Posts Tagged ‘top_feature’

How to Get Started Blogging on Your Career Break
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

A BLOG’S LIFE – Part 1

Sherry Ott talks with David Lee of GoBackpacking.com & Travel Blog Success on why you should blog about your travels & other useful tips on how to get started. (Runtime – 13:14)

A formal apology for the audio quality of this interview! We conducted this interview between Colombia and Belgium and the Skype internet Gods were not with us that day! We’ve tried to transcribe the main points below!

  • 1:05 – What should people consider when they want to blog about the travels– For family and friends – still post on a regular basis
  • 1:55 – Making money from the experience requires more effort. Recommend start 1 year before you leave if possible.
  • 2:30 – What’s the difference between blogging for fun and blogging for money?– Fun = Can be less formal and go with the flow, consistency not as important- Money = Very important to establish a schedule and stick to it
  • 4:30 – What’s the best time to start a blog?– Dave started his 11 months before he left home. It helped him find his voice and style. The more time the better.
  • 5:14 – The readers like to read about the preparation. It’s important to document the steps you are taking so people can use it as a resource.
  • 6:10 – What do you need to start a blog– Access to computer and internet connection!- For casual bloggers you don’t need to bring your own laptop- WordPress software is free and can be found at www.wordpress.org– Dave’s recommendation!- Buy your own domain name. This is important if you want to blog for money.
  • 8:29 – How do you build a cohesive blog?– Think about what your niche or topic is. This helps you build an audience.- Incorporate photography. Provides an easy visual experience. Breaks up the writing and helps expand your audience.
  • 10:12 – What would have you done differently?– Spend a bit more money in the beginning to start out with a professional theme (frontend to wordpress). People will take you more seriously with a theme and it helps to attract advertisers. $75- Spend money on a domain name $10- Spend money to host your blog $75

A BLOG’S LIFE – Part 2

David Lee shares with Sherry some of his favorite travel blogs as well as some skills you can learn in advance of your journey that will enhance your blog. (Runtime – 9:13)

  • :56 – What are the elements of a good blog– Everything Everywhere is very honest and open about what he writes. Posts a Photo of the Day also. Good at forecasting trends that are happening.- Two Backpackers include HD video into their blog regularly (not an easy task!). Honest writing – they tell it like it is.- Backpack with Brock – Film student who blogged solely in HD Video. (If you want to do this – make sure you have some experience editing.)
  • 4:06 – Content is the most important. Being honest, using photography or video.
  • 4:52 – What do you recommend to do before you go to prepare?– Photography lessons- Travel Writing class
  • 6:12 – Travel Writing/photography tip – Take pictures of small moments you come across when you are traveling and not only the landmarks.
  • 7:45 – Don’t be intimidated, it’s not highly technical.

Resources Referenced by David Lee:

 

Making the Leap
Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

I’ve had a camera in my hand since I was a child, introduced to photography by my dad. My sister and I grew up with his Bronica ever present, despite our “Daaaad” (with whiny tone) protestations. I’m glad he persevered because we now have a priceless archive of thousands of slides showing our family and the countries we grew up in from the 1960s to the 80s when my sister and I left home for college.

I love photography. I love the process of creating a photograph: visualising the final result, making the shot, developing the film (yes, I still shoot on film) and then coaxing the final image out, gently shaping it during the printing stage. I also love being outdoors and walking. Mick (hubby) is also into photography, which makes things much easier. We focus on landscapes and wildlife.

I’ve had a day job as a project manager for 25 years. The thought of completely walking away from the corporate world and becoming a full time photographer has come and gone many times over those years. It hasn’t been practical, but as I trundle to work year after year, in the same zombie-like state as the thousands of other black-clad corporate commuters shoving their way off of train platforms and onto London Underground Tube platforms, my soul rebels.

Now, finally, we’re calling time on that life, even if only temporarily. We’re launching our On Your Doorstep photographic project which aims to (1) celebrate the great British landscape and (2) encourage people everywhere to get out and see the natural beauty that’s around them. For more information, check out our blog.

So, Mick, Bea (the dog), and I are packing our tent and heading out for a while. I can’t wait! We have some broad thoughts about where to go (The Lake District in England and various locations in Scotland), but we haven’t made any firm plans beyond the first week. The sense of freedom from not having every day mapped out is tremendous!

