security and GetIntoMe accounts (when the boss isn’t looking). There’s SO much to explore in the office and online! 

This topic grows more vital daily—as frozen Americans fly recklessly away for warm “escapes” to potential doom and destruction, and others begin to ponder summer BreakAways. 

But you know better, right? Good! So stop dreaming. Stop scheming. And stop saving your money. Thank you!

Now, get back to work. 

Kirk Horsted blogs at MakeYourBreakAway.com and offers speeches and seminars too. Since 1990, he’s taken five sabbaticals ranging from 35 to 355 days, from Grandma’s farm (SD) to Waiheke (NZ). He’s embarked alone, with partner, and with his perfect children. When he must, he works as a writer, creative consultant, and college teacher.

Career Break Guide Table of Contents