Contemplating

Travel Is Not As Expensive As You Think
Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Think Good Thoughts

Think Good Thoughts – Travel isn’t as expensive as you think!

“Travel is too expensive, I can’t do it.” Sound familiar?

Tripping yourself up with the “travel is expensive” myth is a sure-fire way to defeat the dream before you even give it a chance to breathe.

Before you defeat your dream consider this: A vacation is different from traveling. Maybe up to this point you’ve only taken a vacation, a one to two week trip you saved up for and enjoyed thoroughly. On average – a vacation that includes a flight, hotel stays, and eating out for every meal can cost anywhere form $1,000 to $2,000 per person per week. Plus when you go on vacation, all of your other monthly expenses don’t go away. You still have to pay for your mortgage or rent, car, electricity, water, magazine subscriptions – this all continues while you are on vacation.

Time is on Your Side

When you travel for an extended time this scenario of costs change because time is on your side.

Airfare

First you buy a plane ticket – but you stay longer, much longer in a region. The cost of your $1000 plane ticket overseas is now spread out across 4 weeks instead of 1 week potentially. Plus – once in that country, you have a myriad of transportation options to get from place to place in the region. You may get around the country or region by local transportation now since time is now on your side. No need to maximize every second of your vacation; slow down and relax – by doing so you spend less money.

Lodging/Food

You will also most likely not stay in high priced hotels or resorts for a long term lodging solution. You will start to be introduced to the world of guest houses, couchsurfing, and hostels; or simply more budget style hotels. You’ll find accommodation with access to a kitchen and can cook some of your own meals. You won’t be dining out for every meal; going out to eat all the time can get tiresome not to mention costly.

Monthly Expenses

Here’s where the real money savings happens…your monthly expenses go away. Maybe not all of them – but a good majority of them no longer are expenses while you travel. Consider this list (below) of typical monthly expenses for people. The ones in red will, or can, disappear while you travel.

To begin with, you can sublet or sell your home. We know that may be a big step for some, but by doing this you remove many monthly expenses! You potentially don’t have to pay to put your items in storage. No more electricity/gas/water bills. In addition, when you travel, you no longer have to supply your home with stuff like toilet paper or cleaning supplies, these normal day-to-day expenses go away while you’re on the road.

You can also get rid of your car or simply store it while you are gone and reap the benefits of no insurance payment, maintenance, or fuel charges. You no longer have to commute to work, or dry clean work clothes!

Sure – other new expenses are added when you travel – but not at the same rate as it takes to live day to day and maintain a dwelling and job.

Before you know it your monthly expenses disappear and the amount you will need to simply travel becomes ‘reasonable’ . So don’t think about your budget in terms of a vacation budget; extended travel is much different!

Download the Excel Sheet: What Can Disappear?

WHAT CAN DISAPPEAR? Current Expense Expense While Traveling
Rent/Mortgage  x
Rental/Home Insurance  x
Electricity  x
Water  x
Heating  x
Gas  x
Garbage Pickup  x
Telephone/Land Line  x
Mobile  x
Cable  x
Internet  x
Auto  x
Car Maintenance  x
Fuel  x
Car Insurance  x
Lease/Loan  x
Parking  x
Tolls  x
Warranty  x
Commuting Expenses  x
Medical Insurance  x
Gym Membership  x
Clothing  x
Dry Cleaning/Tailoring  x

What other expenses do you have that will disappear when you start your career break?

The Naysayers
Thursday, August 8th, 2013

A group of career breakers future and past meet in Seattle at a local meetup

No matter what it is that brought you to the decision to take a career break, it’s important to keep reminding yourself what that motivating force was.  You will meet naysayers along the way, trying to get you off course and doubting yourself and your choices. There will be people telling you that are ruining your life. Telling you that your life will never be the same. They’ll say things like:

  • “You’re going to ruin your career, you know?”
  • “Why don’t you just wait until you retire?”
  • “It’s not safe to travel where you’re going.”
  • “Must be nice to be rich.”
  • “That’s the worst thing you could ever do for your kids. How selfish.”
  • “You’re traveling for a year with your wife? Good luck not killing each other.”

And while the statements above may infuriate you, they are right about one thing. Your life will never be the same. If you decide to take charge of your life and take back your time, things will change. If you decide to truly make your dreams come true, the person you are right now, this second, will change. And it will change for the better.