That’s not to say planning isn’t required; ours just focuses on what we need to stay warm, safe, and healthy rather than travel logistics.

Research

  • We’ve researched places that look interesting all over Scotland. We probably won’t get to them all, but it’s good to know. where we stand a good chance of getting the kinds of images we want. We’re also banking on local knowledge and lots of exploring to find hidden gems.
  • We’ve ordered a selection of good walking maps (Ordnance Survey).
  • I’ve found a couple of darkroom(s) in Scotland where I can at least make contact prints while we’re away, otherwise I’ll drown when we get back. Mick, being all digital, only needs to worry about having enough space on the external backup drive.

Packing

  • We have a well-worn packing list with everything from tents to smaller items like salt and pepper in the cook box (I love cooking).
  • British weather can be unpredictable, so we’re packing for cold, wet, snowy, sunny, hot and windy
  • Sturdy walking boots and good trekking poles go without saying.
  • Our emergency kit with compass, whistle, foil blanket and much more is ready. Every year the weather strands hikers walking the munros, even in Spring and mostly they’re not prepared.

Health

  • We’ve packed bug juice for midge season in Scotland as well as aspirin, bandages, antiseptic wipes, bandaids, etc.
  • We’ve ordered extra supplies of our prescription meds.
  • Bea has had her check-up and vaccinations, and we have tick treatments to take away.

Home

  • We’ve arranged house sitters.
  • We’ve arranged for our mail to be held at the Post Office while we’re away.
  • Our bills are all paid automatically; our bank’s great iPhone app allows us to manage our money.

Keeping in touch

  • Our website and blog are up
  • A Google custom map, embedded in our blog, will allow family and friends to follow our journey. You’ll find us on our website or Twitter @Thurmanovich.

This “just go” approach isn’t for everybody. We’ve quit our jobs, so we don’t have any guaranteed income to come back to; we’re making this our opportunity to really get our photography business going. We can supplement our income with temporary work where we need to, and even if we have to go back to “day jobs” for a while, the new business will have benefitted from some undivided attention at the crucial start-up phase.

Sometimes you have to close one door before another can open.

Baby Boomers Are Going Places
Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Yep. It’s official. My unofficial wandering research project has proven that Baby Boomers are going places. To conduct this unscientific and completely biased investigation, I simply chatted up any Boomer who complained during our cruel winter—which happened about a million times. The results are staggering. Here are the top three findings.

They’re tired of home work

A big chill like so much of the country has endured causes problems. Ice dams become roof rot and leaks. Shoveling breaks backs. And falling icicles may impale slow-moving mid-lifers. Summer, meanwhile, brings little labor relief with yardwork, painting, patio projects, and more. And as for fall and spring? More maintenance—and who really likes raking or spring cleaning?

So it’s little wonder an alarming number of people have said to me, “I’m tired of my house; I’m starting to think about a smaller place or a nice, little condo.” My heart aches, frankly. After all, some of these folks still have a kid or two at home—or host college offspring during breaks and summers. It seems so soon to empty the next.

Not to mention: Some of these homes were once the Dream of a Lifetime. I’ve assisted with teardowns, architect plans, art procuring, landscaping, sauna designs, and (for those near water) boat chores (my job is packing the cooler). But many Boomers now dream less about walk-in closets—and more about walking away from honey-do weekends.

It’s true: Homes suck up life’s two most precious commodities: Time and money. As more Boomers realize this, I predict a mass-nomadic shift from spacious abodes to modest hovels. Expect a McMansion-bubble crash, complete with Millennials (the ones not still living at home) replying “lol” when offered 5,500 SF at fire-sale prices.

They’ve had it up to here with crappy weather

In Minnesota, we believe we’re been grandfathered-in to gripe about the weather since Ole Rolvaag wrote Frozen Giants in the Earth and Laura Ingalls Wilder penned Little Igloo on the Prairie. But this year left many folks speechless—and not just in the upper Midwest. After all, NYC had 55+ inches of snow. Atlanta became a skating rink (and car-crash capitol). And oranges froze in Florida; few states escaped winter’s wrath.

So where’s a Boomer to go? Not surprisingly, many have begun ponder snowbirding in Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica. Some say Australia. Others simply scream, “Anywhere but here!” FBOW, many in my study seem unmoved by Florida, California, and other congested, Paradise-Lost locales. This could get interesting.

