Posts Tagged ‘meet plan go’

‘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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everyone’s Talking About Career Breaks!
Monday, October 15th, 2012

People may think you would be crazy to leave your full-time job to travel the world…but we think you’d be crazy NOT to attend the Meet, Plan, Go! national event tomorrow night to learn how to make your travel dreams a reality.

 
It can be done – and you’re NOT crazy.

 
The dozens of experienced career breakers and travel experts who will be leading the events in ten cities across North America tomorrow are proof of that.
 
Even actor-turned-travel writer Andrew McCarthy is on board with taking a career break to travel:

The career break craze may not quite be sweeping the nation, but it is drawing a lot of attention. Everyone seems to be talking about Meet, Plan, Go! and we couldn’t be more excited!

Seminar Inspires People to Take a Career Break and Travel the World – BudgetTravel.com

Nationwide Events Help you Plan a Career Break – Fodors.com

Meet, Plan, Go! helps you trade a desk for the open road – USAToday.com

Introducing Your Career Break Role Model – AFAR.com

How to Make Your Travel Dreams a Reality – Meet, Plan, Go! – LandLopers.com

Meet Plan Go Event Kick Off Your Travel Sabbatical – AirTreks.com

Planes, trains and marshrutkas – White Bear Press (White Bear Lake, MN)

Meet, Plan, Go! is hitting the airwaves too:

Check out Chicago host Lusa Lubin talking affordable long-term travel and Meet, Plan, Go! with WGN:

And watch Minneapolis host Katie Aune on KSTC-TV discussing what you can learn when you attend Meet, Plan, Go!:

And what did last year’s attendees have to say?

“Life-inspiring event – covering an amazing amount of relevant material. I would definitely attend another and another until I go!” — San Francisco attendee

“After this event, the excitement for traveling was high for everyone. The panelists were helpful, gave excellent examples of things to do and not to do, plus lots of encouragement. Everyone with this dream should go to see how it is possible.” — Chicago attendee

“This was a fantastic event! It made me realize that long term travel is a completely realistic goal and that I have amazing company also doing the same” — Seattle attendee

Join us on October 16, 2012

for our nationwide Meet, Plan, Go! events:

Austin | Boston | Chicago | Minneapolis | New York City

San Diego | San Francisco | Seattle | South Florida | Toronto

MPG 2012 Seattle Host: Lori Stone
Monday, October 1st, 2012

All of our local Meet, Plan, Go! hosts have inspiring stories of their own career break travels. In the months leading up to our National Event on October 16, we will introduce them to you so you can see why they are part of our team.

Meet Our Host: Lori Stone

I’m a collector.

I collect things and experiences and daydreams. I collect cool things in jars like sea glass and sand from my travels and I have boxes of old family photos lining shelves with travel books and souvenirs and weird figurines that mean nothing to the average onlooker. I have list after list of brilliant ideas, new inventions, and places I long to be. I love finding things—dropped shopping lists, coins, and other ephemera. I look lovingly at the passport vacation stamps I’ve amassed over the years and with a recent romp through Montana, I’ve been to more US States than not. Not too shabby.

So imagine my surprise when last summer I sat down and realized that my “someday” list had outgrown itself. Someday I will _______ (fill in the blank with anything and everything that I wasn’t doing by August of 2011). By age 40 (which unimaginably happens THIS November!) I had vowed to learn my new accordion, tour Vietnam, launch my dream freelance business, clean out my wicked, wicked garage, start selling my photography, buy a boat, and take a vintage silver Airstream RV, completely restored by hand, across the good ol’ US of A.

Someday. Why does it always have to be “someday?”

Someday…a hopeful word that came to finally represent the height of my inaction. All of the things I had claimed to wish for were sitting on a little slip of paper and my desires were in complete contrast to my daily actions and work.

You see, I’d spent the last 8+ years doing work that I really, really liked but that never truly fulfilled me. And, over the last 20+ years, I had—albeit proudly—turned my career into something very lucrative…a comfortable life, basic needs met, and potential to continue with great success on that trajectory. And like a second-grader procrastinating long division while staring out the window at the playground set, I often thought of so many places I’d rather be than answering even one more business email.

Couple that with the whammy news I got in late 2006 and you have the makings of a truly restless life. It was just over five years ago that I heard the words “it’s cancer.” I was diagnosed with endocervical adenocarcinoma, or invasive cervical cancer, at just 34, at the heart of this lucrative existence I had carved out for myself. I think this is what they mean when they say “stopped in your tracks.” I will jump ahead to happily report that I am in full remission. My treatment was successful and I can now add survivor-turned-advocate to my resume.

It was from this potentially tragic future that I began to actively take back my life to be what I desired it to be.

What I desired was this: a life lived fully, on my terms, spending my days both contributing to my local community and setting pace to leave a great legacy of someone who embraces all things joyful. I reflected back on all of the great places I had traveled in my life and it was always then that I truly felt most alive…from my romantic wanderings through Paris to my kayaking in Honduras to my meditation on humor and irony while sitting through a rogue cyclone on the Sunshine Coast of Australia.

So then in December of 2011—at the height of a wary economy and my consulting success – I reclaimed my procrastinated journey by finally saying “no” to a tempting work contract renewal and thereby saying “yes” to my wanderlust. I went on sabbatical for a year and I grinned from ear-to-ear as I drove home on my last day of work and realized what lay before me. For the first time in years, I had no clue as to what came next. I still don’t. Five year plan? No clue.

My days of meticulous racing are over and I have traded the frenetic energy of corporate life for one of wonder, adventure, and fun. What used to worry me now challenges me and I trust completely in the idea that my desires will carve the perfect path for where I need to be. Not to be confused with a lack of caring for where I am or my personal and long-term career success…I would argue that I now care MORE by owning how I spend my time and the quality of my life vs. the quantity and raw acclamation of money and goods.

Like many of us, my garage still desperately needs cleaning and my mortgage still needs paying and my life still has certain grown-up obligations. The biggest myth that we tell ourselves is that life and desire are mutually exclusive. I’ve discovered that this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve simply changed the way I view opportunity.

My official sabbatical will be wrapping up in a few months and I look forward to seeing what my next career turn has in store for me. In the meantime, I’m trading in my normally gloomy Pacific Northwest winter for a sunny, summer beach in New Zealand…#17 on my someday list.

Someday is now.

Lori Stone spent the last 20 years in the corporate, non-profit, and technology sectors and today specializes in communications and program management. In 2007, she started The Joy Guild, a side business at the time that incorporated her love of the arts, photography, teaching, and travel safaris from Paris, France to Moab, Utah to Melbourne, Australia. However, her full time commitment to corporate technology consulting over the last nine years kept her from fully launching her dream business.

2011 marked the beginning of Lori’s research sabbatical and career break. She is taking time off from contract management work and exploring the world around her by leading creative art retreats, traveling, writing, learning, continuing outreach as a cancer survivor-turned-advocate, building communities, and—most important—having fun. She continues to envision a world where people increasingly find play AND work that brings them joy and looks forward to her official business launch in 2013. You can find Lori on Twitter as @thejoyguild or on Facebook.

Join us on October 16, 2012 for our nationwide Meet, Plan, Go! events:

Austin | Boston | Chicago | Minneapolis | New York City

San Diego | San Francisco | Seattle | South Florida | Toronto

MPG 2012 South Florida Hosts: Jillian & Danny Tobias
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

All of our local Meet, Plan, Go! hosts have inspiring stories of their own career break travels. In the months leading up to our National Event on October 16, we will introduce them to you so you can see why they are part of our team.

Meet Our 2012 South Florida Hosts: Jillian & Danny Tobias

What’s in Your Travel Web?

Remember in elementary school when your teacher stood in front of the class and taught word associations?

Blue is to sky as green is to grass,” the teacher would say.  “Hard is to pavement as soft is to pillow.

These simple exercises created a web in our brains, associating words, experiences and memories into our pattern of communication.  For me, travel is a web of associations.  It’s not a singular word or a series of experiences; it is a web of experiences that build, influence and complement each other.

