Why? Because having an in person support group is important when you are deciding to take a big leap into the unknown or taking on big changes in your life. Whether it’s a career break, running a marathon, or moving to another country as an expat; we all need people to keep us accountable, energized, and focused on our goals.
And that power of the in person meetup proved true at a recent San Francisco event, which Sherry Ott attended. Here are some of the encounters she experienced.
The Surprise Sabbatical
Two women (A & M) who met for the first time talking about travel and how they’d love to get away and take a break. “A” talks about how she’d like to take a career break, but is fearful of leaving her job. “M” tells “A” how she’s planning a traveling career break for the future because her company offers a 6 month leave where you can take a sabbatical.
“A” says “ Oh, you are so lucky that your company offers such a program. Where do you work?”
“M” answers, “Wells Fargo.”
“A” looks shocked and exclaims, “I work for Wells Fargo too! I had no idea they had such a program!”
The conversation moved into laughter, exchanging information, and sharing details on how to find out more about the program.
The Shoulder to Cry On
Jen leaves in two weeks with a one-way ticket to Indonesia on her first career break. She looks frazzled – I know that look. She’s excited and scared at the same time. This is some big life change that she’s undertaking, flying off into the unknown – solo.
I looked at her and said…”you know – I remember when I was two weeks away from going – I was a basket case…I would cry at least two times a day”. She looked at me surprised, and somewhat relieved. She said in a meek questioning way, “really?”.
My good friend Amy, who was one of my friends whom I started my career break with, was there and overheard the conversation. She recounted the story of me crying on the plane on my way to Africa (we were flying to Kenya to begin my year career break and Amy was going for a two-week vacation).
I had been scared of what lie ahead of me, yet excited at the same time. It was a weird feeling and Amy was there to witness it all. As we both talked to Jen further, you could tell she felt a little better about her own fears – simply knowing someone else went through the same thing was comforting.
The Unplanned Reunion
Carol keeps saying I look familiar…but can’t figure out how she knows me. I assume it’s from my blog or something she’s read about MPG and we go on socializing around the event. She comes back to me with a mission and asks me if I ever went to Egypt. I assume she’s asking if I would recommend Egypt so I told her that I indeed did go to Egypt as part of my career break but that it wasn’t my favorite country and I much preferred Jordan over Egypt.
She paused, looked a bit confused and plodded forward and asked, “Did you take a tour in Egypt?” I said – yes I did take a small group tour with Intrepid Travel because I didn’t want to travel solo through Egypt. A big smile came across her face and she said, “I knew it! I knew I had met you before! I was on that tour with you!”
I could hardly believe that four years later our paths crossed randomly around our love for travel. The world is truly small.
Our local meetups are in full swing now with events already happening in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and NYC; and scheduled for Portland, Seattle, New Orleans, and LA. Come join in and get travel ideas, share stories of your planning, ask questions of people who have done it, or simply share a beer.