Posts Tagged ‘couples’

How to Convince Your Partner to Take a Traveling Career Break Too
Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

Career Break for Couples

Mike and Tara on a beach near Mokoliʻi on Oahu, Hawaii.

When you’re in a relationship, you probably expect (or at least hope) that your significant other would support your sane and harebrained ideas equally. But when it comes to a decision as life-changing as a career break, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you might receive pushback when pitching the plan. During the time when you’ve been envisioning an exciting global trek, your better half may have been focused on climbing the corporate ladder. This is one reason why you should prep both yourself and your partner before bringing up the idea of a career break.

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Start by gauging your better half’s interest during dinner conversations and weekend outings. Do this by discussing the reasons behind why you want to take a career break, but without going into the details of your plan and ultimate goal. This may take the form of, “I’m feeling unfulfilled at work,” which intimates that you’re interested in a change, or “Wouldn’t it be fun to just quit our jobs and travel the world?” The conversation that builds from this playful question should tell you where your partner falls on the spectrum of an easy to hard sell. The reactions you elicit from these prompts will also give you a sense of potential concerns that you’ll need to address when you’re ready to reveal your plan.

Whether or not it ends up being easy to convince your partner, you’ll likely be up against the following common questions and pushback points:

  • This isn’t a good time. What about our responsibilities (kids, pets, possessions, and property)?
  • It sounds like a lot of work.
  • We can’t afford it, and what would we do for an income on the road and when we return?
  • What about our jobs and the employment gap on our resumes?
Career Break for Couples

Mike and Tara just return from a heart-pounding gorge swing over the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe

These are all valid concerns that you will definitely need to discuss as a couple, so take some time to think about how you would respond, and then write down your ideas. Create a loose script with potential questions and answers to help you prepare for this important conversation. Then read what you’ve written and ask yourself if your reasoning is logical and if your partner will understand where you’re coming from. Adjust where needed and then study the script so you’re more than familiar with the questions and answers. You shouldn’t read from it when you’re having the conversation, so practicing is crucial to build confidence. If you show doubt or indecision, your partner will feel the same way.

Additionally, show your commitment by being prepared with key information like where you might travel; a savings goal, how you will achieve it, and how long it will take to get there; options for what you can do with your possessions and property; and an overview of the biggest tasks to complete between now and your potential departure date.

Before we first started planning our round-the-world trip (RTW) in 2011, we had a similar conversation as Tara pitched the idea to Mike. We know it can be difficult to put your feelings about a career break into words, so here’s a little help with answers to the above pushback points:

  • There won’t ever be a “perfect time” to take a trip like this. Life is what you make it. Consider what obligations you have now – like kids, pets, and property – and how you would take care of them prior to leaving. You could rent or sell your property, ask family or friends to look after your pets, and bring your kids with you – what an excellent global education for them! Part of your pitch can include the allure of reducing your possessions and the ability to continue living as minimalists when your trip wraps up.
  • Sure, there’s a lot to do, but the reward is worth the work. And some of it will be fun too, like drafting your dream itinerary! The most difficult part for us was figuring out where to begin and in what order to complete tasks. Since there wasn’t a comprehensive guide for planning long-term travel, we wrote the book we wish we had access to when we were planning our RTW. It’s called Create Your Escape: A Practical Guide for Planning Long-Term Travel. It will help you plan your own career break, from saving money to reducing your possessions to executing even the smallest of details that will ultimately help make your trip carefree.
  • Your financial savings may either make you feel at ease or worry you about whether you could pull this off. To achieve your financial goals, it’s important to have a detailed plan for how to get there, which can include a monthly savings goal, paying off your debts, and adding a second income. In Create Your Escape, we provide an easy method for calculating your savings goal and a supplemental spreadsheet to help you track your spending on the road.
  • Experienced career breakers like ourselves know that a grown-up gap year won’t kill your career path, but we also know how difficult it is to trust that everything will turn out well. Ultimately, this requires trust in yourself and your abilities. Finding an employer who respects this personal decision won’t be difficult, as there will always be companies and hiring managers who value risk takers and want them on their team. Do whatever you can between now and the time you leave to ensure that your careers are moving forward in a positive direction. That will give you the confidence to sell yourself later on – just like you would now if you were looking for a new job.
Career Break for Couples

Religious site in Hpa-an, Myanmar.