Travel is to explore. To explore is to take chances.  To risk is to experience. To experience is to feel.

To feel is to make a memory.  To remember is to want for more.

My travel web started small, incomplete and somewhat fragile.  When I left as a teenager for a trip in the United Kingdom, I had little idea of the path I was starting to lay out for myself.  Three weeks passed in a flash and before I knew it that trip had faded into the darkness of my memory.  Years later I spent a few weeks in France, then Canada, and finally I studied in Italy.  To this day I’m not quite sure what pushed me to make the impulsive decision to spend a few months in Italy; it must have been something lurking in my web.

You see, my travel web is made up of emotions.

For me, travel is an intensely emotional experience.  It’s emotions that are triggered when I hear the muezzin call Muslims to prayer, smell cinnamon and cardamom in a market, and taste the juice of a passion fruit.  Joy, surprise, happiness, mystery, reflection, excitement, existence, these are the emotions that I associate with travel.   The moment I leave and the moment I return I dip into my web, fishing around for the right emotions.   90% of the time I can never catch the right one.

But that is ok.

Because a web is there to catch you when you can’t catch yourself.  When you feel excited to leave on a career break when you know you should be at least a little afraid.  When you feel afraid even though you’re about to reach for your dream. When you feel sadness at returning home even though you are heading into the arms of loved ones and when you feel longing to be back on the road when you’ve just gotten settled.Your travel web – the association of experiences, feelings and memories you create yourself as you explore the world – is there to catch you.  You don’t need to build the largest, strongest or tightest web in order to break to follow your dream.  You simply need to trust it.  If you’ve never been out of the country, that doesn’t negate a trip around the world.   If you’ve never taken your two weeks of vacation that doesn’t prevent you from broaching the topic of a career break sabbatical with your boss.  It simply means you’ll have to learn to trust yourself and trust your web.

On the first day of my 21 month trip around the world I didn’t know where I was sleeping that night.  It was an immediate far cry from the “type A” personality that walked briskly down the hall of a multistory office building the month before.  I think I left that personality at the border. Over the next few weeks and months I broke nearly every travel rule I had laid out for myself – no overnight buses (broken on the first night!), no meat from street vendors (broken on day 2), don’t drink the water.  Looking back, it was my travel web that saved me – the trust and emotions I had built into that web were what allowed me to take the changes, weigh the risks and reap the rewards of a journey around the world that changed my life.

That’s the best thing about your travel web – it is constantly expanding, reaching for new areas and filling with new experiences.  It is flexible, stretchy and the associations you make, the experiences you have will only serve to enrich your web so that they next time you can stretch a bit further, push a bit harder and go a bit longer.

Jillian and Danny Tobias traveled around the world for 21 months, traversing famous overland routes like Capetown to Cairo and the old silk road from Istanbul to Beijing. They conquered mini-buses on four continents and enjoyed street food in fifty countries, all without a single broken bone or parasite!

Experts in budgeting and financing your dream, Jillian and Danny have been featured by finance and business writers from The New York Times, Sun-Sentinel, and US News & World Report. In 2011, the couple started a budgeting website to help others achieve their financial goals, Doughhound. Jillian transitioned from a corporate career to owning her own media relations business after her career break.   You can follow her on Twitter as @IShouldLogOff or connect on Facebook.

Join us on October 16, 2012 for our nationwide Meet, Plan, Go! events:

Austin | Boston | Chicago | Minneapolis | New York City

San Diego | San Francisco | Seattle | South Florida | Toronto

MPG 2012 Austin Hosts: Shelley Seale & Keith Hajovsky
Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

All of our local Meet, Plan, Go! hosts have inspiring stories of their own career break travels. In the months leading up to our National Event on October 16, we will introduce them to you so you can see why they are part of our team.

Meet Our 2012 Austin Hosts: Shelley Seale and Keith Hajovksy

It’s literally the ticket to the whole world…but only 30% of Americans have a passport. A passport is about so much more than travel; and travel is about so much more than sightseeing and vacationing. It’s about witnessing different ways of life than your own, experiencing different cultures and ways of thinking, meeting and interacting with people who have a completely different lifestyle than your own.

