Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

How to Go Local in Istanbul
Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Of course when you go to Istanbul, Turkey you’ll be drawn to the ancient sites and Ottoman history in Sultanhamet – the old part of the city. However, many career breakers are looking for more local connections and experiences the longer they travel. If you are looking for local experiences and a chance to escape the tourist crowds in Istanbul – here’s how!

Local Markets

Skip the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar and if you really want to go local – then head to the Sunday market in Tarlabasi. Just down the hill from the glitz of Istiklal Street is what many locals might refer to the ‘wrong side of the tracks.’ This is a neighborhood that has not quite succumbed to gentrification yet – but I’m pretty sure in a few years it will look very different. However, if you are looking for an authentic experience – this is it. I spent a few hours at this market shopping for produce and taking photos. Every single vendor and person there were a joy to interact with. I was constantly stopped and asked if I would take a photo or simply try food – as a foreign traveler, I was definitely in the minority. Plus the best part is that I walked away with bags of produce and only spent about $10 US.

Local Getaway

Go where the locals go to escape the loud, crowded streets of Istanbul – Princes’ Islands. It’s a short 50 minute ferry ride to the string of 4 islands – Kınalıada, Burgazada, Heybeliada and Büyükada. Ferries depart from Bostancı, Kartal and Maltepe on the Asian side, and from Kabataş on the European side and cost about 2 Turkish Lira per ride ($1.10 US). During the Byzantine period, princes and other royalty were exiled to the islands which is why they are referred to as Princes’ Islands. But these days it’s a pleasure to escape to these islands where little seafood restaurants dot the perimeters and there is no motorized traffic. You’ll hear (and smell) plenty of horses, though, as horse and buggy are the main forms of transportation for people. Go spend a day at the islands and soak up what it’s like to be a local Istanbulite escaping the city!

If you really want to experience the local life on the islands, then go out on a weekday as the islands are filled with the people who live there as opposed to just Istanbul day trippers that head to the islands on the weekends.

Go to the Outskirts

Most tourists stay in Sultanhamet and Beyoglu – but if you want to get really local then venture out further past the old city walls! I took a very in depth walking tour of the Balat and Eyüp neighborhoods and quickly realized that they had a completely different vibe then what I had so far experienced in Istanbul. Most notably the Eyüp Mosque is one of the most sacred places in Istanbul. The mosque of Eyüp is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims from ancient times. In addition, Eyüp has some of the most spectacular views of the city and Golden Horn if you ride the cable car up the hill. Tourists seldom get to this part of the city.

In addition, if you want to see modern Istanbul then head to the Cevahir Mall and neighborhood just a short metro ride past Taksim. There, you will be amazed by what modern Istanbul is really like – businessmen and women in suits, chain stores, and even an amusement park inside the mall. I rented this room in an apartment behind the mall and seldom saw another tourist around!

Take Opportunities

Lose your shyness and take any opportunities you can to meet locals as odds are you will end up with a new friend who will take you around to their favorite places and share their favorite foods. Before I went to Istanbul I reached out to friends who had been there before to see if they could introduce me to any local contacts they had. I ended up meeting 3 or 4 different locals through this course of action and had my own personal tour guides to Istanbul! The Turks are extremely kind and excited to show you their city and culture, so be sure to take advantage of your connections.

Stay Local

I stayed in a couple different neighborhoods while renting apartments through Wimdu. Each neighborhood had something different to offer – but each also had one thing that was the same – a real local culture that I quickly became immersed in. Wimdu has all kinds of neighborhood choices in European and Asian Istanbul that get you out of the tourist areas and hotels and into real neighborhoods. Plus, by staying in an apartment, I was lucky enough to meet the apartment manager, Fatih, who also showed me around the neighborhood and made sure I knew where the market and restaurants were.