While the detractors like to think that you’ll end up in a gutter somewhere if you dare veer off the path set forth for you by society, chances are the opposite will happen. You’ll come back from a break like this more open-minded, more willing to try new things, more outgoing, more able to adapt to change, more motivated, and more confident than ever before. Life as you knew it before your career break will be but a distant memory.

Eliminating Negative Human Influences

Crafting your environment is not only about surrounding yourself with people of similar mindsets and goals, it also means that you may have to change your relationship with people who don’t support your goals. There will be people in your life who don’t understand why you are doing this – then what do you do?

Simple – ditch the haters. OK – maybe it’s not that simple. What if they are friends or family? You don’t have to disown them – but consider not sharing this part of your life/plans with them. As long as you have other supportive people to share with, then you simply can change how and what you engage with the non-supportive people about.

Katie Aune shares how she handled the reaction of unsupportive friends and where she found a new support system to lean on.

Remember – staying motivated and achieving goals is about surrounding yourself with supportive people. One of the most important things you can do in order to stay motivated and moving towards your goal is to craft your environment to be supportive.

Where to find people in your community:

• Meet, Plan, Go! Events: We hold local events in a handful of cities  – check out our calendar and see if you can join in the Career Break conversation with people in your city. You can fill out a traveler profile over at Bootsnall.com and meet other long term, career break, and around the world travelers!

• Meetup.com: Search for “Travel” in your town/city and see if there are any groups meeting in your area. If you didn’t find one in your city, then you can start your own – it’s simple to hold your own meet-up group.

• Travel Massive: A global initiative to connect people in the travel industry locally, bringing together travel bloggers, brands, startups and socially engaged travelers

• Couchsurfing: A worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the local communities they visit.

Non-Human Influences

BOOKS: Here are some of our favorite career break and travel-related books.

• Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

• The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett, Amanda Pressner

•  The Career Break Traveler’s Handbook by Jeff Jung

• Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau

• Escape 101 by Dan Clements and Tara Gignac

• Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim

• Reboot your Life by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, Jaye Smith

Have you ever come across Naysayers when talking about your career break?  How did you handle it?

 

Quality of Life Priority Number One
Friday, June 7th, 2013

After his five month career break with his now wife, Matt Goudreau sees how that time helped them set both their life and work priorities.

Matt Goudreau

It all started on New Years Day 2009. After two months of dating, my ladyfriend Shara and I made an impromptu decision to celebrate our upcoming birthdays in London and Paris, which would be my first big international trip.

So, one month later, we went. We ate, drank, saw the sights – loving every second of it. You could say we caught the “travel bug.” At that point we had a similar revelation: we were merely content with our jobs; the word “happy” was never used. She being 29, me 31, and both kid-free, we thought it was the ideal time to take a leap. Like many other dreamers, we wanted to leave our jobs and travel the world. Easy decision, tougher reality.

We spent March and April figuring out how we could actually do this (i.e. budget), where we would potentially go, length of trip, and what would we do when we returned. After much research, we decided with great excitement to make the leap; however, we figured we’d need the next 8 months to work the details out.

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Travel: Finding a New Future
Thursday, April 25th, 2013

As former workaholics it had taken decades for us to find ourselves in a fairly unique position. We were financially quite well-off, we both enjoyed successful and rewarding careers with the free added bonus of exhaustion and stress. We weren’t millionaires, but as quite a frugal couple, we’d never squandered our hard earned cash on opulent apparel, but we did splash out on vacations and new cars now and again.

 

We’d paid off the mortgage on our main home, purchased a vacation property overseas, we dined out most evenings of the week, and had all the latest gadgets and gizmos.  We had everything that the world associates with a happy, successful couple. There was one big problem; it really didn’t satisfy us.

We wanted to travel the world, and we were in our late 30s and early 40s, so the clock was ticking.  We were far too young to afford to retire for life, but could we turn our back on everything we’d worked so hard to accumulate and give it a go for a while?

Planning to take a Career Break Took Too Long

We spent over three years researching and looking into the possibility of how to make this a reality. Logically (that’s the logic of our past consumer world) said it just didn’t make sense for us to walk away from our high income jobs. The economy was in freefall, and getting back into the market after the trip would be near impossible. Then a whole series of further doubts and reasons not to make the jump came.

What about family and friends? Could we leave them for so long would we miss them too much?