They really, really want to travel

Fingertip research verifies the travel hunger: Boomers spend $157 billion per year on it and list it as their #1 leisure activity. Surveys find they’re warming up to the idea of spending their children’s’ inheritances (literally) on cruise ships to Alaska and Big Breaks to Big Island, Napa, and Sedona.

So, no: It’s no longer about just gambling on Vegas or golfing in Phoenix. Boomers on the move dig ecotourism, volunteer vacations, adventure (hiking, biking, sailing), multigenerational journeys, passion pursuits, and other ambitious experiences. They’re looking outside of gated resorts and resolving to make it real.

Samplings from my wandering research: One couple will celebrate his 50th by finally taking their first trip to Europe (I’ve helped convince them to stay longer, visit fewer places, and budget more); another is planning a fly-in fishing expedition to Canada for three generations; a nurse is committing one month to help in Haiti.

Profound things happen as you age. Like, you realize you won’t live forever, so you better stop filling up your bucket list and start fulfilling it. Like, you see how each decade takes a physical toll so you can’t count on Kilimanjaro-climbing in your 70s.

Like, you realize you’ve likely worked your brain off, worried about others, and shoveled snow for about as long as you can remember. So, yeah, you deserve a BreakAway.

And that goes for you non-Boomers too!

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.

Photo credits: GlacierNPS, all other photos courtesy of the author and may not be used without permission.

Boomers Know: Vacations Waste Time!
Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Did you know that Americans left 577,212,000 unused vacation days on the table last year? Now THAT’s a stat to be proud of! And since Baby Boomers still comprise 31% of the workforce (despite that the youngest of them is 50), we owe them a big thanks for their outstanding live-to-work ethic! 

It gets better. 49% of Boomers intend not to retire until they’re 66 or older. And 10% say they’ll never retire at all! And to think we’re wasting online ink here trying to promote career breaks? The average employed American takes only 10 days off—and refuses to use the remaining 4. We’ve got 144 million workers; you do the math! 

So let’s stop this balderdash about the beauty of breaks, retirement (temporary or otherwise), and time off. Let’s dispel some myths about this nirvana-utopia that one allegedly lands at when, say, you pack your bags and fly to Vietnam or Cabo or San Fran or wherever.

Myth #1: Vacations offer rest.

This, of course, is poppycock—since vacations stress the already over-stressed routine, require months of planning, days of packing, and hours of travel—and often on jets with bad air, dangerous food (if any at all), not to mention seats the size of one butt cheek. Once “there,” simple but essential acts like procuring Pizza Hut and finding a decent toilet can be a chore. The R&R happens when you finally get home and collapse back into your harried life. 

Myth #2. Vacations are affordable.

You kidding me? You gotta buy gas to drive anywhere, if only to the family cabin. And what about sandals and straw hats and Tommy Bahama shirts for the cruise or beach? Plus airfare and sleeps? Better to save your hard-earned cash for more important things, like big vehicles, Fleetwood Mac reunion tickets, and the newest iPhone.

Myth #3. You meet interesting people.

Nonsense! Vacationers (and the people who serve/sell to them) are unrealistic dweebs who like to set aside sanity for careless silliness. Take this guy. I recently met him while vacationing (gasp!) on St. John. He entertains lazy grinners and diners, makes guitars out of cigar boxes, and has been mastering his own musical style for years. Poor guy. He could have been a banker in North Dakota and gotten rich on the oil boom. 

Myth #4. You bond with family.

Yeah, so what? Who doesn’t get enough family—especially Boomers (who have had to deal with them for decades). Why make sandcastles with your grandkids when you already spent the holidays spoiling them? Stay home and stay tuned in and turned on. Find some Gilligan’s Island reruns and pay close attention to those hemorrhoid-remedy commercials! 

Myth #5. Vacations encourage exploration.

Ya sure, you can leave your comfort zone and go swim with man-stinging rays or climb rocks. But those are slippery slopes—and you could get your eye poked out. Stay on the job, I say, and keep up with your BookFace and Social Security and GetIntoMe accounts (when the boss isn’t looking). There’s SO much to explore in the office and online! 

This topic grows more vital daily—as frozen Americans fly recklessly away for warm “escapes” to potential doom and destruction, and others begin to ponder summer BreakAways. 

But you know better, right? Good! So stop dreaming. Stop scheming. And stop saving your money. Thank you!

Now, get back to work. 

