How to Travel As a Couple on Career Break
Monday, May 19th, 2014

Warren and Betsy Hiking the Lycian Way in Turkey. Travel is a real test of a relationship!

How will your relationship fare during a career break? It’s easy to romanticize the entire thing, thinking your trip will play out like the couple version of Eat, Pray, Love. Even though reality is not quite as easy or predictable as the movies – thank the travel gods! – our friends and career break veterans, Betsy and Warren, say you can plan on a stronger, healthier relationship by the end of your career break by setting just a few ground rules and expectations.

Betsy and Warren Talbot first began planning their career break in 2008, and in 2010 they set off to travel the world (after hosting the first Seattle Meet Plan Go event!). While on their career break they began writing about their experiences and lessons, and it eventually spawned their own publishing business of books, courses, and a weekly podcast. Their career break actually led them to a brand-new career!  We’ve actually featured a number of their books on Meet Plan Go as they are great resources for career break planning, teaching you how to save money, get rid of your stuff, and overcome fear of making big changes in your life.

Now that they’ve been living, traveling and working together non-stop for four years, we wanted to ask them some specific questions about what they learned, and they sat down on the terrace of their new home in Spain to reveal some of the insights from their new book, Married with Luggage: What We Learned About Love by Traveling the World

Here’s what we covered:  

  • Travel actually strengthened your relationship – why is that? (0:25)
  • How did you handle the planning stages as a couple?  Did someone take the lead or was it shared responsibility? (1:23)
  • How do you make decisions as a couple when you travel? (2:25)
  • How do you manage when something really goes wrong? (4:25)
  • What one new thing did you learn about each other once you started traveling?  (5:33)
  • What tips do you have for spending 24/7 together as you are traveling? (6:48)

Popup_MWL_FinalWhat’s next for these two? They are taking a 12-city tour of Europe by train to mark the release of their latest book, and they are calling the whole trip An International Love Affair. Follow along at Married with Luggage to see what they uncover about love and romance as they ride the rails this summer.

And if you want an inside peek into the evolution of a marriage on the road, check out their 5-star rated book, Married with Luggage: What We Learned About Love by Traveling the World.

The Naysayers
Thursday, August 8th, 2013

A group of career breakers future and past meet in Seattle at a local meetup

No matter what it is that brought you to the decision to take a career break, it’s important to keep reminding yourself what that motivating force was.  You will meet naysayers along the way, trying to get you off course and doubting yourself and your choices. There will be people telling you that are ruining your life. Telling you that your life will never be the same. They’ll say things like:

  • “You’re going to ruin your career, you know?”
  • “Why don’t you just wait until you retire?”
  • “It’s not safe to travel where you’re going.”
  • “Must be nice to be rich.”
  • “That’s the worst thing you could ever do for your kids. How selfish.”
  • “You’re traveling for a year with your wife? Good luck not killing each other.”

And while the statements above may infuriate you, they are right about one thing. Your life will never be the same. If you decide to take charge of your life and take back your time, things will change. If you decide to truly make your dreams come true, the person you are right now, this second, will change. And it will change for the better.

While the detractors like to think that you’ll end up in a gutter somewhere if you dare veer off the path set forth for you by society, chances are the opposite will happen. You’ll come back from a break like this more open-minded, more willing to try new things, more outgoing, more able to adapt to change, more motivated, and more confident than ever before. Life as you knew it before your career break will be but a distant memory.

Eliminating Negative Human Influences

Crafting your environment is not only about surrounding yourself with people of similar mindsets and goals, it also means that you may have to change your relationship with people who don’t support your goals. There will be people in your life who don’t understand why you are doing this – then what do you do?

Simple – ditch the haters. OK – maybe it’s not that simple. What if they are friends or family? You don’t have to disown them – but consider not sharing this part of your life/plans with them. As long as you have other supportive people to share with, then you simply can change how and what you engage with the non-supportive people about.

Katie Aune shares how she handled the reaction of unsupportive friends and where she found a new support system to lean on.

Remember – staying motivated and achieving goals is about surrounding yourself with supportive people. One of the most important things you can do in order to stay motivated and moving towards your goal is to craft your environment to be supportive.

Where to find people in your community:

• Meet, Plan, Go! Events: We hold local events in a handful of cities  – check out our calendar and see if you can join in the Career Break conversation with people in your city. You can fill out a traveler profile over at and meet other long term, career break, and around the world travelers!

• Search for “Travel” in your town/city and see if there are any groups meeting in your area. If you didn’t find one in your city, then you can start your own – it’s simple to hold your own meet-up group.

• Travel Massive: A global initiative to connect people in the travel industry locally, bringing together travel bloggers, brands, startups and socially engaged travelers

• Couchsurfing: A worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the local communities they visit.

Non-Human Influences

BOOKS: Here are some of our favorite career break and travel-related books.

• Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

• The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett, Amanda Pressner

•  The Career Break Traveler’s Handbook by Jeff Jung

• Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau

• Escape 101 by Dan Clements and Tara Gignac

• Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim

• Reboot your Life by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, Jaye Smith

Have you ever come across Naysayers when talking about your career break?  How did you handle it?


The Ultimate Travel Tips
Thursday, April 11th, 2013

We all know that the internet is a cluttered place of information — some good and some bad. Here at the Meet Plan Go! Career Break Headquarters we are always trying to weed through it all to bring you the best nuggets of information out there so you are fully prepared for your travels, armed with tips and advice from those who’ve done it before you.

One of our very own, Chicago host, Lisa Lubin of, has just released a brand new eBook called: The Ultimate Travel Tips: Essential Advice for Your Adventures

If you’ve been dreaming about that career break, but are still apprehensive, Lisa’s book is full of info and tips that will put you more at ease and show you how much easier this kind of trip is than you think!

Summary from Amazon:

Have you ever had the urge to chuck it all and travel the world? Or maybe you seek less-permanent adventures but still want to experience something new. Whatever your travel dreams, author and LLWorldTour blog founder Lisa Lubin encourages you to take the leap. After all, that’s what she did! After more than a decade in broadcast television, she quit her job and sold everything to travel the world and chronicle her adventures on her blog. In her eBook, “The Ultimate Travel Tips: Essential Advice for Your Adventures,” Lubin offers readers practical advice on how to save money, pack well, and make connections in new countries. Through her personal stories, you’ll learn tips on packing, dealing with money (saving and spending), getting around in foreign countries, finding the best food for the money and adjusting to cultural differences.


“Once you are out on the road, first things first: Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy it. This is your time. A lot of the planning is done and now you can just be in the moment. If you are traveling long-term, you will fall into a rhythm and your old chores or to-do list will be replaced by little tasks like finding somewhere to do your laundry or booking your next hotel. Try and travel slowly if you can. The slower you go, the more money you will save (less transport costs) and the more local experiences you will have. Sticking around for a couple weeks or more allows you to immerse yourself more and meet the locals. Meeting people from all over the globe is the best part of travel… besides the tasty food! Getting to know folks from a different place and culture will create memories and stories that you will never forget. Be open to trying new things. You will find yourself doing things that you might never do at home. Jump in. Say “yes” more and you will be amazed at what you learn about the world … and yourself.”


What to Do with Your Stuff
Packing (with packing list)
How to Save Money for Travel
How to Save Money While Traveling
How to Find Cheap Airfare
How to Find Affordable Accommodations
Credit and ATM Cards
Getting Around
Traveling Solo, But Never Alone
Adjusting to Foreign Locales
Parting Thoughts

Buy it here on Amazon today!