It’s about their traditions, beliefs, loves, foods, hardships, dances, songs, history, geography, and passions. It’s about life itself – and there is far, far more to life and the world than what any of us see in our own backyards, in the little corner of this planet that we are born into.

Neither Shelley Seale nor Keith Hajovsky came from families that traveled much while they were growing up; family road trips were the most of it. When they finally started traveling as young adults — decades before they knew each other — worlds were opened up that they had previously only dreamed about.

Keith: A Serial Career Breaker And Loving It!

I never really had the opportunity to travel while growing up, but even as early as in my middle school years I knew that I wanted to eventually get out and see the world. Then, burnt out on school after finishing my sophomore year in college, I decided that I was going to do whatever it took to backpack around Europe with my best friend. That decision ended up being one of the most important and best decisions of my life.

To save the money I needed for the trip I worked a ridiculous number of hours of hard labor at a box factory of all places and took any other odd jobs that I could find that summer. When September came around my friend and I flew standby to Brussels with the vaguest of plans, our precious travelers checks (no ATM cards back then!), a copy of Let’s Go Europe, and a sense of excitement that I cannot possibly put into words. Before that time I had never been more than 400 miles away from where I was born, and here I was about to backpack around Europe!

That three and a half month trip changed my life forever. The sense of wonder and excitement that I got from exploring different countries and cultures on my own never left me, and I knew without a doubt that travel would always be a big part of my life. Likewise, learning how to adapt to the unexpected while on the road made me much more confident in myself and prepared me for taking other worthwhile risks in life. And last but not least, getting outside of my ‘normal’ life and comfort zone to mix with people with such different lives and belief systems has enabled me to see our complex world in a much more open and understanding way.

Upon returning home from that auspicious trip back in 1985 I eagerly finished school, and I have been a regular career breaker ever since. Sprinkled all throughout my various stints in Corporate America and even after practicing law for a short while I have taken multiple extended trips abroad. From backpacking throughout different regions of the world, including a two year hiatus in Southeast and South Asia, to studying Spanish in Guatemala, to teaching English in Japan, to doing bits of volunteer work, I have taken breaks from work to recharge my batteries and to regain perspective.

And after my last job in Corporate America three and half years ago I decided to intertwine my livelihood even more closely with my love of travel. I simplified my life to give me the time and space to explore different opportunities, and I ended up starting a travel consulting business that has spread into travel photography as well. With my partner Shelley Seale, I co-wrote the book How To Travel For Free (or pretty Damn Near It!), and I likewise became the Director of Overseas Projects for a non-profit organization. Doing these things hasn’t always been easy, but it has certainly been well worth it.

Because travel has changed my life for the better in so many ways, I a firm believer that everyone should take an extended trip at least once in their lives. I can honestly say that I’ve never heard anyone who has done it say that they regretted it later, and at the same time I have heard plenty of people say that they HAVE regretted not taking the time to do it. So if you have been thinking about hitting the road, you really just need to make up your mind and take the plunge!

Keith’s website is Travel Sherpa Keith and you can follow him as @SherpaKeith on Twitter.

Shelley: A Passport to a New World — and Lifestyle

I got my first passport in my senior year of high school, in 1984. Up til that time I had only been to places in Texas and a few surrounding states (New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana) and to Mexico (you didn’t need a passport back then). My high school’s Spanish teacher, Doctora Rodriguez, was organizing a month-long European trip – and that is what I wanted for my high school graduation present. With all my heart and soul, desperately. Many other people would have perhaps thought that was $2,000 that could have bought a car, something longer lasting.

But the truth is that it is the car, or any other thing that could have been purchased with that money, which would have been gone long ago. Now, more than 25 years later, I still have fond memories of my first glimpses of London, the Eiffel Tower and Leaning Tower of Pisa (you could actually climb it then!). I remember looking down from my hotel window in Rome, after Italy had just won a huge soccer match, to see the complete gridlock party in the streets. That trip fueled a lifelong love of travel – and the curiosity and desire for learning that came with it.