Local Transport

Skip the taxis whose drivers seldom speak English and rarely get you to your desired destination.  Instead get comfortable using local public transport. Get an Istanbul Card and it will be your gateway to buses, ferries, trams, metros, and funiculars. The transportation system in Istanbul can seem confusing as there are so many options and none really connect exactly with each other – but they all do work together to get you across the city. In the evenings around 6PM the trams can be very crowded with locals going home from work – but it’s a fun experience to see and interact with the commuters!

By going more local in Istanbul, your time there will be more rewarding and you’ll leave Turkey feeling as if you know more about the modern day culture of this fascinating country and city!

Disclosure:  Sherry Ott was a guest of Wimdu.co.uk during her stay in Istanbul.  However all of the opinions expressed here are her own. 

When the Light Bulb Went On
Friday, March 6th, 2015

Little did I know it then, but a letter to my mother my senior year of college has set me on a path that will inevitably change my life. 

It was 1995.  Being a naive college grad, I was eager for what was next in life, yet I was scared to face reality at the same time.  The letter I wrote to my mom that year captured my restlessness, my wanderlust, and my questions about how I was going to live my life now that I had satisfied all the prescribed obligations of early adulthood.  Now that I was free to choose what I wanted to do with my time, traveling and having new adventures was much more appealing than going to work.  Settling down to a cubicle?  Really?  Ugh, boring!  I was no stranger to travel having spent the previous summer studying in Denmark and touring Europe in my spare time.  I just didn’t know how to make my dream of traveling the world happen.

Want to plan your<br />
own career break?
Want to plan your
own career break?

So, I did what any broke 22 year-old would do – I went to graduate school and then got a regular corporate job.   

Jump ahead 13 years through graduation and student loans, a move, a year of volunteering, a career change to the public sector, and numerous awesome vacations where I couldn’t help but want just one more day before coming home.  My trip and the desire to explore the world would always come to mind during those vacations, and I would usually think it was just a crazy dream or that it couldn’t happen now – I had other things to do.

After being downsized early in 2008, I faced a crossroads.  Would I strike out on my own and start the business I’d been thinking about, would I travel, or would I try to find another job?  The economy was going south and I had a mortgage.  Being fiscally responsible was what I thought I should do even though my heart was on the road somewhere in Mongolia.  I made the decision to start the business and look for (and a year later, I ultimately found) a full-time job so I could keep paying the mortgage.

During that year, it felt like I was being slapped in the face every day to know I now had the time and opportunity to travel long term, but felt stuck with my current situation.  I thought I couldn’t spend the money I did have on anything other than necessities to keep myself, and the lifestyle choices I had made, afloat.

Fast forward through another 3 years of cubicle-land and a broken heart after being turned down for the fellowship I desperately wanted.  I remember the exact moment I was on the phone with my mom to tell her the news, tears streaming down my face.  The words came out of my mouth a bit flippantly, but nonetheless, I voiced what I had dreamed about since 1995.

Maybe I should just go on my trip.

Her response?  “Yes, you should.”

And that was it – everything clicked and the light bulb came on.  It wasn’t that I was looking for permission.  It was that I had finally stopped thinking about my trip as an impossibility or a pipe dream.  I had finally decided I could really do it and realized it was more important to me than anything else.

So, the trip I’ve been thinking about taking since writing that letter in 1995 launched in February of 2013.  Two unsolicited job offers were even turned down the year prior to leaving because I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer.

The enormity of my trip was an eye-opener and made me reconsider more than once.  But I had already made the one decision that really counts.

I decided to GO.

Beth Fenger took off on her own in February of 2013 for her round the world trip, visiting Patagonia, Cambodia, Mongolia, India, Turkey, Jordan, and Namibia.  She’s also an amateur photographer, zealous wine taster, obsessive trail runner, avid camper, adrenaline junkie, and finds her current career calling in the non-profit sector.  She can be found toting her camera, tent, and corkscrew, while running trails in various US cities and on Twitter and Facebook.