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.

Connect With Other Like-Minded People
Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Meet, Plan, Go is all about community.

That was the whole idea behind its creation. We knew we weren’t the only ones who wondered if there was something more out there to life than the 9-5 grind of work.

Throughout our existence, we have met loads of other people and companies who share our same passion of the value of career breaks and long-term travel, and we want to continue to make and foster new connections.

Meet, Plan, Go and BootsnAll have worked together on a number of projects over the years, including the 30-Day Career Break Planning E-Course launched in 2013.

In less than two weeks, on April 1, BootsnAll is teaming with Dani from Going Nomadic to launch a new community building project that we wanted to share, called 30 Days of Indie Travel Art Project.

We thought this might be right up the alley of career breakers as we know many of you are looking for something different – a new avenue of expressing yourself and possibly finding or rediscovering a new passion.

You probably already have a love of long-term travel or else you wouldn’t be here, and if you are also the creative type (or want to become the creative type), then this project is for you!

The Details

Each day for the entire month of April, BootsnAll will offer a new prompt having to do with long-term travel. Anyone is encouraged to join and participate as much or as little as you want.

Each prompt is meant to inspire your post, art, video, photography, or however you choose to express yourself that particular day.

No matter where you are in the blogging world – established blogger, just starting out, or somewhere in between – we want you to participate!

This might even be the kick in the pants you need to get a blog started if you’ve ever thought about it. You’ll have 30 new content ideas by the time April is up, and you’ll have a community to connect with and get feedback from.

How to Join

BootsnAll will post a new prompt each day, and you can receive them in a number of ways:

  1. Sign up for the Daily Dose Newsletter to get prompts delivered to your email each morning (at 10am EST/7am PST).
  2. Check out the articles page or the BootsnAll home page each morning (a new article with that day’s prompt will be posted at 6am EST/3am PST).
  3. Check their Facebook page for the prompt each day.
  4. Check their Twitter feed for the prompt each day.
  5. Bookmark this page as the new prompt will be added to it each day.

After receiving the prompt and creating your response, tweet it to BootsnAll with the hashtag #indie30. They’ll be reading all submissions and creating weekly round-up posts with their favorites.

The goal is to blog each day, but it is not a requirement to do it daily or even on the day a prompt is published. Do it on your own timeline and respond to the prompts that speak to you most!

We love to connect with like-minded career break travelers, and if you have any questions or comments, leave them below.

Packing Tips from Career Breakers
Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

There are endless packing lists and tips on the Internet – and they are a great place to start – but we find that no matter how much advice you are given or receive, it will really come down to personal choice.

So you won’t find any lists here, but but you will hear tips on what worked for us and some of our career break vets.

Minimalist Packing Advice

For career breakers, one of the hardest things to do is imagine what life is like living out of a single suitcase for an extended period of time. This means leaving behind many things. So we asked Francine Jay, aka Miss Minimalist, to provide some ‘minimalist’ packing advice.

  • Bring a travel clothesline, and travel packets of laundry detergent. These two simple items will save you tons of space in your suitcase. The more often you wash, the less clothing you’ll need to lug around!
  • Use packing cubes. Life on the road is much easier (and more organized) when you don’t have loose stuff rolling around in your suitcase. I think of my packing cubes as “drawers,” and use them to keep like items together. If space is at a premium, you may want to consider compression bags.
  • Don’t pack stuff you can buy on the road. For example, bring only small quantities of toiletries, and simply buy more when you run out. I have fond memories of shopping for toothpaste in Tokyo!
  • When it comes to clothing, versatility is key. Pack items that go from daytime to dinner, or can be dressed up with accessories (like a scarf or necklace). Favor items that can be layered, so they’ll work in a variety of climates. And choose your shoes wisely, so that you can get by with one pair (or two at the most!).
  • For winter travel or colder climates, pack silk long johns. They’re extremely lightweight, take up next to no space, and eliminate the need for bulkier clothing. You can even wear them as pajamas in a pinch!

Career Breaker Must-Haves

No matter how many times we say “no really, you don’t need to pack everything!” people don’t seem to listen. So we asked some of our career break vets to tell us what things they can’t travel without. You might find some surprising items!

MICHAELA POTTER

Michaela shares why carabiners, a head lamp, and her journal are the three things she never leaves home without.