What if we couldn’t live out of a backpack for months on end?

Would we miss our home comforts?

What if we get ill?

What if we get robbed?

These are just a small sample of the endless questions and doubts we wrestled with while holding firmly on to our dream of traveling long term.  In the end we found answers to all of these questions on sites like this and from other travel bloggers who had already made the leap and were sharing their experiences.

Travel Risks Vs Rewards

So we took the risk, quit our jobs in 2011, and started de-cluttering of our lives.

Clearing the house and our lives of possessions was liberating and at times a little sad. After 20 years together, some of the things we had to say farewell triggered fond memories. But in a way we now know we were just making lots of room for the countless new memories that would replace them on our trip.

We sold the cars and other things that we no longer needed, sorted all our files and paperwork, and made them available on-line so that we could access everything on the road.  We rented our home out and finally wrote a will (just in case).  We then said an emotional goodbye to family, friends, and work colleagues.  There was no turning back now, and we were excited (and also a little apprehensive) as we departed, in December 2011, to catch a flight to Australia.

We’ve been traveling ever since, and the trip has been the most amazing and fulfilling experience we have had together.  Experiencing so much each week, it’s difficult to express everything we’ve learned about us as a couple and individually, as we are still learning and changing.

Freedom to Travel Long-Term

Currently we’re living off our savings and rental income from our home, and plan to do so for a good while yet as we travel on a low-cost ‘flashpacking’ budget.  We will begin to think about working to fund our travels in the future, though not just yet.

We no longer measure success in terms of monetary wealth. We appreciate that there are few certainties in life (other than birth and death), so we are doing the best we can to fill the space between these with new experiences.  We have no regrets about what we have done. There are things and comforts from home we miss occasionally, but those emotions are fleeting as another experience smacks us in the face and reminds us how truly lucky we are.

Regrets About Leaving Our Home Behind?

We wish we’d started this journey sooner and not spent so many years trying to analyze the consequences. We initially intended to spend just a couple of years traveling around the world; however, our long-term plan is now to live a location independent life, picking up work when and where we can find it. Do we know how we are going to do that?  Not yet, but we have plenty of ideas, and we will look at them in more detail soon.

There is so much more we want to explore that we no longer want to return to the lives we once had, and also realize that you don’t need to win the lottery to do this. We’ve met many people of all ages and backgrounds who have very little in either savings or income, yet they still manage to fulfill their desire to travel by working temporarily in all manner of jobs around the world, and then using this cash to pay for their next adventure.

We have learned as the trip has progressed that things often work out better if you don’t rush them. The future comes every day, so if you miss today’s opportunity, another will be along tomorrow.

To find out more about people who left their jobs to travel, check out the following articles:

In 2011 Craig and John sold off most of their belongings, quit their jobs, and set off around the world.  They bought a one way ticket to Australia and have been heading west across the globe ever since. Their blog features destination travel advice and tips for the older long term traveler.  They travel in what they call the flashpacking style, avoiding shared dorms and bathrooms at all costs.  Their posts are accompanied with some great travel photography featuring the architecture, cultural treats, and people they meet on their travels.  They blog about their journey at flashpackatforty, or you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter

Are Societal Pressures Stopping You?
Thursday, March 14th, 2013

When pondering the idea of a career break, there are a multitude of hurdles one has to overcome. We have touched on the “career fears” that prevent one from embarking on a career break. Another fear we come across are those that society places on us. Many people can’t relate to taking a career break and veering off the expected path in life – and those people are the ones that can make you question your own decision.

Many of our career break experts for Meet, Plan, Go! share the reactions they received when telling family, friends and colleagues about their decision to take a career break to travel. And you may be surprised by how positive people can be.

Meet, Plan, Go! NYC Panel

So what were some of the reactions our panel received?

Brook Silva-Braga (A Map for Saturday)
Co-workers and family were surprised such a career-focused person would up and leave. They didn’t understand my ambition transcended money, it was an ambition for accomplishment and adventure in various forms. But in my experience very, very few people took a negative view of the decision; they were jealous or perhaps confused, they didn’t think it was realistic for them (for a series of dubious reasons) but they thought it was a cool idea.