Beware Responsible People – Embrace the Crazy
Friday, January 30th, 2015

Contemplating a career break but others around you think you are crazy? Listen to this advice from Ryan and Jen Fuller, management consultants who up and took a six month career break in Argentina and Chile. Prior to hearing the term ‘career break’ they just called what they were doing ‘rehab.’

“I thought you were crazy when you said you were going on this trip; now [6 months later], I think you’re crazy for coming back”

– A friend talking about our career break


Because the concept of a career break is still quite novel (at least in the US), most of us don’t have very many people in our social groups who have ever taken one. Unfortunately, this often means that all of your excitement over the idea of leaving your job in favor of long-term travel may not engender the kind of enthusiasm you are hoping for amongst your friends/co-workers/family. Even if you are just looking for support rather than advice, you should expect to be assaulted with many, many reasons why it is a bad idea and you are crazy for even contemplating it.

Here are some of our favorites:

  1. You’re crazy
  2. Are you kidding, leave your job in this economy?
  3. You’ll never be able to explain this on your resume or in future job interviews – your career will be ruined forever
  4. It’s too expensive
  5. You’re crazy
  6. I once knew someone that went on a trip like this… they died
  7. What if you get kidnapped by drug runners?
  8. I always wished I could do something like that, but then I realized how irresponsible it would be to throw away everything I’d been working toward for so long
  9. You should wait until you get that next promotion; then you’ll have a much better safety net
  10. You’re crazy

So what do you do if you aren’t getting the kind of support that you’d like to actually take the leap?

Option 1) Go fast

Do what we did… make the decision to leave and then go before anyone really has the chance to convince you it’s a bad idea. We were in Argentina 3 weeks after we made the decision to go. Clearly this won’t work for everyone. Option 2 is probably a better route…

(more…)

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

Sherry & her motorbike in Vietnam

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

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

Verbalizing Goals Is Powerful

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

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

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

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

Try It On For Size – Say It Aloud

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

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

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

Now – go to your trusted friend and say it.

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

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

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

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

Hold On Before You Feel Defeated

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

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

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


Big Boom RoadShow
Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Can Boomers Get a Break?

While beer-storming (that’s beer-sipping + brainstorming) over the holidays with dear friend and MPG rock star Sherry Ott, we came up with my 2014 career-break movement mission. For the next year, every month, I will write a column about Baby Boomers. So let’s get off our Boomer big butts and get this show on the road!

Not the greatest generation?

We Boomers are a mystifying bunch. I say “We” because I was born in 1960—toward the end of the Baby Boom (1946 – 1964) and have loved riding the surge that followed. We sprang to life during an era of relative convention and conservatism. Then we boisterously rejected all that and, as lore has it, sold our souls to sex, drugs, and rock & roll.

We still like those things (and, increasingly, Viagra, hearing aids, and legalization). But as history writes our story, there’s often a lingering haze of disappointment about what we accomplished with our passion and promise. After all, we preached peace but have enabled costly wars that drag on for decades. We marched for equality yet bitter human-rights fights rage on. We imagined a world less ruled by The Man, Big Brother, and Uncle Sam—yet fear for our freedoms, privacy, and jobs.

Now we’re 50 – 68 years old. If we still fantasize running away to Woodstock or San Francisco, we probably lack the means and zeal—or are afraid someone might steal our job. Hell, two-thirds of us (in North America) don’t even use all of our modest vacation allocation. Is that a buzzkill or what!?! A haze of disappointment, indeed.

Let’s change the world—one (vacation) day at a time

But it’s not too late, right? If you’re reading this—Boomer or not—you’re not dead yet. And the best time to take an extended journey is…anytime! Like, when the stars finally align! When you’ve saved some money! Gotten divorced or widowed! Watched your nest (or nest egg) go empty! Or gotten fired or learned you have one year to live.