KIRK HORSTED 

Ever think a frisbee was an essential item to pack? It is for Kirk, and you may become a believer too! Hear why he loves packing a frisbee, plus ear plugs and his Swiss Army knife.

LILLIE MARSHALL

If you are packing something that only has one use – leave it behind. Hear why from Lillie.

SHERRY OTT

Sherry shares some of her packing tips along with the items she doesn’t leave home without.

LISA LUBIN

Lisa shares her profound love for her laptop and the other items she doesn’t leave home without, including a raincoat, watch, and packing cubes.

What items do you think you can’t leave home without?

 

Don’t Be Too Scared to Follow Your Dream
Thursday, March 13th, 2014

I am often asked what the impetus was for my sailing journey.

Truth be told, I’ve always been drawn to water, from my youth growing up on Lake Michigan to my travels along the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. I started taking sailing lessons in my early adulthood, but something ‘more important’ always diverted my attention away from sailing (e.g. work, more work, relationships, shiny silver things, etc). It wasn’t until the last dream I was living (moving to New York City and establishing a career) had long since become a reality and had left me feeling stuck, that I began craving a new adventure.

I seriously began considering the possibility of a global circumnavigation in 2008. I had been chartering sailboats with a childhood friend, Mary Davenport Cook, who was ‘living her bucket list’ after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. Mary taught me to enjoy the moments and pursue a dream while I was able.

I enjoyed traveling and taking in the great outdoors in the comfort of my temporary ‘sailing home’. I welcomed the simplicity of sailing, needing only to take along the essentials, leaving everything superfluous behind. I felt a meditative sense of calm and connectedness while on passage. Time would stop. Life was clarified. Everything seemed to make sense. I wanted more of this experience, and thus my new dream was formed.

At first, I was too fearful to follow my dream

I thought that I would jeopardize the career that I loved and had taken so long to build and that I could not afford to undertake such an adventure. I thought that my friends, colleagues and family would think I was crazy and irresponsible, and that I would fall flat on my face. It was only when the fear of not following my dream became greater than all of my other fears that I decided to ‘lift anchor’.

None of my fears materialized. In fact, quite the opposite occurred.

In 2011, I resigned my position (and was subsequently offered an 8-month leave of absence) to earn my RYA Yachtmaster Offshore certification and cross the Atlantic Ocean as crew in the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers).

I returned to work in 2012 to successfully deliver the biggest project of my career.

In 2013, I started my second ‘sailbatical’ to cross the Pacific. I am currently in Hawaii having sailed here from Isla Mujeres, Mexico via Florida, The Bahamas, Jamaica, Panama, The Galapagos, and French Polynesia (Gambier, Marquesas, Tuamotus and Society Islands) – over 11,000 nautical miles in ten months.

2014 promises more adventure as I head to New Zealand from Hawaii via the Society Islands, Cook Islands, Niue and Tonga. I will return to New York for work in 2015 unless the ‘wind’ takes me in another direction.

There is much more to this story than I can include here, but to summarize, I am amazed how everything came together once I decided to go for it. Even apparent glitches (failed relationships, health issues) along the way turned out to be blessings in disguise and actually supported me on the journey.

Living my dream is not always unicorns and rainbows – sometimes it can be a real nightmare. However, even at its worst, it is much better than sitting around wishing I was living my dream.

If you want to incorporate sailing into your career break, you may want to take one or more of the steps that I did:

Aloha and Bon Voyage

Lisa Dorenfest has an unquenchable passion for sailing and a dream to circumnavigate the globe on a sailboat. She has taken a series of breaks from her career as a Project Manager to realize her dream one ocean at a time. Having now sailed over 20,000 + nautical miles in 14 countries, Lisa has learned to enjoy life’s moments and believe in the possibilities. You can read more about Lisa’s sailing adventures on her website and follow her on Twitter.

Career Break Travel Myths
Monday, March 10th, 2014

Career Break Myths

Excuses, excuses, we’ve heard them all. And they are all there to rationalize your fear and result in keeping you cemented to the life you think you have to live.

Myth #1: “It’s too expensive, you must be rich”

You don’t have to have a trust fund; it is possible to take a break if you don’t have much money saved. And it’s certainly possible to save money in order to take a career break no matter what your circumstances. In fact, it’s never too early to start.

Some people plan and save for several years and you can also get travel costs from those who have come before you. A key place to start is to determine roughly how much you will need to travel around the world. You may realize that you may have to change some of your spending habits, but if you really want the career break bad enough, you will find a way to start saving. It’s about priorities.