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Setting the Wheels in Motion
Monday, January 14th, 2013

During a recent sermon, our pastor preached about not living a life of “accumulating regrets.”  At that moment, my husband and I glanced at each and we both knew what the other was thinking…let’s do it.  Two Southwest tickets and four weeks later, we were sitting in Bar Louie in Chicago for one of the nationwide Meet, Plan, Go! events.  We had just taken the first step in planning our round-the-world (RTW) journey.

There’s just something about being in a room packed full of travel junkies that is intoxicating.  When my husband and I left the event, we were high as planes mid-flight.  Unlike most “conferences,” there were no awkward conversations with strangers.  You see, each participant’s nametag announced two important items of interest:  the last place visited and the next on the list.   Conversations flowed loosely and easily between people who had just met.  The intoxicant:  Travel Talk.

“Wow, we really should have done this 15 years ago,” was my initial reaction after spending four glorious hours with people who had really done it.  By “it,” I mean extended ’round the world travel.  Sixteen years ago my life was so simple.  I was mid-20′s, freshly divorced with a job and an apartment.  That was it.  No husband, no kids, no pets, no mortgage.  Unfortunately, I drank the corporate Kool-aid and decided it wasn’t the right time for such an adventure.

Fast forward to present:  I’m now in my early 40′s with a 50-ish husband, three businesses between us, two middle-schoolers, a dog, a cat, and a big house.  I now understand that the time is never “right.”  However, the yearning to experience the world is one that comes from the core of your soul.  Either it’s there, or it’s not.  And here’s the kicker…if it’s there, it never goes away.  Ever.  All the stock options, and vacation time, and fancy kitchens won’t scratch that itch.  Trust me.

Since leaving the Meet, Plan, Go! event in October, we have put the wheels in motion for our RTW journey.  The first step was getting our daughters on board.  It’s hard enough for two people to agree on the particulars, much less four people.  Although my husband and I might do it differently if it was just the two of us, it’s not just the two of us.  Everyone’s vote counts and while our 13-year-old was initially on board, she’s recently changed her mind. Nonetheless,  we’re planning to start our five-month tour in October 2013, focusing on Southeast Asia, New Zealand and  Australia.  We know it is a LOT to cover in five short months, and we are prepared to let the final version unfold along the way.  Based on the wise counsel of RTW veterans, we are opting to buy point-to-point tickets rather than RTW tickets.  Flexibility is key.

We’re now arranging the pieces of the RTW puzzle.  Remember paragraph four?  It is overwhelming as a whole, so we’re breaking it into small pieces and finding solutions for each piece.  Here’s what it looks like so far:

♦ Thanks to eBay and Craigslist, we are purging our excess stuff and preparing to put our house on the market in January
♦ We have sold one business, and have interim solutions in the works for the other two.
♦ We are fortunate to live in a school district that values these types of experiences.  Between homeschooling resources and the girls’ teachers, we will ensure they are prepared for re-entry in the spring.
♦ Did I mention that one daughter is in the middle of orthodontic treatment?  We have a solution for that, too.  Our top-notch, well-traveled orthodontist has worldwide professional connections.  We’ll visit orthodontists as necessary along the way.
♦ Finally, our beloved pets.  This is the most difficult detail of all–logistically and emotionally.  We will place them temporarily with loving foster families.  We are still working on this one…

The bottom line:  For every challenge, there is a work-around.  It’s just a matter of identifying it.  We all have a million and one reasons why the time isn’t right.  However, I am writing this from the aisle seat of a LAN flight from Cusco to Lima, Peru.  There is nothing like hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu to remind you that so many of the world’s great experiences should not be postponed until your Golden Years.  You can always work, but can you always travel?

Kellie McIntyre spent 15 years in corporate healthcare surviving on three weeks of annual vacation time.  She’s now a full-time mom, part-time real estate manager, and part-time family adventure planner.  Kellie and her family live in Vestavia Hills, Alabama

Lost Job? Go Travel!
Monday, September 10th, 2012

Laid off? Go travel!

That’s not usually the advice that follows after losing your job. But for me, that’s just what I needed to fulfill my adult-lifelong dream.

After college, I chose the standard newbie route to travel for five weeks through Western Europe. I booked a tour and off I went by myself. I was not aware at the time that this would be the start of my travel journeys. Little by little, trip after trip, I’d get my feet wetter and wetter and take more adventurous journeys far across the world.

My trips prepared me for the BIG one. The trip that would be the best, the longest, the greatest trip of my time. I just kept getting sidetracked. Almost 5 years passed since I came up with a plan to just go. By this time, I was all talk. No one believed me anymore. I was starting to rethink things too. Maybe I would be okay with only the normal two-week vacations?