In other words, perhaps there’s no perfect time for anything. Yet somehow we find time to fall in love, get an education, buy and sell homes, raise families, manage careers, and move around. If you hang out on this site, you’re likely thinking about moving around.

So we’ll explore what it means to prioritize long-term travel—and the whys and hows and more. We’ll revive forgotten promises and unfulfilled fantasies. We’ll celebrate trips we’ve taken, probe vital topics, and ask the big questions like…

  • If we’re afraid to go, how do we face down fear and build up faith?
  • What’s money got to do with it?
  • What about options like staycations, couch-surfing, and home exchanges?
  • How will we redefine retirement?
  • Can we embark on ambitious adventures while managing a health condition?
  • Why do we work so hard and long—and how can we escape that blessed curse?
  • How do we keep hope alive through mini-breaks, vacations, and leisure?
  • Have we become immobilized by our families, homes, gadgets, and stuff?
  • What are pros and cons of going solo, with a partner, or the whole damn family?
  • Since we might live beyond 100, how do we make a work/life plan for that?
  • As our travels may suggest, why are less fortunate cultures often happier than U.S.?
  • Shall we start scheming for a Boomers on BreakAway Summit?

Up, up, and away…

We’ll check out some stats and facts, but get lost in far-out places like Bequia. We’ll share tips and tales from been there and doing that. And above all, we’ll laugh at ourselves and yet hope to inspire each other to go up, up, and away—whether to the adventure of a lifetime, or simply using all our vacation days.

PS What do YOU want Big Boom RoadShow to explore? Please add your comment below, or send me a private email through my website. Thanks!

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

5 Steps to Getting Over the Hurdle and Making BIG Changes in Your Life
Friday, January 17th, 2014

“You deserve to be happy,” I kept (and keep) telling myself.

“You are worth it!”

This was my mantra during the time I was making a significant change in my life and decided to take a big break. In late 2012 I quit my job after 6 years of hard work and long hours dedicated to product marketing and began a 10 month journey of self-discovery through Southeast Asia, India and parts of Europe. The process from acknowledging I needed a change to actually getting over the hurdle and hopping on a plane to Bangkok took time, understanding and a bunch of support. The good news is if I can do it, so can you.

Here are five steps I experienced in creating change and manifesting a life that felt more…like me.

Acknowledge a change is needed

 

Whether it is making the decision to quit your job, postpone grad school, or take a break from a certain kind of life you’ve been leading, knowing you need a change is the first step in making what you truly want to actually happen. However, making the decision to stop what you’re doing right where you are and say, “No, I don’t want this,” and move in a new direction isn’t easy. You might have an inkling, a feeling deep in your stomach that’s telling you, “This isn’t quite right”. There might not only be a yearning for more, but a knowing that there is more to this life than what you are currently experiencing. By honoring and listening to that inner voice, our deepest desires, we naturally begin the process of cultivating change.

Want to learn the practicalities of taking a Career Break Trip? Sign up for our free e-course, Plan Your Career Break in 30 Days

Knowing you are worth it

It takes more than listening to your gut to make big decisions like taking a career break. I knew I needed to make a change, but it took a good 3 years to feel “worthy” enough to act on it. In my case, I was living a life of fear. I was afraid to disappoint those around me: my family, employer, colleagues and friends. I made others’ happiness more important than my own. This only made me feel more stuck, more unsatisfied, less productive in my work, and just unpleasant to be around. I was sick of hearing myself complain. Gradually, through therapy, self-help books, TedTalks, yoga and an introduction to meditation, my self-worth grew and grew. I started practicing putting myself first, setting boundaries, saying “no.” Little by little I could feel my courage and inner strength brewing. I was getting ready to act on making an even bigger change in my life.