If you are ready to hit the road sooner than later but don’t quite have the budget you’d like, you may want to consider working and living abroad as part of the adventure. Just ask Lisa Lubin who worked her way around the world while she was taking a break from her television producer job. Though keep in mind it is a break – so don’t let the work aspect consume all your time!

Myth #2: “A gap on my resume will ruin my career”

A career break doesn’t equal career suicide. In fact, it will even help your career. You will build skills you can put on your resume such as confidence, patience and smart risk-taking. And a break will allow you the time to reflect on where your career is to date, how it may have gotten off track, and how to refocus on what it is you really want to do. Just read what Michael Bontempi had to say about his three month break and how it improved his career.

Brian Peters advises that “It’s also important not to burn any bridges as you leave one job or career for another. The same people you work with now will be your best points of contact if you decide to come home and look for work. If they like you and trust you, they will keep their eyes and ears open.” That is exactly what helped Bill Peterson find a job in two short months in the Semiconductor industry that he left for his 14 month career break. During those months, he kept up on industry news and worked to keep his network alive.

Myth #3: “It’s not safe to travel abroad”

The reality is that we live in a society that focuses so heavily on the negative (especially in the news), so safety is a valid concern when traveling abroad for any length of time. But most places are only as dangerous as the situations you place yourself in. “Like many places in the States, as long as you keep your wits about you and make smart, common sense decisions (keep an eye on your stuff, don’t wander off down a dark alley alone or go to notoriously bad neighborhoods at night), you’re likely going to be just as safe abroad as you are at home,” says Jennifer Baggett.

For many women, safety may be their biggest concern. But just look at all of the women traveling, like Barbara Weibel of Hole in the Donut, Janice Waugh of Solo Traveler, Marie Elena Martinez of Marie’s World, The Lost Girls, and Sherry Ott of OttsWorld. Of course it’s not a bad idea to reference the US Department of State International Travel Information, but note that if you look at the US Travel Warnings, be sure to compare them to warnings from the UK, and Australia for other world perspectives.

Myth #4: “I can’t travel because I have a family”

We can tell you without wavering that it is possible to travel with family. It’s just that you may not personally know anyone who has taken a career break with their family and traveled the world. Let us introduce you to Rainer Jenss who took his family around the world. Or the Cooney’s who pulled their 3 sons out of high school for homeschool and an education of world travel. Or Family on Bikes who took the ultimate biking trip on the Pan-American Highway from Alaska to Argentina with their 2 boys.

Remember, for every myth out there, there is someone who has dispelled them. You may not know them personally, but know you are in amazing company.

How My Career Break Became My Career
Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

In 2009 my husband and I had a very typical American life. We both had 9-5 cubicle jobs, owned a house, a car, and a whole bunch of other stuff. We were on track: bigger house, bigger car, promotions, and, eventually, retirement.

But I was miserable. 

I’m not knocking that life path, but the truth is I tried it, and it wasn’t for me. A bigger house wasn’t going to make me happy and neither was a promotion. I’d always dreamed of writing for a living, and I wanted desperately to travel the world, but somewhere along the line I’d set aside my dreams to chase a very traditional model of success. 

At first, I felt that I was crazy for even thinking about giving everything up that I’d worked so hard for in order to chase a dream. Then I felt guilty and selfish for being unhappy with the life I had when so many others seemed so desperately to want it.

Who was I to want more? Why couldn’t I be happy with what I had? 

And then there was my husband, who I knew wasn’t exactly jumping for joy in his paper-pushing cubicle job, but who also wasn’t longing for a life of creativity and adventure in the same way that I was. How could I ask him to give up the life we’d built? What would he possibly think of my deeply held desires for a different sort of life? 

It’s hard to express this all in a few hundred words when I could fill a book (and have!) with the emotions we worked through and the actions we took to turn this dream into a reality. When I first breached the chuck-it-all-and-travel idea to my husband, he was surprised and skeptical, as you might imagine. But over time he came to believe in the passion and purpose I felt about following my dream. When it came down to it, he saw that the risk might reap great rewards, and even if it didn’t, we could always go back to our old careers. We knew we were resourceful and would not spend the remainder of our lives jobless and homeless (though it was a fear, believe me). 