 

Over the next 15 years I didn’t travel extensively, internationally. I started a career (my previous career in real estate), got married, had a child. I traveled here and there, but it wasn’t until I took my daughter to France when she was 10 years old that my next phase of life — that of a global wanderer — really began. Within the next few years I began to transition out of real estate, which was a career that sort of chose me and that I wasn’t passionate about, and into a full-time writing career.

I also began to transition my writing around travel writing. I still write about a lot of other topics in addition to travel, such as food, lifestyle, nonprofits, health and wellness — but part of my crafting of a new work life including crafting of a new whole life. See, I came to realize that we shouldn’t have to compartmentalize our lives. Work shouldn’t be some separate thing that you do for 1/3 of your life just to pay the bills. I wanted to create a life that reflected my passions, values, interests and beliefs — and that certainly included travel.

You don’t have to be a writer to do this. There are plenty of ways that people find to earn money on the road or to support a traveling lifestyle. I have several friends who come home and work and earn money (which they save) for months or years at a time, then hit the globe for months or years at a time on that money. Others work their way around the world doing bartending, odd jobs, child care, English language teaching, working on farms, etc. Still others start businesses that can be done online or become consultants who can work virtually from any location.

In today’s world, with the Internet and mobile phones as well as the new workplace norm of more freelancing, entrepreneurship and virtual offices, it’s much easier to make a living, and a life, while traveling. I encourage anyone to follow their dreams in this regard. Yes, it takes time and patience and a lot of hard (but mostly just consistent) work to make it happen. But if it’s really what you want, I promise you — if I can do it, so can just about anyone else!

Shelley’s website is ShelleySeale.com and you can follow her as @shelleyseale on Twitter.

Join us on October 16, 2012 for our nationwide Meet, Plan, Go! events:

Austin | Boston | Chicago | Minneapolis | New York City

San Diego | San Francisco | Seattle | South Florida | Toronto

MPG 2012 San Francisco Host: Kristin Zibell
Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

All of our local Meet, Plan, Go! hosts have inspiring stories of their own career break travels. In the months leading up to our National Event on October 16, we will introduce them to you so you can see why they are part of our team.

Meet 2012 San Francisco Host: Kristin Zibell

On the Other Side are Your Travel Dreams

Recently, at a beautiful sun-soaked wedding in California’s wine country, I met two travel dreamers – they had fully-formed travel dreams in their head. Jay, a tall man with white hair who put the sport in sport jacket, wanted to sail around the world for two years; to take off from the East Coast of the United States and end up two years later on the Pacific Coast. His perfectly-coiffed wife, Liz, wanted to work with animals…a cruise to the Galapagos or perhaps observing Silverback gorillas in Africa.

Their travel dreams were inspired by their son, a former cubicle resident who put in five years at a big five services firm and was now captaining tourist sailboats off the coast of Croatia. I thought that was much more exciting and said so. Liz assured me that he was headed for a top 10 business school in the fall, as if I would be worried that somehow he’d fallen off of life’s map.

I shared with them that I work with an organization that encourages people to do something similar – take sabbaticals for a year or so to travel the world. I had taken my own sabbatical from 2008 and 2010 and it was the best choice I had made. “How did you do that?” Jay asked.

I answered simply, “I left my corporate job, started to travel, worked as a consultant to pay for trips, and came back.”

You just came back? What about your career?” he inquired.

That was it – the big question, what happens to my career after traveling long-term? In working on my blog Takeyourbigtrip.com and with Meet Plan Go!, first as a panelist last year and this year as San Francisco’s host, I found that would-be travelers feel like their career will go into a big black hole if they leave them. I assured Jay that it did not, explaining “I found a job that uses all my skills and made more money than I ever have. My career is my own. I think about what I want my life to be like and shape my work to fit it.”

Not only did my career avoid the black hole trajectory (and so many other long-term travelers will attest to the same), I am living the life that I have always dreamed: a world traveler who’s settled down in San Francisco, working at a job I enjoy, travel writing and blogging, and having fun with an incredible network of friends.

And all that happened because I went in the direction of my dreams and trusted my gut along the way.

