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Saving for a Life of Travel
Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

Kayaking Milford Sound“Are you guys millionaires or something?” That’s often the response when we tell people we’ve been traveling the world for the past four years on our HoneyTrek. We aren’t rich, but we are diligent savers and big dreamers. After working in New York for ten years and putting away as much money as possible, we decided life was short, the world is big, and there would never be a better time to travel than now. Averaging under $40 per person per day, we’ve explored 44 countries (and counting) across 7 continents. Here is our strategy and a few tips you can employ when saving and planning for your own lifetime of unforgettable travel.

Outline Your Itinerary

Determining where you’d like to go and for how long will largely determine your budget. Remember, there are plenty of extremely beautiful and affordable regions of the world (Southeast Asia, Central America, Eastern Europe, etc), and you don’t need to visit them all in one shot. Laying a linear path from one place to the next will reduce your transportation costs and stress level. To help figure out your required budget, based on your travel speed and destinations, check out this handy RTW Country-Cost Calculator we built.

Evaluate Your Funds

Now that you have a ballpark cost for your dream RTW, you need to compare that number to the balance in your savings. If your bank account is a bit light you can swap out some of those expensive countries, travel slower, and start an intense savings plan until you reach your goal. Follow our small-dose savings strategy in the next section and you’ll be on the road in no time.

1-3how do we budget

Small-dose Saving

If you save just $10 a day for two years you will have enough money for a 6-month RTW. Save $13 a day for three years and you can globe-trot for an entire year. To help yourself stay on track and keep your hand out of the cookie jar, open a separate travel savings account ASAP. If you don’t have a steady paycheck and financial flow, check out DigIt.co which will automatically fill your travel savings account when you have extra cash, and scale back your contributions when times are tight. And if you have complex questions on saving, you can always reach out to the financial planning pros for some advice.

Ways to Cut Expenses

First, you will need some basic self-restraint, like going out less and avoiding impulse buys (yes, that cappuccino counts). Go through your monthly expenses and see where you can cut or switch to cheaper services. Swap your $150 cable bill for a $0/month digital antenna, switch to a cheaper phone plan (ours went from $100 to $40 a month with AT&T’s Go Phone Plan), and find more ways to trim your bills.

Make Extra Cash

Make money using the skills and the things you already have. AirBnB the extra room in your home, sell excess stuff on Ebay, rent your car on a peer-to-peer sharing site like GetAround, pick up part-time gigs like babysitting, dog walking, or driving for Uber and LYFT. Check out CompareAndShare.com for more opportunities in the sharing economy. Be diligent and get creative!

Budgeting on the Road

Prices vary greatly between countries so you will have to adjust your daily budget accordingly. Just because a place is cheaper, doesn’t mean you should splash out. Be as frugal as possible on expenses (food, lodging, transportation) so you are able to splurge on the things that are unique to the region (a base camp trek, scuba trip, safari, cultural outting, etc.) and the occasional treat. Always bargain. Before you start negotiating, learn the local prices on typical goods and services so that you have a benchmark to work from. Vendors in developing countries usually start 2-3 times higher than the price they are willing to accept. Remember to save where you can and spend when it counts.

Mike & Anne from HoneyTrek

Becoming a Life-Long Saver

Managing a finite amount of money for an extended period of time is similar to that of retirement. Getting this practice earlier in life, teaches you to be creative, resourceful, and prioritize your spending for unforgettable experiences. We realized we didn’t need a million dollars to explore the world and that we won’t need a fortune to retire…travel has taught us how to live a simpler and richer life and that you don’t need much to be happy.
By Mike & Anne Howard, Founders of HoneyTrek & RTW Packing List
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Disclosure:  This post was brought to you via Fisher Investments, however all opinions expressed here are the author’s own.

Ready or Not? Pulling the Trigger on a Career Break
Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

I have been connected to Meet Plan Go since what I think were its earliest days. And by that I do not mean that I was one of the founders. Somehow, someway, in one of countless travel-related Internet searches, I read about it. I vaguely remember thinking, “You can do that?” and something got sparked in me. I got on the MPG web site, then called Briefcase to Backpack, and eventually found my way to what I think was the first big MPG event in New York City in the fall of 2010.

Travel in My Youth

Me (second from right) and my twin sister (second from left) with school friends in Paris, age 7

Me (second from right) and my twin sister (second from left) with school friends in Paris, age 7

I have been drawn to travel and exploration my entire life. As a young girl, our family moved to Paris for six months. I lived in Glasgow, Scotland, for a year of college. I had traveled in parts of Europe and Asia and made a trip to southern Africa. I had explored many parts of the U.S. and Canada. My mind often swam in what or where the next adventure would be. But other than the many moves I made in the U.S. when I was in my 20s, my explorations were usually at the most two and a half week vacations from work. I had never traveled for much longer than that or seriously considered it. It soon became something that floated often in my mind.

As an Adult I took Small Steps

After attending the first big MPG event, I continued to go to smaller meet-up groups. I listened to people talk about budgeting, planning, volunteering and their favorite gear. On my own, I found travel blogs I liked and read them regularly. I was inspired and always curious to learn more, but I was never sure I would do it myself. Somewhere along the way, though, I started taking small actions. One Friday after work, I went to my bank and set up a separate savings account to automatically deduct a certain amount from my primary account on the first of each month. I figured it could never hurt to have savings. I researched the places I was interested in going.

The two areas that came up the most were Africa and the Middle East. At one MPG event they had us write on our name tags the places we most wanted to travel. I think I was the only person who had written down Africa and the Middle East.

Surrounded by travelers at Meet Plan Go events

Surrounded by travelers at Meet Plan Go events

So I researched. And considered. And talked on and on with my friends about all the reasons why I should leave New York and my job. Yet, I did not go. Why? Many reasons.

Some of them were practical–I needed to save more money. And many of them simply came down to fear. As much as my mind was awash in travel dreams, it was also awash in constant doubt.

In particular, for me, I worried about how I would handle being alone on the road. I have had issues with depression and addiction that I have been treating for many years. Would I be okay away from my usual support systems? I had talked about wanting to leave my job and New York City for a long time, but was I giving both enough of a chance, or would I simply find that I was not happy on the road either?

While I listened at MPG gatherings to others’ stories of going to an MPG event and quitting their job the next day, I worried these questions inside out. Occasionally, well-meaning fellow travelers would tell me to “just do it,” but every time I thought about it I would get this tick under my eye that happens when I am very tired or stressed. While some may get their own version of the “tick” and need to move ahead anyway, I know for me it is a sign that I need to wait. It was not time for me yet.