Over time, my husband warmed to the idea. And then the unexpected happened: the enthusiasm he saw in me as I chased my own dream got him thinking about what he wanted out of his own life. There was a time when he wanted to work outdoors and teach people about the natural world. He’d even briefly gone to school to be a park ranger. Why had he given up on it? 

So we leapt. We were terrified but exhilarated all at once. 

For the next 20 months we visited 20 countries on 5 continents. We swam with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands, trekked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, climbed mountains in the Himalayas, drove a rickshaw through India, walked across Spain and bicycled through Vietnam. We met incredible people and learned more than we could ever have imagined.

And somewhere along the way we realized that our lives had been transformed, irreversibly, forever. 

My writing career is growing stronger every day, and last September I published my first book, called Life On Fire: A Step-By-Step Guide To Living Your Dreams. I wrote the book for everyone standing on the cusp of a gigantic dream. I know you are terrified and questioning things. But you are not alone. My book gives you the skills and inspiration to navigate the road to your dreams. Believe me, the journey is worth it.

My husband and I would still be traveling today if it weren’t for an unexpected opportunity that came our way. We’ve been hired, as a team, by Backpacker Magazine to travel around the U.S. giving presentations about backpacking skills, gear, and travel destinations. It’s the sort of job we never would have been qualified for had we not followed my dream, and the new job fits perfectly with Brian’s re-discovered dream. 

We never could have guessed the twists and turns of life that have lead us to where we are today. And we have no idea what will happen next. The possibility and potential of our future excites me every day. Where I could once sit down at my cubicle and picture the next 30 years of my working life, I now sit down at my computer each morning and know that there are a lifetime of adventures and stories out there with my name on it. I can’t wait to live them. 

Kim is a writer whose took a career break in 2012 and never looked back. Her book, Life On Fire: A Step-By-Step Guide To Living Your Dreams is available on Amazon here.  You can read all about her journey on her blog So Many Places.

 

 

 

 

Faith Vs. Fear: Boomers Speak Out at Meet-up
Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Monday night, about 40 travel lovers gathered at Ginger Hop in Minneapolis to swap stories and secrets. A panel of four experienced career breakers took on the topic of “Faith Vs. Fear: The Career Break Face-off.” And Yours Truly served as Mr. M.C. Moderator. A good time was had by all!

After a social-lubrication hour, we had all attendees introduce themselves, tell about their career-break experience (if any), and mention the primary fear standing in the way of their fantasy BreakAway. The fears were mostly familiar, yet the Boomer’s concerns were sometimes surprising. Here are a few, plus my comments…

“I’m afraid that prospective employers will think I’m coming out of retirement.”

This came up more than once, and honestly had never crossed my mind before. But it seems totally legit, right? Picture someone half your age named Ms. H.R. Authority perusing your resume and sniffing, “You turned 62, took a year off to live in Peru, and now you want to go back to work? Really!?!”

“I’m worried about stopping contributions into my retirement savings—and spending money I may need later.”

That’s a smart worry. And we Americans are big spenders (who often forget to save in our early decades). But as we age, most people gradually come to their savings senses. My 2-cent retort remains: Wouldn’t you love to take one year of your retirement now—even if it means working one year longer later?

“I’m concerned that I might have health problems.”

Again, so real. Fortunately, one panelist had recently returned from an ambitious one-year travel-athon—despite having diabetes and needing to carry refrigerated insulin and give himself shots four times a day. Full disclosure: He was in his 20s. Yet his story inspires regardless of your age. And other folks reflected stories of getting good—and often cheap!—care in almost every country.

“What if my family needs me or my parents get sick or die?”

That’s a tough one. And as Boomers are learning en masse, some serious things happen as you age: Responsibility. Caring. Illness. Death. But why not talk to your parents and kinfolk and ask their opinion? They might just insist you go. They may even visit! And remember: If something bad happens, you can go home again. 

“I’m just not sure I have the energy.”

Travel can be exhausting, no doubt. Yet there are as many ways to travel as there are people to get up and go—and the words “slow travel” came up often last night (including by young whippersnappers). A sleepy fishing village may be just the ticket; climb every mountain in your next life. On the other hand, maybe a Big Break would recharge those tired batteries and get you off your Boomer butt!

After all, is there anything more energizing than stepping out of your stale routine, landing in a cool new scene, and jump-starting the rest of your life?

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.

Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go