Monday night, about 40 travel lovers gathered at Ginger Hop in Minneapolis to swap stories and secrets. A panel of four experienced career breakers took on the topic of “Faith Vs. Fear: The Career Break Face-off.” And Yours Truly served as Mr. M.C. Moderator. A good time was had by all!
After a social-lubrication hour, we had all attendees introduce themselves, tell about their career-break experience (if any), and mention the primary fear standing in the way of their fantasy BreakAway. The fears were mostly familiar, yet the Boomer’s concerns were sometimes surprising. Here are a few, plus my comments…
“I’m afraid that prospective employers will think I’m coming out of retirement.”
This came up more than once, and honestly had never crossed my mind before. But it seems totally legit, right? Picture someone half your age named Ms. H.R. Authority perusing your resume and sniffing, “You turned 62, took a year off to live in Peru, and now you want to go back to work? Really!?!”
“I’m worried about stopping contributions into my retirement savings—and spending money I may need later.”
That’s a smart worry. And we Americans are big spenders (who often forget to save in our early decades). But as we age, most people gradually come to their savings senses. My 2-cent retort remains: Wouldn’t you love to take one year of your retirement now—even if it means working one year longer later?
“I’m concerned that I might have health problems.”
Again, so real. Fortunately, one panelist had recently returned from an ambitious one-year travel-athon—despite having diabetes and needing to carry refrigerated insulin and give himself shots four times a day. Full disclosure: He was in his 20s. Yet his story inspires regardless of your age. And other folks reflected stories of getting good—and often cheap!—care in almost every country.
“What if my family needs me or my parents get sick or die?”
That’s a tough one. And as Boomers are learning en masse, some serious things happen as you age: Responsibility. Caring. Illness. Death. But why not talk to your parents and kinfolk and ask their opinion? They might just insist you go. They may even visit! And remember: If something bad happens, you can go home again.
“I’m just not sure I have the energy.”
Travel can be exhausting, no doubt. Yet there are as many ways to travel as there are people to get up and go—and the words “slow travel” came up often last night (including by young whippersnappers). A sleepy fishing village may be just the ticket; climb every mountain in your next life. On the other hand, maybe a Big Break would recharge those tired batteries and get you off your Boomer butt!
After all, is there anything more energizing than stepping out of your stale routine, landing in a cool new scene, and jump-starting the rest of your life?
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.