Attend our MPG Workshop April 17th
Attend our MPG Workshop April 17th
Two weeks of vacation is not enough! Learn how you can take a career break & plan a big trip - we'll teach you how 4/17 at our NYC Meet Plan Go career break workshop.

It Took 5 Years to Book a Ticket

 Namibia has the most beautiful skies of any place I have been. This photo was taken on the dunes in Sossusvlei, Namibia, one of the highlights of my time there.


Namibia has the most beautiful skies of any place I have been. This photo was taken on the dunes in Sossusvlei, Namibia, one of the highlights of my time there.

It was about five years after first learning about MPG that I finally booked my ticket to leave. Five years of saving (I have needed every penny!). Five years of researching. Five years of considering. You often hear that there is no perfect time to go, so you just need to do it. There is truth in that. I wonder sometimes if I should have gone sooner, that maybe I made things harder on myself by waiting. I cannot say for sure, but I needed to get to a place where I felt in my gut that it was time.

In the meantime, I made the most of those years, and the experiences I had helped me to grow and feel more confident about the idea of traveling on my own. I had special time with my father while he was sick and gave myself time to go through the initial grief of losing him–the love of my life. I cared for my sick cat and eventually said goodbye to her. I considered other work possibilities within my company. I moved into Manhattan, something I had wanted to experience before I left New York City. I went through a yoga teacher training process for nine months. I learned new health and spiritual practices that I use on the road to help anchor me no matter where I am in the world. Meanwhile, my work and other parts of my life in New York continued to feel stagnant, and it got clearer that those pieces were not going to change “someday.”

When I finally booked a one-way flight from Washington, D.C. to Windhoek, Namibia, I cried. Some of the tears were sadness–I would miss my family–but most of them were something else. I had done it! After all this time. And I had done it for myself. I had already told my boss that I would be leaving. I gave six months’ notice, knowing I needed to commit to the plan and also wanting to be able to talk freely about it at work. That helped me be able to leave on excellent terms.

Crossing Over to Career Breaker

I went to the annual MPG event that fall. This time, when they asked who was going to take a career break to travel, I was one of the people who raised my hand. It was exciting to finally know inside myself that it was time. There was no tick under my eye. I was confident and ready. I left the event that day on a high. In listening to others talk about their experiences, I felt like I had seen the world, and it felt limitless.

I went to one last MPG meet-up shortly before I left. People asked me about my plans, hugged me and said they wanted to hear about my travels as I went along. It was a wonderful feeling to have so much support. And it was an interesting feeling–suddenly I was one of “them.” I had listened to people talk about their career breaks and always saw them as different from me. Somehow, I thought they were more able to do the things I wanted to do. I realized that night that the only difference between me and them was that they had done it. I had not done it yet, but I was on the verge, and suddenly “they” included me.

Traveling with Confidence

Iran is a fascinating and rich culture that I still want to explore more. As anyone will tell you, the warm and welcoming people are a huge part of what makes it so special.

Iran is a fascinating and rich culture that I still want to explore more. As anyone will tell you, the warm and welcoming people are a huge part of what makes it so special.

What I see now as I write this is that my mind often has to question everything. Doubt seems to be a constant companion, always alerting me to every possibility. I have to laugh at how earnest and serious it is. Funnily enough, the doubts often do not extend to the places I choose to travel. And one of the things I love about travel is the confidence I gain as I move through the world. I have been on the road more than one year now. I spent the first 4-1/2 months traveling solo through various countries in Africa, followed by six weeks in France and five months in the Middle East. When people ask whether I have had any problems, I love being able to tell them about all the help I have gotten along the way and to let people know that the world is a friendly place.

I have good days and bad days on the road, times where I feel light and times where I feel lonely or question my direction. I sometimes need to recalibrate to find ways of travel that work best for my body and my spirit. Still, this huge life change has been the right move for me. I love exploring new places. I love being around people from other cultures. I have gotten more comfortable with talking to strangers, as well as more comfortable in my own skin. I am sharing more of myself with others and sharing more of what I have with others–talents and stories. I continue to grow in listening to myself and what is best for me. I am using the travel as a vehicle for creative pursuits I could not seem to make time for before I left. And I see more and more how much of travel for me is about the people and having a sensory experience of life. I connect both to people and to that sensory experience when I move slowly. It seems to be my rhythm.

 

About Bridget DeMouy

bridget headshotBridget DeMouy left her corporate job and home in New York City more than one year ago to explore the world and its people. She loves trekking enough to carry her heavy boots with her wherever she goes and is deeply loyal to any restaurant with friendly people and tasty, flavorful food. You can follow her travel adventures on her blog called Out of This World or on Instagram at @bdemouy.

Top 10 Reasons to Try Experteering
Monday, February 22nd, 2016

When you look back on your life will you regale your friends and grandchildren with “that month you were slightly more productive at your corporate job”…or that time you “helped a Brazilian non-profit save a virgin rainforest from a logging company”?

Are you an engineer, lawyer, graphical designer, or IT professional thinking about taking a Career Break? Now you can finally volunteer in your area of expertise around the world!  Experteering allows you to make the most of your career skills by volunteering for causes that matter to you, while exploring exotic places in ways most travelers could only dream.

Enter our Experteering Contest
Enter our Experteering Contest
Use your professional skills on your career break! Sign up to win a MovingWorlds.org membership in partnership with Meet Plan Go, and Experteer around the world for FREE. Make your career break count.

Here are ten of the many reasons you should seriously consider Experteering for your next adventure.

1. Travel the world

experteering volunteering

See Experteering Opportunities around the world.

Finding a project in one of your bucket list countries will allow you to combine two of the best experiences: travel and making a difference in the world. Experteering gives you the reason and road to get the places you’ve dreamt of exploring.

2. No donation required

While volunteer opportunities like building a house or volunteering at an orphanage can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, Experteering rarely costs any money at all, and some even provide travel stipends. MovingWorlds’ organizations desire your skills and passion much more than your money and connects you to immersive local experiences in exchange for your skills.

3. You will make lasting change

No matter what your skill set, from accounting to graphic design to finance to copywriting to social media to engineering to blogging, you can help make an organization stronger than you found it. MovingWorlds has a multi-pronged approach to help you make the most of your Experteering opportunity, and removes any unnecessary stress from the process.