Letting go of attachments

As humans we generally cling to comfort. If given the option of choosing between something you know and something unknown, we tend to stick with “the usual.” We carry a soft spot for what we know, this life we’ve worked so hard to build. Even though I knew I needed a change and was beginning to feel worthy enough to experience this happiness, I was still greatly attached to my life in the Bay Area, California. But if I truly wanted an alternative, I needed to make room for it. I began to analyze my relationship and identity with my work, my friends and community. Would the company survive without me? Could I survive this journey without my friends? Would I risk losing a friend to experience something new? How could I create community in the places I hoped to visit? Making a change and taking a break definitely comes with a bit of letting go, which is probably one of the hardest steps along the way. And it’s the letting go process that requires support.

Create a support network

So began the search to find people and communities that would support me, because God knows I was not going to pull the plug all on my own. I tried focusing less on my mother’s concerns and more on who could help me make my desire a reality. Friends connected me to other friends who knew people who traveled for long periods of time. I made tea-dates with yoga teachers who had practiced in India, and Skyped with current travelers wandering abroad.

In my outreach I discovered my friend from college, Anne and her new husband Mike were getting ready to leave for a year-long honeymoon around the world. On a trip to New York, I popped over to Hoboken and had an uplifting pow-wow with my around the world bound friends at Honeytrek. Almost in unison, Mike and Anne said, “Have you heard of Meet Plan Go?”

They had recently attended a meet-up and said they met tons of like-minded people eager to take career breaks and received loads of inspiration and support on how to make it happen. Lucky for me the national meet-up was scheduled in just a few weeks. In October, 2012 I attended the San Francisco gathering. Filled with helpful information and more importantly, encouraging pats on the back, I quit my job by the end of the month.

If you’re in the New York City or San Francisco areas , Meet, Plan, Go! is hosting meetups in both (Ashley, the author of this article, will be at the San Francisco meetup). Both are free, but you do need tickets. Visit the sites below to get your free ticket and for more info:

Embracing the unknown

Going against the grain is uncomfortable and is not without risking a splinter or two. While the world around you is cruising in one direction, it can feel quite daunting to wave goodbye and take the next exit. If you get off the known highway of life and take an alternate route, well, there’s no telling what sort of potholes and unpaved streets lie ahead. The fact is, you will never know. You can be as prepared as you can be with your maps and all-weather gear, but you really don’t know where this amazing journey of life is going to take you. Getting comfortable with this “not knowing” is the key to experiencing great happiness. In my experience, when you have trust in the unknown, acting from the heart and not out of obligation, there is only room for a positive outcome.

If any of this is resonating, I encourage you to put your blinker on and take the road less traveled. Listen to your inner voice and trust you know what you truly want and can make your deepest desires a reality. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and surround yourself with people who lift you up. There is no question making a big decision is difficult, but I can guarantee you, it will be one of the most liberating experiences you will feel in your life.

I’ll leave you with the words of Mark Twain (which also inspired me to shave my head in Dharamsala, India)
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Ashley Garver made the switch from an under stimulated, disconnected work-a-holic into a joyously free-spirited world-class wanderer. With a full backpack and a sublet apartment, she spent ten introspective months traveling alone throughout Southeast Asia, India, and Europe. She studied yoga, eastern healing modalities, meditation, and — most importantly — herself. Ashley detoxed her body, shaved her head, biked through the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, and volunteered at a yoga retreat in Portugal for a month. During her journey of self-discovery, Ashley realized that, with love and honesty, she is capable of just about anything. You can read more about Ashley on her website I See Ashley and follow her on Twitter.

Getting Over Your Fears
Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Long-term travel isn’t usually a decision that is made overnight. There is often a deep, long-lasting desire within a person to tread on dirt roads, watch sunsets from other horizons, see new colors woven together by diverse histories and traditions, share unique moments, appreciate differences, learn to be self-sufficient and free, enjoy simplicity, and to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul. For some, the dream to leave a life behind to follow an uncertain road seems impossible or too scary to attempt. But when the desire to go surpasses the desire to stay, one should prepare for the waves of emotions that follow. As a single mom with two young children, there were almost too many emotions to sort through.

