Past Career Breaker Voices
On Monday we shared some inspiring feedback we’ve received from recent career breakers, so we felt like it was a good time to look back and revisit some of our past career breakers. For those new to the site, you may not have heard their inspiring stories yet!
[singlepic=1409,175,,,right]Angie Kalousek shares with us how choosing to take a “Leap of Faith” and venture off on a two-month career break in Europe affected her life.
Prior to my career break, I had traveled quite a bit, which I suspect is what gave me the bug. I’d spent time in most countries of Europe, Russia, Chile, Thailand, Israel, Australia and Costa Rica…and of course the more proximate Canada and Mexico. I also have visited roughly half of our 50 states…but I don’t really consider that traveling.
I think the past experience traveling was really beneficial in that I knew how to “tone down” my American-ness…which goes a long way with the locals. Always be gracious by learning at least a few phrases in the local language – and smile a lot. I would have to say that as much as my previous travel prepared me for my trip, corporate life did little to prepare me. Maybe that was why I was going – to learn something new.
[singlepic=1454,200,,,right]In 2006 my husband and I sold our house in Chicago; quit our jobs; hung up our tailored suits; and spent eight months on an adventure of a lifetime. We backpacked (only three pairs of shoes) and limited ourselves to one 14kg backpack each. We traversed 25 countries on four continents that included 25 flights, 46 bus rides, 12 boat trips, 11 trains, and multiple other modes of transportation including a pedi-cab my husband peddled himself in India and a donkey in Petra. Our journey allowed us an opportunity to see parts of the world many don’t ever have the opportunity to see. I couldn’t even spell Uzbekistan let alone tell you where it was located before our trip!
[singlepic=1476,175,,,right]Dominique Doron took a 2-month career break in the beginning of 2009. She shares with us how she adapted to life in Ghana and how it became a reaffirming experience for her.
ADAPTING TO A NEW CULTURE
I was somewhat prepared for the cultural differences of an undeveloped country, but hadn’t thought about how it would affect the passing of time, being productive, and general organization. Getting places took forever, mail and packages often weren’t received, taking a child to a doctor’s appointment meant waiting in line all day, and various tribal languages made for difficult communication, even in an English-speaking country.
I was also surprised by how oppressively hot it was. I prefer warm, tropical climates, but I wasn’t prepared for the unusually high heat and humidity and how it would affect my energy and mood. The people were very friendly and welcoming, but I was surprised by how resistant they were to progressive or westernized ideas.
I was most surprised by how quickly and easily I adapted to a new culture. I expected the transition to bucket showers, no indoor plumbing, and rice three times a day to be frustrating. However, I quickly learned to embrace the differences, while being creative and resourceful.
[singlepic=1487,250,,,right]In June of 2009, Marc and Danielle Hoffmeister completed a 9-month trip through the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific and Asia with their daughters Hannah (11) and Olivia (8) – which they chronicled on their travel blog: 4Suitcases. They took the time from readjusting to life back in Texas to answer some of our questions about their experience.
What made you decide to take a career break and travel with your family?
Danielle: There wasn’t any one thing in particular, it was more of a gradual realization that our secure and stable life wasn’t completely fulfilling.
Marc: Yeah, we were definitely stuck in a rut. I realized I was spending way too much of my time driving in traffic or staring at a computer screen and not enough with my family. The kids were in a rut, too – spending too much time at school doing mindless busy work or preparing for tests and not enough time really learning and growing. I decided something drastic had to be done!
[singlepic=1587,275,,,right]Amanda Pressner is one of The Lost Girls, three twenty-something New Yorkers who ditched their media jobs in 2006 to embark on a yearlong, round-the-world journey in search of adventure and inspiration. Amanda shares with us how she found self-fulfillment not through a successful career but through travel. You can read about her adventures with Jen and Holly on their blog, The Lost Girls, as well as their book The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World. which was released in May 2010.
I can still remember staring at a bizarre, other-worldly reflection of myself as I zipped up the skirt on a black Ann Taylor sale-rack suit just before heading out the door for my first-ever internship interview. My hair had been yanked into some sort of severe French twist and I was wearing matching black pumps that I probably thought made me look older and more professional. Realistically, I probably looked like I was my way to a funeral.
Perhaps to some degree, I was.
Back then, as my teens were transitioning to my twenties, I simply assumed that becoming an adult meant the death of childhood, a sacrifice which would require me to toss out the flip-flops and frayed jeans I’d worn growing up in Florida and totally abandon my carefree ways of being. No longer would I ditch class to hit the beach with my girlfriends, watch sunsets over the rim of a rum runner and sneak back home just as morning rush hour was starting for somebody else. Now was the time for me to dive into that very rat race, to begin a new the chapter of my life. It was time to get a real job.
[singlepic=1654,250,,,right]David Lee’s path to a life of travel started with a job layoff. And after spending 20 months on the road, David is still keeping the travel spirit alive through GoBackpacking, MedellinLiving, and Travel Blog Success. He shares with us his career break experience, including some great preparation advice.
What made you decide to take a career break?
My first unofficial career break occurred after a layoff. I suddenly had the free time to reflect on how I’d lived in my early 20’s, and spent my money. I realized backpacking was not a part of those years, and committed to making my next job a means to travel around the world. Ultimately, I chose to save money to spend on experiences, rather than material wealth or a new home.
What was your travel experience like prior to your break?
Aside from family trips when I was younger, my first backpacking trip abroad was a Summer spent in Europe after college graduation. I started off with a few of my best friends, and when they went home after just a few weeks, I stuck around to explore on my own, developing a newfound sense of independence and self-reliance in the process.