4. Cultural immersion

experteering volunteering

Integrate with the local community! Photo by MovingWorlds.org

Unlike a traditional vacation or even a backpacking trip, you will be fully immersed in your destination. You will get to know your local grocer, barista, bus driver, and co-workers and undoubtedly be welcomed into the community. It’s the fast track to truly “live like a local!”

5. Build your resume

Anyone who has been on a job interview in the last 10 years knows that it’s all about differentiating yourself from the other candidates. Come to the table with a unique and memorable story…and what better story than your experience Experteering half-way around the world, making a positive change while honing your various skills.

6. Make wonderful friends

Experteering and volunteering are naturally self selecting, so you will be interacting with like-minded folks who love travel, altruism, and thinking outside of the traditional social confines.

7. Change things up at work/life

Sometimes a little stir of the pot will bring out a bunch of new flavors, and life is no different. If you are going to work thinking “what am I really achieving here, am I making anyone’s life better selling more X, Y or Z?” then maybe it’s time to try something fresh and fulfilling.

8. The gift that keeps on giving

experteering volunteering

Work with business peers in other countries. Photo by MovingWorlds.org

When you realize that your skills can make a supremely positive change on an organization, and you get to explore a fascinating region of the world, you will want to repeat the experience. The good news is MovingWorlds allows you to sign up for unlimited future projects, without any extra admin fees.

9. Learn a language

You will have the opportunity to practice the region’s language as much or as little as you wish, and undoubtedly come away with improved communication skills.

10. Life is short. Carpe Diem. You only live once. Follow your dreams.

The list of clichés could go on and on…and you could share them all on your Facebook wall, pin them to your Pinterest inspiration board…or you could put a plan in motion to make your dreams your reality.

 

*CONTEST* Meet Plan Go is giving away a MovingWorlds membership to someone who would like to try Experteering in 2016. If you are interested you can enter the contest here.
Meet Plan Go & MovingWorlds March Giveaway

If you would like to learn about the opportunities available for career breakers, simply visit the MovingWorlds website, enter your skills and the regions of your world you would like to visit. There is no cost to browse the website and review the numerous opportunities, and the projects do not require any monetary donation. The only cost is a one-time administration fee when you decide to start an application so that the MovingWorlds team can guide you through the Experteering process and provide you personal support as you need it (and even that is discounted for MPG members at checkout). If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me!

– Mike Howard, Mike@MovingWorlds.org
Ambassador, MovingWorlds.org
Founder, HoneyTrek & RTW Packing List

 

Need help planning your career break trip? Check out the following articles and resources:

Moving Worlds Giveaway – Terms and Conditions
Sunday, February 21st, 2016

NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE THE CHANCES OF WINNING.

1. Eligibility: This Campaign is open only to those who sign up via Meet Plan Go and who are 18 years old, as of the date of entry. The Campaign is only open to legal residents of the United States of America, and is void where prohibited by law. Employees of MovingWorlds or Meet Plan Go, its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, and suppliers, (collectively the “Employees”), and immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of Employees are not eligible to participate in the Campaign. The Campaign is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited.

2. Agreement to Rules: By participating, the Contestant (“You”) agree to be fully unconditionally bound by these Rules, and You represent and warrant that You meet the eligibility requirements. In addition, You agree to accept the decisions of MovingWorlds.org as final and binding as it relates to the content of this Campaign.

3. Campaign Period: Entries will be accepted online starting at 12:01AM Eastern on February 21st 2016 and ending at 11:59PM Eastern on March 31st 2016.

4. How to Enter: The Campaign must be entered by submitting and following the rules found HERE. The entry must fulfill all Campaign requirements, as specified, to be eligible to win a prize. Entries that are incomplete or do not adhere to the rules or specifications may be disqualified at the sole discretion of MovingWorlds. Optional verbiage to include: You may enter only once. You must provide the information requested. You may not enter more times than indicated by using multiple email addresses, identities, or devices in an attempt to circumvent the rules. If You use fraudulent methods or otherwise attempt to circumvent the rules, your submission may be removed from eligibility at the sole discretion of MovingWorlds.

5. Prizes: The Winner(s) of the Campaign (the “Winner”) will receive one PLUS Membership to MovingWorlds.org valued at $300. Actual/appraised value may differ at time of prize award. The specifics of the prize shall be solely determined by MovingWorlds.org. No cash or other prize substitution shall be permitted except at [your company name’s] discretion. The prize is nontransferable. Any and all prize-related expenses, including without limitation any and all federal, state, and/or local taxes, shall be the sole responsibility of Winner. No substitution of prize or transfer/assignment of prize to others or request for the cash equivalent by Winner is permitted. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for MovingWorlds.org and Meet Plan Go to use Winner’s name, likeness, and entry for purposes of advertising and trade without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.

6. Odds: The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.

7. Winner Selection and Notification: Winner will be selected by random drawing under the supervision of MovingWorlds. Winner will be notified by email within five (5) days following selection of Winner. MovingWorlds and Meet Plan Go shall have no liability for Winner’s failure to receive notices due to spam, junk e-mail or other security settings or for Winner’s provision of incorrect or otherwise non-functioning contact information. If Winner cannot be contacted, is ineligible, fails to claim the prize within 14 days from the time award notification was sent, or fails to timely return a completed and executed declaration and release as required, the prize may be forfeited and an alternate Winner selected. Receipt by Winner of the prize offered in this Campaign is conditioned upon compliance with any and all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. ANY VIOLATION OF THESE OFFICIAL RULES BY WINNER (AT MOVINGWORLDS‘ SOLE DISCRETION) WILL RESULT IN WINNER’S DISQUALIFICATION AS WINNER OF THE CAMPAIGN, AND ALL PRIVILEGES AS WINNER WILL BE IMMEDIATELY TERMINATED.

8. Rights Granted by You: By entering this content (e.g., photo, video, text, etc.), You understand and agree that MovingWorlds and Meet Plan Go, anyone acting on behalf of MovingWorlds and Meet Plan Go, and MovingWorlds and Meet Plan Go’s licensees, successors, and assigns, shall have the right, where permitted by law, to print, publish, broadcast, distribute, and use in any media now known or hereafter developed, in perpetuity and throughout the World, without limitation, your entry, name, portrait, picture, voice, likeness, image, statements about the Campaign, and biographical information for news, publicity, information, trade, advertising, public relations, and promotional purposes. without any further compensation, notice, review, or consent. Optional verbiage for Contests: By entering this content, You represent and warrant that your entry is an original work of authorship, and does not violate any third party’s proprietary or intellectual property rights. If your entry infringes upon the intellectual property right of another, You will be disqualified at the sole discretion of MovingWorlds and Meet Plan Go. If the content of your entry is claimed to constitute infringement of any proprietary or intellectual proprietary rights of any third party, You shall, at your sole expense, defend or settle against such claims. You shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless MovingWorlds and Meet Plan Go from and against any suit, proceeding, claims, liability, loss, damage, costs or expense, which MovingWorlds and Meet Plan Go may incur, suffer, or be required to pay arising out of such infringement or suspected infringement of any third party’s right.

9. Terms & Conditions: MovingWorlds and Meet Plan Go reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Campaign should virus, bug, non-authorized human intervention, fraud, or other cause beyond MovingWorlds and Meet Plan Go’s control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, or proper conduct of the Campaign. In such case, MovingWorlds and Meet Plan Go may select the Winner from all eligible entries received prior to and/or after (if appropriate) the action taken by MovingWorlds & Meet Plan Go. MovingWorlds & Meet Plan Go reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the Campaign or website or violates these Terms & Conditions. MovingWorlds & Meet Plan Go has the right, in its sole discretion, to maintain the integrity of the Campaign, to void votes for any reason, including, but not limited to: multiple entries from the same user from different IP addresses; multiple entries from the same computer in excess of that allowed by Campaign rules; or the use of bots, macros, scripts, or other technical means for entering. Any attempt by an entrant to deliberately damage any website or undermine the legitimate operation of the Campaign may be a violation of criminal and civil laws. Should such attempt be made, MovingWorlds & Meet Plan Goreserves the right to seek damages to the fullest extent permitted by law.

10. Limitation of Liability: By entering, You agree to release and hold harmless MovingWorlds & Meet Plan Go and its subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, partners, representatives, agents, successors, assigns, employees, officers, and directors from any liability, illness, injury, death, loss, litigation, claim, or damage that may occur, directly or indirectly, whether caused by negligence or not, from: (i) such entrant’s participation in the Campaign and/or his/her acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of any prize or any portion thereof; (ii) technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunction of any computer, cable, network, hardware, or software, or other mechanical equipment; (iii) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions, telephone, or Internet service; (iv) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Promotion; (v) electronic or human error in the administration of the Promotion or the processing of entries.

11. Disputes: THIS Campaign IS GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND WASHINGTON STATE, WITHOUT RESPECT TO CONFLICT OF LAW DOCTRINES. As a condition of participating in this Campaign, participant agrees that any and all disputes that cannot be resolved between the parties, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Campaign, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, exclusively before a court located in Washington State having jurisdiction. Further, in any such dispute, under no circumstances shall participant be permitted to obtain awards for, and hereby waives all rights to, punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, including reasonable attorney’s fees, other than participant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. costs associated with entering this Campaign). Participant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.

12. Privacy Policy: Information submitted with an entry is subject to the Privacy Policy stated on the MovingWorlds & Meet Plan Go website. To read the Privacy Policy, visit: https://movingworlds.org/privacy-policy.

13. Facebook: This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability. Winners will be contacted by email within 5 days after the giveaway ends. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send us an email!

14. Acceptance: Unless you notify MovingWorlds.org or Meet Plan Go in writing, You, the Contestant, have affirmatively reviewed, accepted, and agreed to all of the Official Rules.

Back to MovingWorlds.org contest entry

A Career Breaker’s Troubled Love Affair With Airbnb
Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Most career breakers utilize the sharing economy services these days as a critical part of their itinerary.  Sites like AirBnB, EatWith, Car2Go, and Couchsurfing are hallmarks of the sharing economy and can help career breakers save money, make connections, enjoy local experiences, and find deals the world over.

Read How to Use AirBnb On Your Career Break

Sites like AirBnB work great most of the time, but the benefits come with risks you may not have considered. This is a true story of how two career breakers learned this lesson the hard way.

bad airbnb stories

Jill and Zac on the road

Love at First Stay

We started using AirBnB in early 2014, and what started out as a week in Seattle quickly bloomed into a monogamous relationship with the service. In the few years we were together, we cataloged over 13 stays in 5 countries. It seemed like a dream.  We had many amazing experiences and only one bad one. We met a lot of great people and were highly reviewed by our hosts. We hadn’t even considered looking at other rental sites.  It was true love.

When we decided to take a career break, sell our house, and travel around the world, AirBnB was a huge part of our plan; starting with a road trip in the US, in which AirBnB was our only choice of lodging.

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 3.24.19 PM

Stellar reviews – the beginning of a great relationship

Cracks in the Facade

Upon arrival at our stay in Cleveland, our guts were telling us to leave. There were a lot of red flags that we had never experienced with our other AirBnB rentals. We should have left, but the place was well reviewed by other guests. Everybody has a bad day, right? That’s what love is about – the good and the not so good.

However, things did not get better; in fact they got worse.

The night before we checked out, we could not gain access to the back door. The deadbolt had been thrown from the inside, and key we were given didn’t work. We texted the owner, called through open windows and rang the doorbell until we were admitted by one of the housemates. We told him the key would not work in the top lock. He tried it and agreed. Since we were leaving the next morning we decided to leave from the front door and gave it no more thought. We went upstairs, packed and went to bed.

Early the next morning we said our goodbyes and left – using the front door as planned.

Accusations

As is customary, the owner of the house reviewed us, and we him. He was short and complimentary as were we. We did mention some of the troubles, but did not go into gory detail. There’s a dance that is done in review giving and we decided to play along.

We were at our next stay in Louisville when we received a notification from the AirBnB resolution center stating the homeowner in Cleveland was demanding $1000 for damaging his door.

We were shocked. That level of damage couldn’t be caused by trying to put a key in a lock. The amount was exorbitant, and it felt like extortion. We were totally floored and ready to defend ourselves to AirBnB.

However, sadly we weren’t given much of an opportunity to do so. Homeowners on AirBnB can provide ample data in their charges against a renter, including video, pictures and testimonials. But as a renter you are allowed only to respond via the resolution center.

Breakup by Text

Airbnb encouraged us to reach an agreement with the owner, which meant paying for the damages. We informed them we were not open to paying what amounted to extortion.

It was right after this that we got a text notification that our next booking in Memphis had been cancelled, and payments refunded. When we called customer support, we were told we were blocked, and they were under no further obligation to discuss the case further. We were dumped, and they were moving on. The relationship was over…

When looking out of our hotel room in Hong Kong, we couldn't help but imagine how many of the lit windows were Airbnb rentals.

When looking out of our hotel room in Hong Kong, we couldn’t help but imagine how many of the lit windows were Airbnb rentals.

In the age of customer-centric, reviewer based economy, we had no standing and were without any rights. Our spotless record and glowing reviews meant nothing. We were never given the chance to state our case as we would have expected.

In our case, we were not innocent until proven guilty; we were guilty without the option to present our case at all.

How To Avoid Being a Jilted Lover

Sadly, our love affair with AirBnB is over, but to help other career breakers from suffering a similar fate, we’ve compiled a short list of key points so you can protect yourself.

  • Reviews have their benefits, but aren’t foolproof. Send an email asking a few questions, and weigh how they respond. If the response feels off, move away.
  • Be wary if there is a deposit required for booking. This means that they could for any reason decide to keep your cash after you leave if they aren’t satisfied with how the space was kept.
  • Trust your gut. If you have any problems with the apartment, you are under no obligation to stay. Sure it can be a hassle to back out.
  • Know your rights – read the terms and conditions for the booking site. It’s a downer to think about the worst-case scenario when planning a dream vacation or long-term travel, but you’ll sleep better if you do.
  • Notify the owner via text or email immediately if something isn’t right.  This leaves a trail and shows you didn’t break anything.
documentation for airbnb

Document! Dear apartment owner. Your thermostat is broken, and we aren’t responsible. Please refund our $500 deposit when we leave.

  • Take photos or videos of the apartment upon arrival and check out to show you left it in perfect condition.

We hope that your relationship with AirBnB, and similar services, has more longevity than ours.

 

About Zac and Jill Stafford: 
Zac bioFeeling that there was more to life than freezing in Minnesota, Zac and Jill sold their house and possessions and are traveling the globe. For them this is more than a career break, it’s a life change. Jill quit her corporate job as a business analyst and became a certified yoga instructor and Zac is taking his paid search marketing skills on the road. They are documenting their journey on their website visa-vis.com.

Traveling With Teenagers – Debunking the Myths
Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

We’re currently on the road traveling the world with our teenagers, Ian (19) and Lily (16) and tackling the myths out there about why you wouldn’t want to travel with your darling, albeit sassy and sarcastic, teenage children.  Last month we debunked family travel myth #1 – you have to be rich to travel with your family. And this month we are taking on the rocky road of the teenager/parent relationship!

teen travel

Lily and Ian – teens traveling the world with their parents.

One thing that thoroughly astounded us when we told people about this trip, was how many people asked us if we were taking the kids with us.  Why would we possibly leave them at home as opposed to sharing all of the wondrous sights, landscapes, food and culture with them!?!?!  I can’t imagine this trip without them!  I can’t decide if this question comes from parents not wanting to hang out with their teens or the perception that teens don’t want to hang out with their parents, but either way, I am calling complete BS on it.

In tackling  family travel myth #2 – Teenagers don’t want to leave their friends and their social lives behind to travel with their parents – I thought it might be nice to interview the kids about their thoughts and feelings about the trip and family travel, in general, and share their perspectives with you.

teen family travel

Visting Taj Mahal

What did you think when I first proposed the idea of traveling around the world?

Ian:  It was a crazy idea, but I just kinda went along with it.

Lily: At first I didn’t think it would actually happen and then after that I thought you had lost your ever-lovin’ mind.

At what point in the planning process did you start to get excited about the trip?

Ian: Like a month before we left was when I just got to the point where this was really happening and we were actually leaving.

Lily: Maybe six months. That’s when it started to feel real.

What were your biggest concerns about the trip before we left?  Why?

Ian: Money because we didn’t know if we would have enough money to go as long as we wanted.

Lily: School. Just being able to get stuff done on the road.  In terms of the trip, I was worried about how we were going to carry all of the stuff we were taking.

What did your friends think about the trip?

Ian: They all thought it was cool, but they were concerned about how we would spend so much time together without wanting to kill each other.

Lily: Some people were baffled by it, but my friends were supportive and their biggest concern was what they were going to do for a year without me there.

What have you learned about your family from this trip?

Ian: I was surprised that mom and Lily did so well on the mountain and made it through to the end.  I learned that they were tougher than I thought they were.

Lily: We’re badass.  We’ve gone through some really stressful moments, I feel like we have pulled through it as a family and I’m not sure we would have been able to pull through it without each other like if it was just me and Ian.

What is your least favorite part of traveling as a family?

Ian: There’s a lot of stuff that we get worked up about that we don’t need to.  Like getting visas.  We’ve gotten better since Turkey, but there’s still stuff that seems ridiculous to worry about that we still do.  (He means mom here.)

Lily:  I don’t have my own space, it’s our space and that means I have to clean up after myself more.

teen travel 3

 

What is your favorite part about traveling together as a family?

Ian:  That we don’t have to see these places alone – these cool, amazing things that we are seeing.

Lily: That our relationships with each other have gotten healthier because our lives don’t seem so separate so our stresses don’t seem so separate and that pulls us together more.

What advice would you give to teenagers about traveling with their parents?

Ian: It’s not as bad as you think it is going to be.  It’s not going to be terrible to be hanging out with your parents.  It will be what you make it so if you think you are going to have a terrible time you will and if you think that it will be a good time, then you will.

Lily:  You are not going to be independent when traveling with your parents no matter how much you think you are.  There are going to be things that happen that you are just going to want to hold your parent’s hand and you need to be ok with that.  The people you travel with are what makes the experience unique.  If you traveled with other people, you would have completely different experiences and memories.

What advice would you give to parents thinking about taking this kind of trip with their teenagers?

Ian:  Let your kids be part of the planning process and involve them as much as possible in making decisions.

Lily: Save surprises for your kids.  Don’t let them look up everything you will see online so that they can have the experience of seeing things for the first time.  Also, don’t expect them to click into it right away.  Don’t try to force them to like everything, let them experience it in their own way.

What has been your favorite experience and why?

Ian: Petting tigers in Thailand.  It was really cool to see them up close and learn about how they aren’t declawed and just being able to be in the cages with them and watch them play.

Lily:  The cooking school in Chiang Mai because I really like to cook, but I know limited stuff so it was fun to learn new things to cook and succeed at it.

family travel with teens

Lily and Ian at cooking school

What do you miss from home?