The decision that it was possible

Marriage and kids kept me in one place, and my travel dreams were reduced to pictures on a Pinterest board. In 2011, I was divorced and broke. I had a small, empty apartment in Austin, two children (then ages 2 and 4), no job, no car, and a blank canvas with which to create a brand new life. I began an online marketing business that allowed me the flexibility to be at home with my children and to travel when we wanted to.

After a year of running my business, making sure it was successful and profitable, I envisioned what my life would look like in 6 months. I saw turquoise blue waters, warm weather, and knitted hammocks. So on Christmas morning of 2012, new luggage, passports, swimsuits, and beach toys were wrapped beneath our tree. My gift to my children and myself was a long trip to Cozumel, Mexico, which seemed like the perfect introduction to traveling outside of the US. I sold, gave away, and packed our belongings, and anticipated our departure date in May. I was overwhelmed with excitement until one late night 6 weeks before we were scheduled to leave, I wanted to cancel the whole trip.

Fears set in during the planning stages

I had been spending my evenings reading travel articles, travel blogs, travel tips, cultural differences in Cozumel, Mexican laws, and other books. I mapped out a detailed plan that exhausted me to look at, but I felt secure that everything in Austin would be taken care of when I left. I hired staff to take care of tasks that I couldn’t be present for, and on paper, my plans for my exciting journey seemed thorough. But exciting journeys aren’t about a plan on paper.

About 6 weeks before leaving, I began to feel displaced. My thoughts and energy had been focused on Cozumel, and it pained me to feel uprooted from my comfortable life in Austin. I felt adrift- some place between Austin and Cozumel. Knowing I wouldn’t be with my friends in a month, I stopped making plans with them, and I was sure I would be forgotten. I feared that there would be nothing to come back to, that friends would move on, and that I would no longer have a place.

I questioned whether this was best for the kids- to uproot them when we had made a comfortable spot for ourselves in Austin. I was content there to a degree, so maybe I could be okay. Maybe life abroad isn’t really what I had imagined, and maybe I was setting myself up for disappointment. I was sure of my life in Austin. I knew what was coming, and I knew what to expect. But in another country, I didn’t know what to expect. Was the excitement of the unknown worth the risk of having no permanent home?

I questioned everything. I began to panic and started holding on to any reason to stay in Austin. Talking about my trip made me cry. I couldn’t sleep, and I cried more in that last month than I did in the past year. I wrote out how much it would cost to cancel my trip, get a new place (since I had given notice at my apartment), put the kids in a new pre-school, and continue living just like I always had. I was so disappointed in myself- I claimed to be a free spirit, but I was terrified of venturing out with only a couple of pieces of luggage, my two children, and my little dog.

So did we go?

I thought I needed comfort and roots, but what I really needed was resolution and wings. I began having long chats with a seasoned world traveler friend of mine. He assured me that these feelings were normal, but that I needed to find a way to put them in their place. I could cancel the trip and go on living the way I was, or I could take this chance, and get a glimpse of something that could be incredible. If I didn’t like it, I could always return to Austin, but my friend assured me that if I would just get on the plane, I wouldn’t regret it. I was allowing fear to ruin the possibility of a deeply-rooted dream, of a free vagabond lifestyle that I had designed in my head for years. But I wanted this adventure enough that I had rid myself of all material things, structured a business around a travel lifestyle, and prepared my children to be little world explorers.

I had been blindsided by the waves of emotions I felt from day to day and even hour to hour (sometimes minute to minute). Finally, a couple of weeks before leaving, I found ways to manage my fear and move forward. If I failed, I could still have a good life in Austin, but if there was even a glimmer of hope that I could pull this off, I was going to find out.

