5 Travel Editor Tips for Career Break Re-Entry
Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Day-to-day cubicle doldrums didn’t motivate me to take my career break, instead it was an inspiring interview for a travel-related job. While I didn’t get the position I still remember what the interviewer said to me: “If you want to travel, then travel.”

I can’t picture being where I would be today if I had not taken the leap and simply booked a flight to New Zealand. While smart financial decisions and pre-entry planning made returning easier, it was ultimately a positive attitude and helpful support from others that prepped me for the adventures that have followed.

1. Start with your strictest budget and finish without being in debt.

Whether your budget is hotel- or hostel-sized, adjust your expectations early on. It’s much easier to start and stay frugal instead of splurging on luxury and whim in the beginning and then trying to scrap together a few dollars for a cot later. By buying a cheap car that also served as our closet and pantry, we were able to see every corner of the country by camping and tramping (including many of New Zealand’s famed Great Walks). So what if we passed on the 90-second thrill of a bungee jump and a little room service.

After hanging out with broke backpackers who had resorted to fruitpicking, and briefly trying to land temp jobs in Wellington, we decided on our trip’s motto: “Working is for Suckers.” But this made it all the more important that we sold our car instead of taking a loss. After 10,000 km and a few afternoons hustling at car markets, we got back nearly all of our $1,000 investment. As those Kiwi kids say: Sweet as!

2. Know the power of networks and support systems.

I’ve never liked the term networking. It always seemed cold and corporate to me. But it’s well worth planting the seeds for your return in advance as these things take time to grow. It’s amazing how much goodwill and good info you can get by asking contacts to share their experience and demonstrating your industry knowledge. And as tempting as it is to leave the office with a grand speech in a blaze of “Working is for Suckers” glory, burning bridges is never a good idea.

After an enthusiastic welcome by our loved ones, friends and family also offered opportunities that made a big impact. Accepting an aunt’s loaner laptop made freelancing easier while everyone had good advice and contacts to share.

3. Use the time to figure out what’s important to you.

I love that the average person will change careers five to seven times. Even my mom “still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up.” When I took an extended trip (a career break?) before getting a “real” job, I had time to catch up with some reading and really think about my future. And it was my love of books that led to an editorial job in New York City. Later in New Zealand, I began to plan how I could get more travel in my work. While I had experience that included writing a camping guidebook, most travelers today have a blog to highlight their own interests and adventures.

When I was fortunate enough to get an interview at Fodor’s Travel, my passion for travel was an asset. While other potential employers might not be quite so understanding, do you really want to work for someone who doesn’t understand career breaks?

4. Expect some things to change – and others to stay the same.

While I did have the option of a leave of absence, it was important for me to go in a new direction. It wasn’t all different though, as I had kept my affordable apartment and returned to many familiar things.

But not all change is under your control. While part of our life had been paused, the lives of our friends and family continued. For some, three months passed in the blink of an eye, while others were in a dramatically different place.

5. Don’t let re-entry worries end your trip early.

Plan some fun things for your return but don’t check e-mail every day or you’ll already be back mentally. For me, it definitely helped to come back to some exciting summer plans.

Before coming home, I was especially excited for a week stopover in Tahiti for one last chance to relax before reality. There was one last surprise that the trip had for me though, as my boyfriend got down on one knee at the base of a waterfall. Yes!

Cate Starmer is the Online Editor at and a career breaker. She looks forward to returning to New Zealand with her husband Aaron to complete all of the Great Walks (and maybe bungee jump).

Re-Entry Roundup: Meet, Plan, Go! Hosts
Monday, August 8th, 2011

We’ve recently been featuring many of our Kick-Ass Meet, Plan, Go! hosts to show you why we are excited to have them on board. Collectively they have some great experiences to share from their career breaks that will inspire you – both before and after your own career break.

Here’s a round-up in case you missed any of them!

Was Your Career Break a Job Killer?

There are some career breakers who turn their travels into a new career path. But for most, like our Seattle hosts Paul & Christine Milton, they knew they wanted to go back to their careers.

“Let’s face it. Most of us aren’t witty travel writers and we’re not glamorous TV stars. We’re not going to spend the rest of our lives traveling the world, submitting creative blog posts or poignant documentaries from exotic distant lands. Of course there are those doing it, but they’re the minority in the global travel community.

The travel community is made up of people like you and me. Most who mark the calendars, strap on a backpack and look forward to scuba diving, mountain trekking and passport stamps are the temporary traveller. We’re able to take 3-12 months and head out into the world – seeking to learn about the unknown in other countries, and deep within ourselves. Sooner or later, the trip will come to a conclusion and you’ll be back in the job market, nervously anticipating sitting across the table from a prospective employer in an interview.

Was your trip a waste of time? Was it a job killer? Honestly . . . no.

Paul & Christine offer some great advice on working your career break into interview questions.
Join Paul & Christine at our Seattle event.

Following the Imperfect Career Path

JoAnna HaugenIn college, did you feel pressure to pick just the right major in order to start that perfect career path? So did our Las Vegas host, JoAnna Haugen.

“Resumes begin in college, so I majored in a broad and widely defined field, and I minored in a foreign language and international business. I studied hard, held offices in several student organizations, paid my way through school with scholarships and graduated with honors and an emphasis in international studies. All of these things were meant to prepare me for the perfect career. You know, the career where my skills were needed and appreciated, where my creativity was coveted and where I could scoot right up the corporate ladder while collecting hefty bonuses along the way.”

That perfect career? Not so much. So what career path did JoAnna take?
Join JoAnna at our Las Vegas event.

Re-Entry is a Whole New Journey

Smith family in ArgentinaThink your career break is the biggest challenge you’ll experience? Re-entry and reverse culture shock is a challenge and journey all unto itself. Just ask our San Francisco Host, