2011 Recap: Contemplation

This past year we are thankful to all of those career breakers who shared their contemplations & dreams with us. And in case you missed any, here are the highlights of those who are in the process of fulfilling their dreams or already have.

What is the American Dream?

Mehdy Ghannad of The Hostel Life shares with us the journey his father took from Iran in order to pursue the American Dream and how he is now pursuing his own American Dream.

What is the American Dream? The first person that comes to mind in pursuit of my answer is my father.

My father immigrated to the United States in 1965 at age of 21 from Tehran, Iran with only two hundred dollars to his name. To my own surprise I only recently asked him this question, “Dad why did you take such a leap of faith with hardly any money in your bank account?” Before he could answer the question, my father had to put everything in context for me. In doing so, he had to begin by explaining the environment that he lived in at the time in Iran. Continue…

Beware Responsible People – Embrace the Crazy

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

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

Teaching Traveling: Inspiring Teachers to Travel

“Why should we care if teachers follow their travel dreams or not? Here’s one reason: if we teachers are telling students they can and should follow their dreams… shouldn’t WE do what it takes to follow our own travel dreams as well?”

Wise words from our MPG Boston Host Lillie Marshall, who followed her dream and took a year-long Leave of Absence to travel around the world after 6 years of teaching in Boston Public Schools. But that dream almost didn’t see the light of day.

“Part of what nearly stopped me from taking a Travel Leave of Absence from my job as a public school teacher was guilt. ‘What will my students do without me?’ I wondered, worry gnawing at my stomach. ‘How can you do this to us?!’ wailed my coworkers when they found out about my impending Leave of Absence. ‘Do you realize how much you leaving will screw everything up?’” Continue…

Quality of Life Priority Number One

Matt GoudreauAfter his five month career break with his now fiancée, Matt Goudreau sees how that time helped them set both their life and work priorities.

It all started on New Years Day 2009. After two months of dating, my ladyfriend Shara and I made an impromptu decision to celebrate our upcoming birthdays in London and Paris, which would be my first big international trip.

So, one month later, we went. We ate, drank, saw the sights – loving every second of it. You could say we caught the “travel bug.” At that point we had a similar revelation: we were merely content with our jobs; the word “happy” was never used. She being 29, me 31, and both kid-free, thought it was the ideal time to take a leap. Like many other dreamers, we wanted to leave our jobs and travel the world. Easy decision, tougher reality. Continue…

A Life Changing Year Ends Full Circle

Abby TegneliaAfter losing her job and spiraling into debt, Abby Tegnelia found herself living in a small Costa Rica village for a year. It was the life change she needed to recharge and fall in love with her career all over again.

The logistics of how I ended up living in a small pueblo in Costa Rica for a year were a happy accident, one small step that led to another, leading me to the life change that I so desperately needed. I had been a workaholic. But that lifestyle started to wear on me, leaving me impatient and unhappy, confused as to why the magazine career I had always wanted had left me wound so tight, yet empty.

I lost my job in October 2008, and my world seemingly ended. Like so many other career-focused men and women, I had let my identity forge itself to my career. I was my title. And then it was gone. It was a long time before I could get out of my lease and put a stop to my expensive bills in Los Angeles. I dove into debt, something I’d worked so hard to never do. Still, I did not reach out to every contact I had or pound the pavement looking for a job. Continue…

Worried What Others Think of Your Career Break Plans

headacheWe hear it often that one of the biggest decisions career breakers make is when do they come out of the “career break closet” to family and friends. A big concern is that they won’t be supportive of the decision – and not everyone will be. So how do you cope with that? Katie recently “came out” to her family and friends and shares with us their reactions and how she has dealt with it. (We can now share that this is Katie Aune of Katie Going Global).

How long have you been planning for and what inspired your career break?

I have always loved to travel, but usually in 2 weeks stints. The idea to take a break and travel for several months first popped into my head about 5 years ago when I was thinking about leaving the practice of law and changing careers (possibly a career in travel). It was a very fleeting thought and I didn’t think about it again until about 3 years later after I had gone through a tough breakup, become disillusioned with my second career and realized I just wasn’t that happy in Chicago. I started thinking about moving back home to Minnesota and decided to take the summer of 2010 off to travel before finding a job in the Twin Cities. Continue…

Supporting a Career Break Dream

Kim and BrianKim Dinan and her husband Brian are planning an around the world trip in 2012. They’re currently in the process of planning, packing and preparing to see the world. You can follow their journey on their website So Many Places.

I’ve followed a very traditional career path. I graduated college and spent a year as an AmeriCorps volunteer before landing my first job in 2004. I moved across the country and settled in Portland, Oregon where I began climbing the ladder in my field. In 2006 I changed employers. In 2008 I changed again. With each new job I acquired a larger salary and more impressive title.

In March of 2008 my husband Brian and I were hiking in the Oregon backcountry. It had been a long, gray, Pacific Northwest winter and we were feeling disillusioned and unsatisfied. As we hiked we discussed a big, looming life question “Isn’t there more to life than this?” Continue…

The Anticipation of a RTW Trip

Venice, ItalyIt’s common to experience a variety of emotions in the weeks leading up to your career break departure date. In the two weeks before Val Bromann departed on her career break, she still didn’t feel like it was her trip that she was about to depart on. She shares with us the emotions that she experienced before departing earlier this month.

People keep telling me that Berlin has good currywurst. A fact that would appeal to me if only I enjoyed eating sausage. Besides that, I don’t know anything to do or see or eat in Berlin. When, in February, I booked a plane ticket there I figured that I had plenty of time to sort such things out. But now it’s June and I’m leaving in two weeks and have hardly picked up a guidebook. Life happened, work happened, extreme procrastination that haunted me throughout 20 years of school happened.

And I now have two more weeks to figure out everything I’m going to be doing for the next year. Berlin is just the first stop of many, each I’m less prepared for than the last. Continue…

Consulting to Pay for Long-Term Travel

kristin zibellDon’t think you have the funds to take off and travel the world? Feel like you are chained to your job for financial stability? Consulting could be the answer to both of those concerns. Kristin Zibell, the author and editor of Take Your Big Trip, a web site dedicated to helping would-be travelers live their travel dreams, shares how she made consulting pay for her travels and how you can too.

My career break to travel wasn’t planned, but once started, it lasted two years and took me to 16 countries across four continents. I’m not independently wealthy, nor have some secret to blogging success that others haven’t figured out. Instead, I used 10 years of professional experience to sell myself into short-term consulting gigs during an economic downturn and pay for long-term trips to India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Continue…

If Not Now…When?

In 2004 Jane Stanfield discovered an idea for an extended international trip that had her totally entranced. At the same time, she learned that when you ask a question and are serious about finding the answer, the universe complies.

I came on the topic of volunteer travel from an article entitled VIRTUOUS VACATIONS. As an avid volunteer and international traveler, it sounded like a perfect fit for me. The dilemma was I had no idea how to do it. As I focused on the trip, a little voice in my head kept chanting “if not now, when?”

When taking a class – Volunteer Vacations – Traveling on Purpose at Colorado Free University, I MET someone who had some of the answers. Next I began reading Transitions Abroad, a magazine about living, teaching, and volunteering abroad. Then I attended a local Earthwatch event about international volunteering. Now it was time to narrow down my options and figure out how to pay for it. Continue…

Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go