I began envisioning myself in my new life, free in my spirit, but grounded in who I was. My stability would be within myself. My children would find their safety in my own stability. My comfort would be in knowing that the world was an exciting place, and that my children and I had the privilege of living in it- all of it if we wanted! My fears would not be passed on to them, and they would feel free and open to wander and discover, while I watched them in amazement. I realized that I could have roots, but also be fluid and mobile.

I ran, I meditated, I drank hot tea, I listened to soothing music, I took bubble baths, and I began to surround myself with only positive, calming energy and people. I reflected on all the amazing memories I had in Austin, but looked forward to new ones. I read books written by other wanderers and vagabonds who discovered things they were looking for and found even more that they weren’t. I studied maps, and beautiful cultures, and revived my excitement for seeing them myself. I recognized my fears, and then released them, as I began to expect the best from our trip. I spent time with people who had been traveling, I saw their appetite for life and exploration, and I regained my own enthusiasm for my journey. There were moments of fear, but I had resolved that we were going to do this. On May 23, 2012, the kids and I boarded a plane together, each of us with a stuffed animal in our hands.

What about now?

Questioning this move was a really helpful part of the process, now that I reflect on it. It helped me realize how strong my desire was to travel to new places. Had there been no struggle in my decision, in the end, I may not have been so resolved and focused to release myself from my own boundaries. My children and I have been in Cozumel for 3 months now, and we have all adjusted well. We have extended our trip through the school year, and we plan to live in Costa Rica next.

Sometimes, I wonder what I’m doing here, or I fall into habitual fears and mindsets. I worry that we may lose everything, that my business will fail, and that I won’t have the ability to pay for our home here.

But I guess even in a worst case scenario, I could just tie a couple of hammocks between two palm trees on a beach, and really, that doesn’t sound too bad at all.

Autumn la Bohème is a single mother of 2 who left her home in Austin Texas to disprove the word “impossible”. Always labeled a gypsy soul, she had a dream to live absolutely free, to travel with no geographical ties, to roam, to explore, and to make the world more real to her than the pictures she saw in books and magazines. She is a writer and online marketing manager for Bodhi Leaf Media, a business that she started to fund her travels. She also documents life and travel on her blog It’s All About a Journey. She loves daydreaming, open skies, and listening to tales of other nomads and vagabonds on their journeys. Her children’s adventurous spirits have added to the excitement of their journey, and now they have their own list of areas to visit as they slowly explore Central and South America.

Photo credits: Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha, all other photos courtesy of the author and may not be used without permission.

What A Career Break is Really Like
Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Before leaving the United States for my 11-month journey around the world, I figured I would ultimately work in corporate sales when I returned. For nearly seven years leading up to my journey, I’d worked as a recruiter and communicator, and I have some connections in the field, so it made sense to me.

After six years of planning, I turned 30, left my job, packed up my house and left the country. It’s a decision that’s shaped my life indelibly, just as any traveler will tell you. But the truth is, it was tough for me. For all the incredible experiences, there were also challenges, frustrations and hard times.

Discomfort, Uncertainty, and Responsibility

With long-term travel comes discomfort, uncertainty and ultimate responsibility for everything that goes on in your life, which is always the case of course, but when you’re at home you might have people who help you out – make you dinner, give you a ride, or buy you a ticket to the game. Plenty of people are willing to help you out while you’re traveling – an incredible amount actually – but it’s not something you can count on like close friends or family. It’s different. And being truly on your own, in a strange country without hotel reservations or signs in English, can be uncomfortable.

Being disconnected may have its merits, but it wore me down over the months. Granted, I was connected to the Internet more days than not. I could email, Skype, Facebook, and connect to my friends and family most of the time. But everyone is still back home, and you’re still out there.

You miss the things you love doing the most. For me it was playing and watching sports. I was able to watch a fair amount of sports truthfully, but watching the NFL in Portuguese is not exactly sitting on the couch with your bros drinking beer. And outside of skiing, playing football, softball, volleyball, basketball, and golf – each once over the 11 months, plus one tragic international cricket debut – there were not a lot of sports for me (that might sound like a lot, but in reality, it’s less than one sport every six weeks for a guy who normally plays some type of sport two to five days a week, at a minimum).