About Lisa

Lisa Lubin is a three-time Emmy® Award-winning television writer, producer/director, photographer and video consultant. After more than a decade in broadcast television, she decided to take a sabbatical of sorts, which turned into nearly three years of traveling and working her way around the world. She documents her (mis)adventures on her blog,, with photographs and articles from the road/train/rickshaw/camel. Her writing and photography has been published by the Wall Street Journal, American Way Magazine, The Malibu Times, Chicago Tribune, Latina, Smithsonian, Encyclopedia Britannica, and the Huffington Post. She also runs LLmedia, a video consulting business.
Lisa has been featured on WGN-TV, Good Morning America,, the and in the Chicago Daily Herald and the NJ Daily Record.

Lisa teamed up with Whole Foods, REI and Hostelling International for several “Travel & Food” lectures. She also hosts the Chicago portion of the annual national “Meet, Plan, Go!” event, encouraging working Americans to take career breaks and sabbaticals. She has spoken about video and journalism at several conferences, including the Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX), the World Travel Market in London, and “Visit Russia 2012” in Yaroslavl.
Lisa loves cheese and kittens, but not together.

How to Save Money for Travel
Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

We hear from most career break dreamers that finances are the biggest hurdle in fulfilling their dream. Well, Dream Save Do is here to help.

Dream Save Do

Accepting change is hard. Most people don’t have a choice – when the world changes, they eventually have to change with it. But actually making change, creating it from your own idea or desire for an end product – that’s improbable for many. Creating changes in your life that aren’t dictated by society or a particular person can seem as challenging as climbing Mt. Everest or say… starting a career break movement in the US.

But change has to happen if you want to save money to accomplish your career break travel dreams, or any dream for that matter. Warren and Betsy Talbot know this.

They are experts at making change in order to achieve their own travel dreams. That’s why I was excited to hear that they wrote a book to teach others how to save enough money to travel. The ebook, Dream Save Do, is not simply about saving money for career break travel; it’s about saving money to accomplish whatever dream you have. It’s about how to make change in your life; how to take control of your finances & mindset in order to achieve goals.

We met Warren and Betsy in 2010 as they were preparing for their three-year career break and they agreed to be our inaugural Seattle Meet, Plan, Go! hosts. They have now been traveling for one year and have decided to turn their three-year planned career break into a location independent lifestyle. In Dream Save Do they took the processes they used to change their lives to create concrete steps that apply to everyone, so that others can do the same. And they continue to track every dollar spent on their travels at their Around the World Expenses Blog, which just shows they practice what they preach.

Saving money isn’t rocket science. It’s willpower and the ability to make change in your life. There is no way to get rich quick, just as there is no effective way to lose 20 pounds in a week and keep it off. The eBook provides concrete ways to save money, change your life, and provides you the inspiration you will need in order to follow through. They even have a guarantee or your money back offer! Woven among the concrete steps is their story of how they did it; the successes and the failures, the a-ha moments and the tears. It’s theory put into practice.

The Book Covers

Dream: Defining your Dream, Creating Dream Porn, Determining the cost of your Dream, and Setting a Date

Save: Create the Vault, Calculate Current Spending, Resolving Credit Card Debt, Creating your Phrase to Save, Cutting Expenses, Revising Spending Habits, Where to ‘Find’ Money, Performing a Monthly Review

Do: Publicizing your Dream, Screwing up and Getting Back on Track, Learn to Handle Peer Pressure, Planning Your Holiday Spending, Enjoying the Saving Success

Special Tools: Videos on Credit Card Debt Reduction from Man vs. Debt, How to Sell Your Junk To Make Cash, List of Online Resources

The Takeaway

My take away from the book was how to:
• Achieve goals
• Create change in your life that you and others can be excited about.
• Look at our consumption-based society differently
• Look at how we live differently
• Achieve goals (yes, I know I said it already, but it’s such a strong message in this book. If you don’t like to achieve goals, then don’t get the book – you will be disappointed.)

As I read through the guide, I highlighted things that really spoke to me such as:
• “We were trying to let money dictate our lifestyle instead of the other way around.”

• Focus your saving effort on a small but easily visualized segment of your overall figure. For travel goals – that can be the cost of a day on the road. Then use it as the ‘Phrase to Save’ – “Is that (insert item/service you want to buy) more important to you than a day on the road?”