Ian: The level of social interaction at home like going out to dinner with friends and going to game night.  I didn’t expect that to be as hard as it has been sometimes.

Lily:  I miss knowing what to buy in the grocery store.  Like the whole milk debacle in Turkey.  We bought milk three times and never got the right kind of milk!!

How do you think this trip has influenced you?

Ian:  It has made me want to travel more and not just stay in one place.

Lily: I am more resilient than I thought I was and I like traveling, but I miss the comforts of home.  I never thought that would be something that resonated so strongly with me.  I mean sometimes people just need some hot chocolate or a freaking brownie or anything else that reminds them of home.

Next time we’ll take a look at family travel myth #3 – I’ll have to home school my kids if we take them on extended travel!  I know. The thought made me want to drink, too.  I mean, there is just no way I am going to succeed at homeschooling my kids in Chemistry or Calculus.  There is no end to the tears and frustration in that scenario.  And the kids would probably be upset too.  Never fear, my friends, there are other options!!

 

About Staci Schwarz

staciStaci and her family are currently traveling the world for several months enjoying good food, incredible sites and the best of company. You can follow their madness on www.blameitonmywildheart.com or on Facebook at Blame My Wild Heart.

Next month Staci will explore family travel myth #2 by interviewing her children to assure you that they were actually totally excited about this trip and are not being held hostage by their super mean parents who tore them away from their friends to go on a stupid trip around the world.

 

 

 

Traveling the World With Teenagers
Monday, December 7th, 2015

family travel

Loving the family adventure in Cappadocia, Turkey

Nine weeks ago we left our home to travel the world for several months with our two teenage children – Ian 19 and Lily 16. During the four year planning and saving process, we came across many different opinions about our decision to undertake such an adventure ranging from fascination to jealousy to disdain, but what surprised us the most was how many people responded with reasons why they could never take a trip like this. The “I would love to do that, but…” responses were varied and perplexing to us. If we could do it, surely ANYONE could, right? And so, we developed this series of articles to tackle what we call the “myths” of family travel – all of those reasons why you “can’t” take a trip like ours are about to go right down the drain. Here we go!!

FAMILY TRAVEL MYTH #1

You have to sell your house and all of your belongings or be loaded with cash to undertake a round the world trip.

That would be FALSE, my friends!

This idea first came about several years ago when I read a book called “One Year Off” by David Elliot Cohen. It tells the story of two parents who take their three children on a one year trip around the globe. It was mesmerizing and inspirational and at once I decided we needed to do it.

But here is the thing – we had less than $1000 in savings. We were renting our home. How could we ever come up with the capital to undertake a journey like that?!? And that was the pivotal moment. We could have defeated ourselves right there and moved on to the next seemingly unattainable dream. Or we could get real about what we wanted to teach our kids about big dreams and how to go about making them happen. And so we came up with a plan to cut back on our spending and start saving with an end goal of 9 months abroad.

We did all of the standard things that people do – we cut back on eating out, family vacations and movies. Instead we cooked at home, took weekend getaways and watched Netflix. We sold all of the junk in the house and garage that we weren’t using anymore and stopped buying stuff we didn’t need. At one point in time, all three of our cars didn’t total $10,000 in value because we refused to take on a car payment.

WHEN PLANS GO AWRY:

travelign with teenagers

This is what the kids look like all loaded up with their bags on our travel days.

We had hoped it would take us three years to save the money we needed and that because we were renting month by month, we could just terminate our lease and hit the road. And then the unthinkable happened. The perfect little house fell into our laps. It was “just right” for our family in a fairytale kind of way and we fell in love with it immediately, but the clincher was the price. It was CHEAP. And there was no way we would ever be able to find a home we loved as much in the price range we were looking at. I said no. NO NO NO. And my husband, who clearly knows me far too well, took me by the hand and said “I can see growing old with you here”. And so we bought a house.
Now we had to decide if we were going to rent it out while we were gone. We were hoping for 9 months away, but our plan had always been to travel until the money runs out and then come home and that is NOT conducive to renting out a home. And so we had to figure a mortgage and basic utility costs into our budget. And three years turned into four.

YOU DID WHAT?!?!?

We knew pretty early on that in addition to cutting back and building our savings that we would also be taking some of our retirement money to pay for this trip. It kinda cracks me up how freaked out people get about this. It was a no-brainer for us. First of all, we are young. We have 27 years left to work and can quickly recover those funds. Secondly, we beefed up our contributions when we decided to take the trip so that we were padding those accounts and getting the most out of our employer contributions. And most of all, it was more important to us to use that money now to travel with our kids than to wait until we are retired and travel without them. The future is not guaranteed and there is no telling if either of us will even be in any condition physically to travel at all in 25 years. Why risk it? Why miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime to spend this amazing time with our kids exploring the world? Why indeed!! We are 42 years old. My husband’s mother died unexpectedly at the age of 47. Her death is like a bright star in the night sky reminding us to live in the moment and not take for granted that the future will be what we expect it to be.

We were an unlikely family to take a trip such as this. We had little in savings and no equity when we made the decision to chase this dream. Many of our family and friends thought it would never happen. And yet, here we are, in Thailand, having the time of our lives. I love proving people wrong!

travel with teenagers

At the Red Fort in Delhi, India.

But the bottom line is this – if we can get our nonsense together and save the money to take this adventure, then you can, your best friend can, your co-workers can and that weird neighbor down the road can. It’s a choice you make every moment of every day to prioritize the dream. I can have the Starbucks or I can pay for a meal in Thailand. I can buy these concert tickets or I can pay for a week’s lodging in Cambodia. Every time you chose the dream, you are that much closer to attaining it. It really is just that simple.

About Staci Schwarz

staciStaci and her family are currently traveling the world for several months enjoying good food, incredible sites and the best of company. You can follow their madness on www.blameitonmywildheart.com or on Facebook at Blame My Wild Heart.

Next month Staci will explore family travel myth #2 by interviewing her children to assure you that they were actually totally excited about this trip and are not being held hostage by their super mean parents who tore them away from their friends to go on a stupid trip around the world.

Valuable Skills to Learn Before Hitting the Road on a Career Break
Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Haggling is part of everyday life in some countries, such as India, Vietnam, and Egypt. Vendors are known to inflate prices for tourists and are very skilled in getting foreigners to pay more than they would charge other locals. This goes for everything from backpacks to t-shirts to fruit to tuk tuk rates. Knowing how to successfully negotiate prices will help ensure you aren’t taken advantage of and overcharged.