No, I needed more. However, three main things kept getting in my way: my job, life and love.

The job obstacle disappeared when I was laid off due to the economy. Everyone I knew was getting laid off, the job market in California was so bad. But that was exactly the ‘push’ that I needed and honestly, I wasn’t happy at my job anyway. I was unemployed for a little over a year. Since I was convinced this was the kicker that I needed, I spent this time researching, researching and researching. I have been brought up to save my money as much as I can and be thrifty, so luckily I wasn’t in a financial jam. I had plenty of savings to be unemployed before my big trip.

The life obstacle turned into greater strength and determination for me. The more I thought about my plan and laid it out, the more I wanted it. I also had a lot of support from family and friends.

And the love obstacle eventually turned into marriage. Just as I was getting the strength and determination to go, along came love and I just couldn’t pass that by, could I? Well, I was lucky enough to meet someone who didn’t shy away from my plan. He embraced it as much as I did.

We came up with a loose itinerary. He quit his job. We spent months downsizing our apartment. We sold the remainder of what we didn’t want at our two yard sales. What we wanted to keep, we moved into our families’ garages. We sold our car, got rid of our cell phone contracts, terminated utility bills and switched the rest of our bills to online payments.

We got married in November 2011, said our goodbyes for two weeks and then took off! So yes, this has been our ‘extended honeymoon.’ I feel grateful for sticking around for so long because now I get to experience this with my husband, my best friend.

I do worry about what this break in my resume will mean when I go back. However the spiritual and hands-on experience that I’ve gotten far outweighs a steady stream of work.

And here we are, we are about to embark on the next chapter in our lives. If all goes well, we’ll settle and start our new lives in Hong Kong. Sure, it took me many years of contemplation, but for a trip like this, sometimes you need that time to prepare and the extra wait can make it that much sweeter when you finally go.

So whatever kick you need, you’ll know it when it hits you – take it and go!

Teresa Yang lost her job due to the poor economy, but made the most of it by planning for her dream trip, getting married, and then taking off with her new husband on an extended honeymoon. So far they have been to Japan, South Korea, China, Taipei, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Hong Kong. You can find Teresa on Facebook and Flickr.

Dreaming of your own career break but not sure where to start?

Join us at the national Meet, Plan, Go! event on October 16!

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Ideas for Planning a Career Break
Friday, August 31st, 2012

This post is brought to you by Thomson, which is part of TUI UK.

One of the most amazing things about humanity is that if you walked into a crowded room today and asked everyone about their dream destination, it’s very unlikely people would name the same places. You may have a yearning to go to Tenerife, Paris, Las Vegas, Moscow… but it takes courage, not to mention money, to take a career break and head out into the unknown.

The reasons people go on holiday are often quite obvious: for example, honeymoons, summers, rejuvenation, or family time.  But people who travel for a month or more and discover new things go for less obvious reasons and their journeys begin long before they start researching destinations or flight deals.

The problem is that a vague idea of living in Las Palmas and teaching English doesn’t always translate easily into a plan – particularly if you have a family, career and other responsibilities to consider. We’ve compiled a few ideas that may help you:

Book an around-the-world ticket.

So many people begin their careers early, meaning they have less time to travel when they’re younger, meaning they miss out on the traditional gap years in skiing resorts and summer camps that are offered in many countries.

But why should gap years be reserved for young people? There are many temporary jobs available for people who have experience working with customers or with numbers, and if you’ve seen the benefits gap years have provided for your children, you may be encouraged to plan a year away alone or even with your spouse.

Learn something new

If you’re feeling stagnant or tired at work, it may be time to learn a new skill – not at university or by correspondence – but in a new country! Some of the career breaks you might like to consider include learning a new language, working with children, adventure activities such as scuba diving or sailing, cooking, teaching or mountain biking.

Give back

Many people choose to do volunteer work overseas as it has the double benefit of immersing you in local culture and providing you with the opportunity to do more than simply pass through the country. There are companies that provide placements for those interested in volunteering in areas like wildlife, conservation and community. This can include working with homeless children, teaching English, doing environmental work and raising awareness of conservation.

Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

A wonderful thing about traveling is that every person gets something different out of it, whether it’s wisdom or adventure, and every person has their own preferences when traveling, whether they’re eating in restaurants, shopping in markets, swimming lakes or hiking high up in the wilderness. And there’s no perfect time, bank balance or destination that you need to wait for, just go!

Jane Shelley is an Australian travel writer. She loves venturing to Asia, Europe, Britain and the United States, although when at home she lives in Sydney.

Inspired by Meet, Plan, Go!
Monday, August 13th, 2012

Thumbing through my daily devotional book, the April 20 reading caught my attention:  “Want to know God’s will for your life?  Then answer this question: What ignites your heart?”  (from Grace for the Moment)

I knew MY answer.

My heart is “ignited” by opportunities to travel and to make an impact on other peoples’ lives through volunteer/mission work and cultural immersion.  Putting those passions together with my God-given gifts was the start of my dream to “Travel with a Purpose.”

There were so many things I wanted to experience while traveling—cultural exchanges, international volunteering, mission work, and even working seasonal jobs.  But, I knew I could never do it with 14 vacation days per year.  Soon, there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t find myself contemplating leaving behind everything I knew in order to have the opportunity travel around the world.

It began to consume all of my thoughts, and so last October, when I heard about the Meet, Plan, Go! event, I knew I had to go.

Meet

The purpose of Meet, Plan, Go!  is to “encourage and teach others how to travel the world and have it be beneficial to your career.”  Last year’s event in Orlando was an opportunity for me to get inspiration, encouragement, and advice for my career break plans and to MEET current/former career breakers, such as Mike & Catrell Cooney of Cooney World Adventure, Jillian Tobias of I Should Logoff (hosting the South Florida event this year!), Shannon O’Donnell of A Little Adrift, Cheryl MacDonald & Lisa Chavis of What Boundaries and Ben Reed of Adventures with Ben.

Plan

My ultimate decision to be a “career-breaker” got more serious about 2 years ago but my specific planning didn’t intensify until about 6 months prior to my departure date.

Here’s my planning checklist:

6 months prior

♦ Research visas, vaccinations, gear, insurance, volunteer opportunities, travel plans, etc.

♦ Consider taking up travel blogging (to document your trip).

♦ Apply for/Renew passport if necessary (most countries require your passport to be valid for at least 6 months beyond the period of your intended stay).

Register your career break with Meet, Plan, Go!

5 months prior

♦ Plan itinerary—to whatever extent you’re comfortable.

♦ Buy gear and supplies so you have time to try it out & break it in.

♦ Set up a Skype account to stay in touch with friends & family back home.

♦ Set up a DropBox account for easy access to your computer files.

♦ Get any required vaccinations.

4 months prior

♦ Book plane tickets and reserve accommodations (especially if traveling during busy season).

♦ Apply for any volunteer programs in which you plan on participating.

3 months prior

♦ Visit a travel doctor.

♦ Begin filling prescriptions (especially if you’re going to need Malaria prophylaxis).

2 months prior

- Apply for international and/or domestic medical insurance.

- Obtain any required visas.

1 month prior

♦ Change address and/or arrange for someone to handle “business things” for you while you’re gone.

♦ Take pictures of credit cards, passports, visas, etc. and email to yourself (if you lose them overseas, at least having a photo will make getting an emergency replacement a lot easier).

♦ Notify credit/debit card companies of travel.

I tend to think, if I could pull THIS off, planning a wedding one day will be a piece of cake!

Go!

Last October, inspired by the Meet, Plan, Go! event, I took the first committal steps to GO for my dream—I submitted 3 volunteer applications and got a plane ticket for 90 days in Europe, making it that much harder to turn back.  I wanted to use these opportunities to serve God’s purpose for my life and to make use of the gifts, abilities, and passions that He’d given me.

Not surprisingly, as reality began to set in, fear also crept in—fear that I would fail or that I wouldn’t be able to get a job when I returned.  And, fear is the enemy of progress.  As Max Lucado said, “at the beginning of every act of faith, there is often a seed of fear.

But, endless possibilities exist when you’re willing to make a change.  And, I was confident that if I was doing my best to follow God’s Will, everything would be ok.  It may not turn out how I think it should, but it will turn out exactly how God wants it to.