• “There is never a perfect time to do anything in life, including a budget, and you have to be ready to make it the right time. This lifestyle requires action, and if you aren’t ready to commit to action it won’t do you any good to finish reading this guide. Be ruthless. This is what it takes to save large amounts of money in a short period of time. It is not a forever way to live, but it is a way to get ‘happily ever after’ sooner than ever imagined.”

• “A budget is limiting only in your spending. Your imagination has no limits.”

• “You’ll be disciplined, creative, and confident in your ability to reach your goals, and life will be an ever-evolving series of challenges and wins as you think better, dream bigger, and learn that money is a means to an end, not the end itself.”

Why Should You Buy This Book?

Because the first thing we hear from all ‘want-to-be’ career breakers is – “You have to be rich to take a career break – right?” And it’s normally followed by “How much does it cost?”

People’s biggest perceived hurdle to a career break is financial. Now we’ve just given you a way to shatter that perceived hurdle and understand how you personally can save money and take the career break you are dreaming of.

No more excuses.

Buy Dream Save Do today.

What’s your dream you want to save for? Please share in the comments!

The Ultimate Tech Guide for Travelers
Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

The Ultimate Tech Guide For TravelersIf you plan on hitting the road for extended travel, chances are you are going to take at least one electronic device with you. From cell phones, digital cameras and video cameras to eReaders, iPods, and laptops, chances are your electronic devices may be the heaviest items weighing down your pack.

One of the concerns that you don’t want weighing on your mind, however, is how to protect not just your physical items on the road, but your personal information as well.

That is where “The Ultimate Tech Guide for Travelers” can help. This eBook is packed full of extremely useful information from someone who really knows his stuff – Anil Polat, aka foXnoMad. Before setting off to travel the world with his adorable pets by his side, Anil was a computer security consultant. And through his websites, he offers information on the best ways and gadgets vagabonds can use to stay in touch, save money, and make the most out of any vacation.

In “The Ultimate Tech Guide for Travelers”, Anil walks you through the various ways you can accomplish just about anything you want from a laptop or electronic device from anywhere in the world.

Among the topics, you will learn:


  • Which laptop is best for you if you choose to travel with one;
  • How to create a good backup plan, which is robust, automated and physically separate;
  • How to obtain free software that can provide you with tools to edit photos, learn languages, and stay in touch among others;
  • How to navigate the wireless landscape – know before you go;
  • Helpful security tips to keep your items safe from physical theft and your online content and passwords safe from hackers;
  • And useful tech tools to help save on travel costs.

You may not think this will help you but you may also not imagine the possibility of your computer crashing, devices being stolen, your private information being hacked at an internet café, or the possibility of not being able to access important online information that may be blocked in certain countries.

And these tips and more are designed not just for safety but to save you money as well.

The best part? With purchase of this eBook, you will also receive 6 months of free personal tech support from Anil as well as a year of free updates. That in itself is a fantastic value for just $37. And we can speak from personal experience. When you face an issue like your site being hacked or run into a coding issue, there is no better person to have on your side than Anil.

You can find more tech advice from Anil on Tech Guide for Travel and Travel Blog Advice.  And follow him on Twitter @foxnomad

And read our review of his other eBook “Overcoming the 7 Obstacles to Traveling the World”.

Editorial disclaimer: We are an affiliate member of Anil’s books and receive a percentage of sales if purchased through our site. We only join affiliate programs of products that we believe in and support.

The Joy of Less
Monday, December 6th, 2010

The Joy of LessI’ve undergone many changes in my life thanks to travel. However one of the greatest changes I’ve experienced is the change in my weight; the weight of my possessions. I’ve gone from a 1,000 square foot Manhattan apartment to 2 suitcases and a small closet sized storage unit. This downsizing wasn’t necessary to travel, but it was something I wanted to do to feel lighter and more flexible.