Jay seemed partially satisfied with my response and joked that he’d sail around the world and return to the job I promised him after being in the engineering business for 32 years. I smiled, hoping that he would realize that he had 32 years of professional experience and could name his own terms when he returned. After our talk, I sat and reflected on the conversation and realized how much fear of the unknown keeps people in jobs they don’t like and careers that own them. This Rumi quote captures it best:

“Why do you stay in prison, when the door is so wide open?”

My hope is that we all realize that on the other side of departure, are our dreams. It’s certainly what I want Meet Plan Go! attendees to realize after they attend the 2012 event on October 16th.

Walk through the door, on the other side, is your dream trip.

In 2008, Kristin Zibell left marriage and corporate life to begin living her travel dreams. She traveled around the world over the next two years to India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe—volunteering, touring, trekking, photographing and blogging along the way. To pay for her adventures, she used her past life’s professional experience to consult between trips. Traveling long term has changed her forever and now she writes the blog Take Your Big Trip to inspire others to live their travel dreams. After her last big trip in 2010, Kristin chose San Francisco as her new home and travels around the city discovering its treasures with her Treasure Map Project.

Join us on October 16, 2012 for our nationwide Meet, Plan, Go! events:

Austin | Boston | Chicago | Minneapolis | New York City

San Diego | San Francisco | Seattle | South Florida | Toronto

MPG 2012 Boston Host: Lillie Marshall
Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

All of our local Meet, Plan, Go! hosts have inspiring stories of their own career break travels. In the months leading up to our National Event on October 16 we will introduce them to you so you can see why they are part of our team.

Meet Our 2012 Boston Host: Lillie Marshall

Why Taking a Career Break Can Be Great for Your Career

I had just returned to the United States after a year-long leave of absence from teaching to travel around the world. I was unemployed, disoriented, and scared about my future.

Reader, is this what you fear will happen if you take a career break to travel? Read on to see how it turned out.

I squirmed nervously in the hard blue chair in my first job interview since returning to the United States.

I wasn’t going to call you back after you emailed your resume,” declared the director. “I mean, you have a pretty standard teacher background.”

I gulped, saddened.

But,” the director continued, smiling, “then I saw this line.”

She pointed to the words I’d typed under “Experience:”

Circumnavigated the globe for nine months to volunteer, launch two travel websites, and learn.

I grinned. I hadn’t been so sure how that fact would go over.

Remarkable world experience like that is rare,” mused the director, “and it’s something we search for in hiring a 21st century employee. We’d like to formally offer you the job.”

I silently cheered and told her I would get back to her. That evening I received five other responses to job applications I had submitted, all saying the same thing:

“We want you, because you’ve bravely seen the world as few have!”

Ultimately, I chose not to take any of those jobs. My year abroad made me realize how much I loved my former Boston Public Schools teaching job, and I was able to reenter the district in an even better position than I had left, thanks to the fact that I’d taken a leave of absence instead of signing resignation papers before leaving.

In addition to improving up my teaching career, taking a career break to travel has provided exceptional other career opportunities: freelance writing for the Huffington Post, speaking at the opening of the third biggest hostel in America with the Mayor of Boston, leading student trips abroad, presenting at education conferences, and more.

The moral of the story is this: It actually may be worse for your career to stay in your current job than to leave and follow your dreams!

Once you see the world, you’ll reenter the workforce with an almost magical resume, not to mention a new clarity of purpose and perspective.

Go travel! Don’t wait.

Lillie Marshall is a six-foot-tall Bostonian who began solo traveling during her college summers through Latin America. Directly after college, Lillie entered the Boston Public Schools as a high school English teacher and proceeded to teach for six fascinating and intense years.

In the summer of 2009, after much planning and saving, Lillie took an unpaid leave of absence from teaching to circumnavigate the globe. For the next nine months, she had a truly wonderful time sightseeing in Japan and Southeast Asia, volunteer teaching in Ghana, and writing like crazy in Iberia! You can read about the whole adventure at AroundTheWorldL.com.