Creating a backup plan or two before you start haggling is important in case your first strategy doesn’t work. Plan A could be basic price negotiation. Should that fail, you enact plan B, which could be walking away or threatening to go to a competitor. Plan C could be more creative, like having a travel partner step in or offering to buy multiple items at a set price.

You can haggle for a good deal at the Luang Prabang night market.

While walking down a small side street in Fethiye, Turkey, we came across a table set up with bottles of perfume and cologne. There was a wide variety, like you would find in an airport duty free shop. Mike stopped to look at the selection while Tara stood uninterested a few feet away. The Turkish vendor manning the table came up to Mike and offered cologne suggestions and prices. His initial offer started high, as street negotiations do, and Mike showed hesitation upon hearing the price. This caused the vendor to lower the initial price without Mike having to say a word. He landed at 50 lira, which was still too high for Mike since he knew they were knock-off products. Mike counter-offered with 10 lira. Of course that’s a laughably low number, but the key to agreeing on a price you want to pay is to start low to bring the seller’s offer price down (this was plan A: plain negotiation). After a couple minutes, Mike got him down to 25 lira, but it didn’t seem like the seller was willing to drop below that. That’s when plan B kicked in, and Tara stepped in to the conversation and offered to buy two bottles for 30 lira. Sold!

As Americans who never haggle for goods at home, we went through trial and error until we got used to negotiating. It’s a skill we wished we had developed or even researched a little before leaving for our 14-month RTW trip. As we traveled, we discovered many other skills that also fell into the “wish we knew about that” category. It’s easy to overlook or not even consider learning these skills when you’re planning your career break. After all, you become consumed by figuring out how to save more money, sell your possessions, and plan a smooth transition from working 9-to-5 to a life of full-time travel. That’s why we included a whole chapter on these skills in the travel-planning book we just published, called Create Your Escape: A Practical Guide for Planning Long-Term Travel – because you don’t have time to think of everything yourself when you’re planning your big trip.

There are a lot of skills you can and should learn before leaving, but we’ll focus on a few other important ones here.

First Aid

Accidents happen even if you aren’t the clumsy type. You might wipe out on a bicycle or trip and scrape your knee while hiking. Knowing how to properly clean and bandage wounds will help ensure you don’t get an infection. And, just as important, you should know which first-aid items you should pack in the first place. Sure, you can purchase antiseptic and bandages on the road, but it’s a good idea to have a starter kit in case you need it in a remote area or after hours when shops aren’t open.

Drive a Manual Car and Motorbike

learn to drive a motorbike

Tara not really driving a motorbike in Kampot, Cambodia (more like posing). She never learned before the trip so Mike was the driver – just to be safe!

You don’t want your skills (or lack thereof) to hold you back from cool experiences while traveling. You might have an opportunity to rent a car or motorbike for a day trip or coastal drive, and you shouldn’t attempt to drive either vehicle if you don’t know how.

When we were in Southeast Asia, a local said to us, “You see all the foreigners with bandages or casts? Those are likely the result of a motorbike accident.” It’s true that many people underestimate motorbikes and scooters and think they can drive them with ease. Fully automatic motorbikes might be easier to drive, but many rental companies only offer semi-automatic and manual options. You have to be skilled in driving this type of vehicle to be successful, otherwise you risk endangering yourself and others on the road.

Likewise, many rental cars around the world are manual, and it takes practice to understand how to drive these vehicles. You could ruin the engine if you incorrectly use the clutch and don’t know how to properly shift gears, and that might cost you a pretty penny to replace. Plus, stalling out in the middle of a street (at a light or stop sign) could cause a traffic jam or even an accident depending on the flow of traffic.

A new country with different road rules than your own is not where you should learn to drive a motorbike or manual car. Sign up for a class at home so you feel confident using the vehicle and learn how to be a defensive driver. Doing this will not only ensure you don’t have to pass up an opportunity to rent a vehicle, but it may also help you in an emergency situation where you have no choice but to get behind the wheel.

Learn to Swim

Tara swimming in the Mediterranean off the coast of Turkey.

The underwater world is incredibly beautiful with its colorful coral and curious fish. You’ll likely have at least a few opportunities to snorkel or even become SCUBA certified if you want. You could see the majestic Great Barrier Reef or even watch manta rays swim inches below you. Even though you could use a life jacket or inflatable tubes to help you stay afloat, you really should be confident in the water and know basic water safety if you’re going to splash around in it.

Being a skilled swimmer isn’t just important for water-based experiences, but it could also save your life in the event of an emergency. If you’re not comfortable in the water, take lessons before you leave until you feel confident enough to float, tread water, hold your breath under water, and swim to safety.

Be an Exceptional Photographer

Mike taking photographs in Iceland.

You’ve probably perfected your selfies, but leave the selfie stick at home and turn the camera around to capture the incredible and inexplicable moments of your trip. These are images you’ll be showing others and looking at for the rest of your life, so you should know how to take a sharp, well-framed, and interesting shot, as well as edit the files to enhance them even more.

The first step is learning to take great photos, which you can do through an online course or by reading a book and then practicing every chance you get. Then take it one step further and learn the basics of Photoshop or another photo editing program so you can make your images look even better. You’ll want to understand resizing, color correction, and working with shadows, midtones and highlights. Those are very basic concepts, but they’ll help you create a more vibrant image than your camera may have captured if the lighting was poor when you snapped the shot.

To know what else you should learn before hitting the road, check out chapter 6 in Create Your Escape. It’ll give you good ideas of what to expect in foreign countries and make you an even savvier traveler.

About Tara and Mike

Career Break for CouplesTara and Mike are the original Two Travelaholics. In 2012, they quit their jobs to travel the world on their extended honeymoon, racking up 40,000+ miles in their first year and a half of marriage. When they aren’t traveling, they’re on the lookout for pugs, craft beer, and great bands. They are the authors of Create Your Escape: A Practical Guide for Planning Long-Term Travel, which teaches other travelaholics how to prepare for extended travel. Check it out at http://createyourescape.today

How Taking a Career Break Can Boost Your Productivity
Friday, October 23rd, 2015

productivity

Maybe you envision it longingly: the opportunity to step away from your current at-work responsibilities and find joy in something new. Maybe you dream of traveling around the world and changing your routine for a period. Perhaps a new routine might be exactly what you’ve been craving.

These thoughts might seem silly, irresponsible, or counterproductive, but there could be something more to it. Taking a career break now — and finding a new routine and traveling — might actually boost your productivity in the end.