Mostly, it was about always having to figure it out – where am I going next, how am I getting there, who am I meeting, where am I going to sleep, how am I going to eat, and what am I going to do when I get there. What am I going to do right NOW? It’s all on you. On top of that, you always have to be cautious about your money, as there are always people grinding you down – asking you for money, trying to hustle and sell you crap, you name it. Many of these people you end up being friends with after all, but it becomes tiresome.

These and other challenges made it tough sometimes, but they made me stronger. Traveling is almost as much about working on yourself as it is seeing the world. You figure it all out. You learn the ropes and toughen up. And you learn some things in the process, about the world and about yourself.

Is it Worth It?

After all that it sounds like traveling sucks! That’s not true at all. The challenges are easy in comparison to what you get out of traveling. There is no greater education or experience, and you might never really discover the real you until you travel.

So was it worth it?

Absolutely. I would do it a thousand out of a thousand times, 100%. It was my life’s great adventure. No matter what happens, I’ll always have that, and I’ll absolutely never regret it.

I returned to the US in December of 2012. Somewhere along the way I decided against climbing the corporate ladder. Instead, I’ve started a company with my best friend and business partner while writing a book about my trip around the world. It’s interesting; most travelers I know or read about tend to go their own way after their adventures. It must be something about freedom.

If you’ve ever thought about traveling, do yourself a great favor and just go. Anywhere. Make immediate plans and set a firm date. Be resolute. If you think about the reasons not to go you’ll find plenty, but they’re all meaningless once you make the decision to do it.

Chris Healy Biography

In a series of planned moves, Chris left his job of seven years in December of 2011, embarking on his 11-month, 6-continent, 28-country adventure around the world. His journey focused on Growth, Connection, Service and Fitness.

Chris returned to the United States in December of 2012, moving to San Diego, CA where he’s started a creative/design/marketing studio with his friend and business partner. Chris writes about fitness and the road to personal success, while also working on a book about his world adventure.

Visit Chris’ blog at www.followchris.me.

Traveling with Kids: Building a Foundation of Learning
Friday, June 28th, 2013

Rainer Jenss was a Vice President and thirteen-year veteran of National Geographic. As the Publisher, he helped transform National Geographic Kids into the most widely read consumer magazine for children throughout the world. In the summer of 2008 he decided to put his professional expertise and personal passion to the ultimate test by traveling around the world for a year with his family.

Rainer continues to report on family travel as a Special Correspondent for National Geographic Traveler’s Intelligent Travel Blog and shares with us why traveling is a great way to build a foundation of learning in your children.

Kyoto, Japan

If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably fantasized about quitting your job, packing a suitcase, and leaving town for a while to travel the world. When we first got married, my wife Carol and I often contemplated taking the leap — sometimes seriously, sometimes not. There always seemed to be some excuse why we couldn’t, wouldn’t or shouldn’t. Our careers, responsibilities, and commitments had to be considered, and how about what our friends and family would say? It was always something. Then after the birth of our sons Tyler and Stefan, all this talk about packing our bags seemed to suddenly fade away. After all, you can’t possibly do something like this with kids, right?

If we teach our children to travel, we thought, then they will travel to learn –
a foundation that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

In January 2004, it all came roaring back. I had just returned with the family from Europe after visiting relatives for the holidays when Carol and I started reflecting on how much the boys (then seven and four) seemed to enjoy the experience of being in another country. Couple that with the post-9/11 mood of a country that was getting deeper into a war in Iraq and isolating itself more from the rest of the world, and suddenly it dawned on us that taking a year off to travel the world might actually be more sensible now that we had children. Increasingly, we found ourselves looking at taking a year off to travel not from the perspective of what we had to lose, but from all the benefits we could gain.

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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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Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go