Don’t feel disheartened if you two aren’t completely in sync at first, as it can take some time to get on board with such a big decision. One of the best ways you can build your potential travel partner’s confidence is to prove that the two of you, as a team, can pull it off – financially and otherwise. While a pitch displays your commitment, asking for the other person’s help shows you want them to be a part of the process. This works even better if you can tell your partner concrete ways he or she can contribute. For example, if your better half is great with numbers, he or she can be your trip CFO and handle your budget, which is critical to planning and executing a career break.

Career Break for Couples

Mike and Tara riding a donkey at the ksar of Ait Benhaddou in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains.

Most importantly, don’t forget that this is supposed to be fun! You two could probably spend hours on end talking about your route, bucket list activities, festivals you want to attend, and friends you want to visit around the globe. You shouldn’t stress about planning an in-depth itinerary, but visualizing your end goal will be important for keeping both your head and heart in the game. If you maintain a high level of excitement when you talk about where you could go and what you could do, it will likely be difficult to resist the idea, especially if the back-end logistics are well thought out. Make it tough to say no to you!

Career Break for CouplesTara and Mike Shubbuck 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 to Travel As a Couple on Career Break
Monday, May 19th, 2014

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

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

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

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

Here’s what we covered:  

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

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

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

Preparing for Long-Term Travel with Your Partner
Friday, July 19th, 2013

Adam Seper and his wife Megan have embraced travel throughout their decade long relationship. And after getting married, they decided that instead of pursuing the “American Dream” of buying a house and starting a family, they wanted to travel the world instead. So in October of 2008 they set off on a 358-day adventure, visiting 4 continents, 11 countries, and nearly 90 cities. Since they’ve returned, Megan is back being an attorney and Adam has switched careers – from a high school English teacher prior to the trip to editor of BootsnAll.

For other couples preparing for an adventure of their own, here are some important insights and tips they learned.

If you’ve never taken an extended trip before, you’re bound to have tons of questions. How do we begin planning for something like this? Do we just up and quit our jobs? Is a sabbatical possible? How do we choose where to go? What do we pack? What about visas? Certainly all important questions. But what some fail to think about is what it will actually be like out on the road, especially in regards to traveling with your partner.

THE JUDGEMENT AND QUESTIONS

“Are you sure you know what you’re getting yourselves into?”

“Aren’t you afraid you’re going to hate one another after an entire year together?”

“Oh my God! We could never do that! We’d literally kill each other!”

We heard all the above statements when telling people our plan to take a year-long trip around the world together. We initially dismissed those questions as ludicrous, having confidence in our relationship and previous travels that this whole venture would be a walk in the park.

Our trip did indeed include many walks in many parks, but it was hardly the same as the metaphorical meaning of that statement. Something so many people fail to realize about extended travel is that it is really hard work at times. It’s not all puppies, rainbows, and unicorns.

Adam and Megan in Mumbai

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A TRIP AND A VACATION

We all love vacations. They’re great. Whether it’s lounging on the beach, taking a road trip, or renting a cabin in the woods, vacations give us a chance to get away from the daily grind of life, to forget about our worries for a while, and just relax and unwind. When on vacation, we feel as though we could stay forever.

Let’s set the record straight before we delve any further. A career break, RTW (round the world) trip, or taking off on an open-ended adventure is NOT the same as a vacation. We learned quickly that there is a HUGE discrepancy between a vacation and a trip. There are so many things to know, learn, and consider, particularly if you are traveling with your significant other.

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Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go