What Is a Career Break?

To be clear, a career break isn’t walking away from a job without planning to ever return to the work force. Instead, a career break is a planned opportunity to break away from your current position, with the hopes of returning to that position or something similar in the future. It’s a break, it’s not forever.

It could be used for travel, to start something new on the side, to take time for family or all of these things at the same time! The goal is to end up back in the work force or working independently at some point in the future.

Career Breaks Help Redefine Focus Areas

productivity

Refocus on a break

Regardless of the reason for the break, many people are apprehensive about the idea of simply stepping away from the work force. This is especially true of women who take a break to raise their families. In fact, 70% of women struggle to step away from their careers because of the fear of what will happen when they try to return. When anyone contemplates a break it brings up fear of falling behind in our career, expertise, and hire-ability.

These fears are unfounded. When you have the opportunity to step away from your position, you have more time to focus on what you want when you return. Whether it’s a new area of employment or something else, when you are out of the work force, you’re able to focus on what matters to you, not what you’re told should matter. This means you will return to something you’re passionate about, not something you question on a daily basis.

Broken Routines Increase Productivity

If you’ve been in the same career for years, you’ve developed a set of routines. Routines not only in your work day of weekly meetings, your industry life cycle, and yearly reviews; but also in your full day from waking up to going to bed. You wake around the same time each day, eat similar foods for breakfast and head off to the office. Maybe you take a break during lunch or after the workday ends to get in some activity. But then, you probably head home, grab dinner and end your day; day after day, year after year. It’s monotonous, and routines make our brains and body’s lazy.

Science has proven that breaking up routines — by taking a career break, for instance — forces the brain to form new synapses. These synapses make it easier to learn new skills, boost problem-solving abilities and lead to more productivity.

Strengthen and Build New Skills

There’s a reason doctorate level professors and those in other professions are granted sabbaticals to travel, to write and to do what they’re passionate about. These breaks help build and harness existing skills while learning new ones along the way.

Perhaps your current level of education limits your ability to move up in the work force. If you were able to focus on your education or on obtaining training in new areas, you could enhance your skill set. This could lead to a career advancement that might not be possible at your current position. A career break could prevent you from remaining stagnant in the work force.

Changes in Scenery Boost Performance and Creativity

Kenai Glacier Lodge 1 (1)

It’s not simply about changing your routine, but consider there are additional advantages to changing your physical view. Studies have shown that spending more time in nature can make you happier, so why not plan a cross-country trip to different state parks or the top-rated relaxing beaches?

In one study, 75% of executives even said that travel boosts job performance, with 68% claiming that it also boosts creativity. Packing your bags for a career break could boost your marketability and perspective after you return to work.

If you’ve been looking for a way to break out of your current rut, but are worried about what a career break could do to your future, your fear is most likely unfounded. By taking a career break you could return to the work force with a higher level of productivity, happiness and more creativity, imagine the possibilities — they could be endless A career break might be exactly what you need to increase your promotability and overall job skills in the future.

Want to learn more? Check out Career Break 30.

Kayla Matthews is a productivity-obsessed blogger who also writes for Afar and ProductivityTheory.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter to read her latest posts!

Images by Eddy Klaus and StartupStockPhotos

Get Help Planning your Career Break
Friday, July 10th, 2015

career break petra

Russ career breaking in Petra based on tips from other career break veterans

Starting in 2006, I started taking all of my vacation time in a big chunk from Thanksgiving to New Years. That’s not only what worked in my business, but it was also a wonderful way to travel. When I was on the road, it normally took about 10 days to shed the office and then, about 10 days before heading home, thinking about work started to creep in again. But, that middle part – that was bliss. I wanted to get to that place again, but for longer, so I started to consider taking a career break.

Career Break Hurdles

But this was 2010 and the recession was still in full swing and quitting a job to travel was lunacy. My friends and family all responded the same: “Are you mad? Why would you quit your job when the economy is in the toilet?” No one could understand where I was coming from or what I was feeling.

And then I stumbled across Meet, Plan, Go. There was an event in Boston when I’d be there and I couldn’t wait. There was a panel with half a dozen career break veterans sharing their experience. I soaked it up. It was the first time I’d spoken with anyone about taking a career break and they didn’t think I was crazy. I peppered the career breakers with questions and connected with a number of them after the event was over. It was exactly what I’d needed to pull the trigger and to make sure I got the most out of my trip.  Planning my trip by talking to others who’ve ‘been there, done that’ ending up being the best motivation there was to get me over the hurdles of taking a career break.

Are Guidebooks Dead?

On my career break – I traveled 11 amazing months around the world – I continued to reach out to bloggers, writers and other travelers to get advice and recommendations as I visited each country. I soon ditched the guidebooks and relied on word of mouth recommendations. Frankly, there wasn’t any resource as valuable, and that got me thinking.

Last week, I launched a new startup that’s designed to help you do the same, it’s called Exploring.is.  The idea behind Exploring.is, is to connect travelers directly with professional writers, bloggers and others who are experts on a specific place or an activity.

Travel Tips

If you are in the process of contemplating a career break or sabbatical, there are a number of career break experts that you can chat with about:

  • How to negotiate for a sabbatical or leave of absence
  • What to do if you have a mortgage
  • How to plan and save for an epic round the world trip
  • What to possibly pack for such a trip

Or our experts can help you with:

  • Where to go
  • Budget travel tips
  • Volunteering ideas
  • How to market your travels back into your job hunt

We even have Meet Plan Go Co-Founder, Sherry Ott as part of our expert travel curators.  Whatever it is, you have specific needs and questions about your career break and you don’t want to miss the best of what’s out there.

How it Works

Exploring.is lets you book time (via chat, phone or video) with us so we can give you insider advice, answer your questions and help you plan your ideal vacation. Time can be booked in 15 minute blocks, with most people buying 30 minutes for $50.

My team and I launched our Beta last week and I’m really excited to be able to help out other prospective career breakers since it had such an impact on my life. Sign up today and we’ll make sure to get you scheduled for an appointment.

We’re looking forward to helping you plan your big trip! Start Here!

Blog post image option 1

Russ Brooks is the founder of Urbanful.org and Exploring.is. An avid motorcyclist, scuba diver and photographer, Russ has visited 40 states and 40 countries since taking his first trip to Mexico at age 13. He’s lived in Japan, Costa Rica and Ecuador and is always dreaming of the next place he wants to go.

Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go