Many people who are planning an around the world trip typically go through a purge process; sometimes it’s motivated by money, and sometimes it’s motivated by the fact that they are going to sublet their place and put things in storage. Whatever the reason, when you are standing in the middle of your living room full of stuff, it’s hard to know where to start.

That’s where Francine Jay, Miss Minimalist, comes in. She’s the Wonder Woman of simplicity! I just finished reading Francine’s book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life and can happily recommend it to anyone looking to downsize their life, their home, a room, a closet, or a to-do list. She covers it all with a very simple, effective process called STREAMLINE.
S – Start over
T – Trash, Treasure, or Transfer
R – Reason for each item
E – Everything in its place
A – All surfaces clear
M – Modules
L – Limits
I – If one comes in, one goes out
N – Narrow it down
E – Everyday maintenance


Negotiating Your Sabbatical or Career Break
Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Negotiating Your SabbaticalNot everyone is lucky enough to work for these companies…the companies that understand the value of unplugging from your career and taking a sabbatical. There are many people who love what they do and the challenges of their career, but they feel burned out. They feel if they don’t step away from the position for a bit, they may lose the love for their job. Most of these people don’t feel like they have any options.

This is where Barbara and Elizabeth Pagano come in. They are teaching people how to negotiate a sabbatical with their company. This mother-daughter duo are no strangers to sabbaticals. They took their own sailing career break; learning new skills, and getting some much needed time away from the 9 to 5.

Barbara and Elizabeth’s typical 9 to 5 is – a firm that partners with businesses to deploy programs that attract, retain, and accelerate top talent through the use of structured leaves of absences.

However, through their eBook Negotiating Your Sabbatical, this time they are working directly with the employees – helping them lay out a plan to ask for and be granted time away for a career break or sabbatical.

The book walks you through the steps to going in and having ‘that’ conversation with your boss. All the bases are covered:

  • Building the foundation
  • Creating the proposal
  • Engaging in negotiation

In addition it includes an appendix which houses templates and Q&A.

Their advice? Don’t be spontaneous! Yes – you heard me right. Don’t decide at the spur of the moment to talk to your boss about a sabbatical, your chances of succeeding are about as likely as the US embracing healthcare reform. What this book teaches you is to plan, prepare, and practice asking for a sabbatical. Sabbaticals aren’t whimsical, they are serious. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun on your desired sabbatical, it simply means the conversation with your boss should be serious!

The book states:

“The most meaningful sabbaticals are planned ones, with specific goals and objectives – even if one of those goals is simply to recharge.”


Art of Non-Conformity
Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

I’ve always been someone who strives to be different, stand out, and be unique. Back when I had my very own drab cubicle walls I tried to decorate them to make them less gray, sad, and boring. I had a small coral colored card I always hung next to my computer monitor that simply read:

“Conform and Be Dull”

Yet the irony was I was staying in a job I didn’t love, depriving myself of my real passions so that I could simply be like everyone else and fit in. Fit into my company, fit into New York City, fit into my parent’s expectations, and ultimately fit into society; my life was all about conforming.

As you read in Steve’s post “Notes from a Briefcase” earlier this week, over the last 4 years I have broken out of that life of conformity and really followed my passions. And guess what – I’m surviving, and happier than ever. Steve also is happy doing his corporate job which takes him all over the world, but provides him a regular paycheck as well as stimulates him. Everyone has different things which make them happy, but the key is – live the life YOU want.

AONC Book SigningI stumbled upon Chris Guillebeau’s blog a few years ago; he writes on unconventional strategies for life, work, and travel. He espouses the message of ‘you don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to’ and ‘work should be fun and meaningful’. I felt as if he had been eavesdropping on my inner thoughts and desires. In many ways it speaks to the Briefcase to Backpack mentality; you don’t have to defer your desires and wanderlust until retirement, why not set your own rules and put career break in your vocabulary. I signed up for his newsletter and have been following him ever since.