Lillie is back in her hometown of Boston, totally re-energized in her public school teaching career. Seeing the difference that extended travel made in her career and her life, Lillie has launched a movement through TeachingTraveling.com to inspire and assist more teachers to travel, and more travelers to teach, thus transforming the educational experience of our world.

Lillie is thrilled to now have a career that combines teaching, writing, and travel… and helping guide great people like yourself to make their travel dreams a reality!

Join us on October 16, 2012 for our nationwide Meet, Plan, Go! events:

Austin | Boston | Chicago | Minneapolis | New York City

San Diego | San Francisco | Seattle | South Florida | Toronto

Meet, Plan, Go! 2012 Hosts
Monday, July 30th, 2012

Two weeks ago, we revealed which cities Meet, Plan, Go! is coming to in 2012. Now, we are excited to announce our fabulous hosts! We have many returning hosts and several new hosts. You’ll be able to get to know them more over the next two months, but here is a sneak peek at who they are. And be sure to check out their websites to see why they are excited to be hosting Meet, Plan, Go! this year.

AUSTIN
Shelley Seale and Keith Hajovksy (new hosts)
ShelleySeale.com | Travel Sherpa Keith
Twitter: @shelleyseale | @SherpaKeith
Facebook: How to Travel For Free | Travel Sherpa Keith

Shelley has been traveling for 25 years and Keith has hit over 40 countries in his travels. Together, they wrote a book about traveling as close to free as possible and continue to center their lives on travel. Shelley is a professional writer who does about 50% travel writing, while Keith works as the director of a startup nonprofit organization and runs a tour company.

BOSTON
Lillie Marshall (returning host)
Around the World L | Teaching Traveling
Twitter:@WorldLillie
Facebook:Around the World L | Teaching Traveling

After taking a year-long leave of absence to travel the world in 2009, Lillie returned to her teaching career with renewed energy and focus. Now, she is launching a movement to inspire and assist more teachers to travel, and more travelers to teach, thus transforming the educational experience of our world.

CHICAGO
Lisa Lubin (returning host)
LL World Tour
Twitter:@llworldtour
Facebook:LL World Tour

After working in broadcast television for more than a decade, Lisa took a career break which turned into nearly 3 years traveling and working her way around the world. A three-time Emmy® Award winning television writer, producer/director, photographer and video consultant, Lisa’s writing and photography has been published by the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Smithsonian, Encyclopedia Brittanica and American Way Magazine.

MINNEAPOLIS
Katie Aune (new host)
Katie Going Global
Twitter: @katieaune
Facebook: Katie Going Global

A former attorney, Katie left a job in fundraising and event planning last August to travel and volunteer in all 15 countries of the former Soviet Union. She will return home in September after a 13-month career break that included running a marathon in Estonia, teaching English in Russia and Tajikistan, volunteering with the national tourism board of Armenia, living with local families in Azerbaijan, and trying her best to speak Russian on a daily basis

NEW YORK CITY
Sherry Ott (former host and co-founder)
OttsWorld
Twitter: @ottsworld
Facebook: Ottsworld Travel and Life Experiences

Sherry is a Co-Founder of Meet Plan Go! and is a refugee from corporate IT who is now a long term traveler, blogger and photographer.  Her travels include hiking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, traveling the globe house-sitting, volunteering in India and Nepal, driving 10,000 miles from London to Mongolia for the Mongol Rally and, most recently, walking 550 miles across Spain on the Camino de Santiago.

SAN DIEGO
Elaine Masters (new city and new host)
Trip Wellness
Twitter: @tripwellness
Facebook: Elaine Masters Travel Wellness

Elaine is a travel writer, international scuba diver, award-winning author of Drivetime Yoga and a Yoga teacher. Her podcast, The Gathering Road, airs on the WRN and she has been mentioned in Women’s Day Magazine, San Diego Living and the Huffington Post. One of her favorite memories is teaching Flytime Yoga at 30,000 feet on a flight to Fiji!