Sarah Schauer began her career break in June 2012 with a domestic seasonal opportunity before heading to Europe, Africa, South America, and New Zealand. She’s a financial analyst by career, but also plays beach volleyball, volunteers with foreign exchange students, and enjoys hiking & the outdoors.  She’s a Christian who feels blessed to be able to experience this adventure of a lifetime participating in international volunteer opportunities, all out of the desire to make a difference in the lives of others and experience cultural immersion.  You can follow Sarah during her experiences at her website, Travels With a Purpose.

Not Wasting Time: Taking a Second Career Break
Monday, July 16th, 2012

Time is now the currency. We earn it and spend it. The rich can live forever and the rest of us? I just wanna wake up with more time on my hands than hours in the day. – In Time (2011)

In Time is a movie that really spoke to me. In the movie, the main character, Will, is falsely accused of murder and must find a way to bring down a system in which time is money. While the wealthy can live forever, the poor have to beg, borrow, and steal enough minutes to make it through each day. At one point, a character gives his time to Will and tells him, “don’t waste my time.

How many times have you been in a pointless meeting thinking what a waste of time it is? So many of us waste time every day. We casually think that there will be time later. One of my strongest memories of seven years working on cruise ships was speaking to a widow who said, “we always planned to come here to Alaska together but there was always something that got in the way.” I heard over and over again, “don’t wait to make your dreams come true” or “you are so smart to travel like this while you are young.” I often felt like a character who had borrowed against time and was running to spend my time wisely traveling.

When my company went bankrupt after September 11, 2001, I thought I would never travel again. I just could not imagine how to make it happen. When George came in my life after an internet date and shared his dream of a year of exotic international travel, I was willing to jump with both feet and share his dream. During our eleven month adventure in twelve countries, our relationship deepened, and our life together evolved. We really learned to be a team.

In the movie, In Time, Will talks about what he would do with plenty of time.

Henry Hamilton: If you had as much time as I have, on that clock, what would you do with it?
[Will looks at the clock on his arm showing how much time he has left]
Will Salas: I’d stop watching it. I can tell you one thing. If I had all that time, I’d sure as hell wouldn’t waste it.

I have been graced with the option to travel and act outside the box. Lily Tomlin said “the trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” When I dropped out of medical school and went to Club Med and Princess Cruises to see the world, I didn’t have a clue of the adventures I would find. I would say a theme of my life is that I have not wanted to waste my time.

Recently George and I were provided with another opportunity to drop out of “normal” life. We left July 1st to start a year in South East Asia. Leaving this time is so different. I wish I could write a letter to myself and get it this time four years ago as we were preparing for our first voyage together. Everything seemed so hard and so complicated. We had to build a storage unit in the garage which we used for the first one-year trip and for two summer trips. Now we will be gone again for a year. We are about to rent our condo for the fourth time. The first time I was so worried: will my relationship work out? Will the tenant break all our dishes and windows and things?

George has gotten a leave of absence again. I am saying good-bye to hundreds of children again. We are working on travel insurance, moving files, and finding the best things to bring with us in our backpacks. This time I actually have a backpack. For our first year trip, I freaked out and left with two small bags but no backpack. A few years ago, George bought me a backpack and now I love it.

I had to be patient with myself then. I was so worried. But I lived. I survived. Getting right up close to my greatest fears has let me see some of the best times. On the last trip, I lost sixty pounds and we got engaged underwater. Both were tremendous surprises. For this trip, I cannot even begin to imagine what we will discover together. I only know that we are living our dreams and I cannot wait to see what will happen next!

In the movie, Sylvia realizes that maybe it is worth it to step outside of your zone and take a chance.

Sylvia Weis: Oh, no? The clock is good for no one. The poor die and the rich don’t live. We can all live forever so long as we don’t do anything foolish. Doesn’t that scare you? That maybe you’ll never do anything foolish or courageous or anything worth a damn?

I am glad I took the risk and said YES when George asked me to go with him on his dream trip. For me, it felt foolish and courageous and it makes me feel so alive to be getting ready to go again on another “Big Trip.

Lisa Niver Rajna, M.A. Ed. is an accomplished travel agent, blogger, speaker, science teacher and member of the Traveler’s Century Club, a unique travel club limited to travelers who have visited one hundred or more countries. Lisa and George Rajna spent eleven months wandering Southeast Asia from Indonesia to Mongolia where they fell in love, got engaged, and now as a married couple are writing a book about their journey. They left on July 1st for another year in South East Asia, follow them at WeSaidGoTravel.com.

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