Chris recently moved beyond bits and bytes and became an author; his book The Art of Non-Conformity was released in September. The book goes into more detail on how you can go about setting your own path, your own rules, and find your purpose in your career and life. It covers the idea that career and life don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Sure – that’s easy to say; we all strive to spend our time doing things we love, but something stops us from doing that; normally it’s the expectations of others and our own desire to conform.


The Lost Girls: Book Review
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The Lost GirlsThe Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World. Or as we like to call it here at Briefcase to Backpack – a career break.

One of these Lost Girls shared with us the struggles she faced letting go on the road: Amanda Pressner – Losing Myself on the Road. And now with the release of the book, we are able to learn much more about her career break experience, and those of her fellow travelers Jennifer Baggett and Holly Corbett.

Whether they were running away from something (Jen), searching for something (Amanda), or seeking adventure (Holly), The Lost Girls took a leap of faith together and ventured off on a global journey that took them to South America (Peru & Brazil), Kenya, India, Southeast Asia (Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia) and Oceania (New Zealand, Australia).

Like many career breakers featured on our site, The Lost Girls were on the expected path in life, but questioned whether or not that was the right one for them.

“As we rocketed toward the next major stage (the one involving mortgages, marriages, and 2.2 children), we all wondered: Were the paths that we were heading down the right ones for us – or were we simply staying the course because we thought we should? Was the road most frequently traveled the one that we wanted to follow?”

They hoped that life on the road would help them gain the perspective they were looking for.

What is fascinating about the book is how we are able to delve into their hearts & minds and how the same journey is interpreted & experienced in three very different & unique ways. The Lost Girls do a great job of sharing their experiences – including the struggles & triumphs, the ups & downs – while still maintaining their individual voices. Not only do they guide us through their actual travels, but they open up to how each experience was affecting their own internal journeys.

The Lost Girls

Jen, Holly, and Amanda - aka "The Lost Girls"

And by sharing their thoughts and feelings about each other demonstrates the power of having a support system when taking such a huge risk in life – whether that is one on the road, back home, or both. Though it’s not always easy to travel long-term with one partner, let alone two, they were able to utilize each other’s strengths throughout and lean on each other during their weaknesses.

For the armchair traveler or workaholic, their story may be unique. But it fits right in here at Briefcase to Backpack. They touch on the circumstances that brought them to this point, the steps they took in planning & preparing, and even a glimmer of their reflections afterwards.

But the main crux of the book covers life on the road – and not just climbing Machu Picchu, volunteering in Kenya, surviving the trains in India, and bungy jumping in New Zealand. But also the struggles they faced letting go of their careers, loved ones, and sense of identities in order to gain new insight into themselves.

As they learn, the road doesn’t always have the answers to the questions you seek, nor will it serve them up on a nice silver platter. But by the end of this journey they realized that it wasn’t over, and lessons learned would only serve as guides as they navigate through the next steps of their lives.

Something every career breaker should embrace.

The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents.
One Unconventional Detour Around the World

Released May, 11, 2010 (hardcover) | April 26, 2011 (paperback)
Order now!

Paperback price: $9.75
Kindle price: $9.99
Hardcover price: $16.49

Favorite Books: My Travel Journals
Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

[singlepic=1563,325,,,right]These days many people who venture off on RTW travels tend to keep a blog. Whether it’s to keep in touch with friends & family or share their experiences with other travel dreamers, blogs have become a common place for detailing trips.

In addition to blogs, it’s just as important, if not more so, to keep a handwritten travel journal, especially if you are embarking on a trip for self-exploration such as a career break.

Blogs are great for sharing details of your hike up Machu Picchu and the crazy street food you tried in Cambodia, but a journal will allow you to open up more about what those experiences meant to you in your journey for self-discovery. And even in this day of sharing just about every aspect of your life online, there are moments that you will want to keep to yourself.

In her book, Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler (Travelers’ Tales)Lavinia Spalding offers advice on using your travel journal to help you through personal development, starting with even the most basic of steps: selecting the ideal journal and writing device for yourself.


Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go