SAN FRANCISCO
Kristin Zibell (new host)
Take Your Big Trip
Twitter: @takeyourbigtrip
Facebook: Take Your Big Trip

In 2008, Kristin left marriage and corporate life to spend 2 years traveling to India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Volunteering, touring, trekking, photographing and blogging along the way, she used her past professional experience to pay for her adventures by consulting between trips. She settled in San Francisco in 2010 and writes a blog to inspire others to live their travel dreams.

SEATTLE
Lori Stone (new host)
The Joy Guild
Twitter: @thejoyguild
Facebook: Art Camp for Big Kids

After 20 years in the corporate, nonprofit and technology sectors, Lori began a research sabbatical and career break this year. She is taking time off from contract management work to explore the world around her by leading creative art retreats, traveling, writing, learning, continuing outreach as a cancer survivor-turned-advocate, building communities and – most importantly – having fun.

SOUTH FLORIDA
Jillian & Danny Tobias (new hosts)
I Should Log Off
Twitter: @ishouldlogoff
Facebook: I Should Log Off

Jillian and Danny traveled around the world for 21 months, traversing famous overland routes like Capetown to Cairo and the old silk road. Experts in budgeting and financing your dream, they have been featured by finance and business writers from The New York Times, Sun-Sentinel, and US News & World Report. In 2011, the couple started Doughhound, a budgeting website to help others achieve their financial goals.

TORONTO
Janice Waugh (returning host)
Solo Traveler Blog
Twitter:@solotraveler
Facebook:Solo Travel Society

Janice has enjoyed many forms of travel at different times of life…20-something travel, family travel, and career break travel. As publisher of Solo Traveler, author of The Solo Traveler’s Handbook and moderator of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook, she aims to inspire others to discover the world as they discover themselves.She has spoken at The Smithsonian on solo travel and has been quoted in many media outlets including CNN, the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, LA Times and USA Today.

Join us on October 16, 2012 for our nationwide Meet, Plan, Go! events:

Austin | Boston | Chicago | Minneapolis | New York City

San Diego | San Francisco | Seattle | South Florida | Toronto

To be the first notified when tickets go on sale this fall, sign up for our newsletter.

Declare Your Independence
Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

In honor of the 4th of July, we invite you to declare your independence from the cubicle. And we are helping you by bringing Meet, Plan, Go! to a city close to you!

We are coming this October 16th – bringing all of our best advice, how-to’s, resources, and inspiration which will ensure you finally take that career break you’ve been dreaming of. Our veteran career break travel hosts are busy getting the best speakers and travel authorities in their area to provide everything you need to get you out of the cube and on the road.

Just see what some of our attendees from last year had to say:

“Going to the 2011 Meet, Plan, Go! event was more than I expected. To be around so many people who want to travel and to talk to and listen to people who have indeed traveled in bigger ways than I had considered was mind-opening and thrilling.”

“For the person thinking about long-term travel, there is no better event. And the people we met were fantastic.”

“It took a ‘dreaming’ project so many have in the back of their minds, and breaks it down tino pieces to become a ‘going to happen’ project!”

“For anyone who expresses interest in a career break, or long-term travel, this is a’10’, and I might even say it should be required.”

“I was able to network with numerous different people in the travel industry at the Meet, Plan, Go! event, from bloggers, to travelers, to tour guides. It was informative and very inspirational.”

We are happy to say that we have many attendees from last year’s event who are now out on the road experiencing their own career breaks. And we can’t wait to inspire more career break travelers at this year’s event on October 16, 2012!

So where can you attend a Meet, Plan, Go! event this year?

Austin | Boston | Chicago | Minneapolis | New York City | San Diego | San Francisco | Seattle | South Florida | Toronto

How and when can you learn more?

Make sure to sign up for our newsletter to get the first updates on hosts, speakers, webinars, topics and most importantly…tickets!

What do you want to learn? We are laying out the topics now for the event but we’d love to hear from you and what YOU want to hear. Hop on over to our Facebook page and let us know what you want to t to learn most about career breaks so we can include your requests as we plan the agenda. Click on our Notes or simply use this link to enter your ideas.

(Not in a Meet, Plan, Go! location? You can also find expert advice, tips, and resources in our online course & community.)

Career Break Guide Table of Contents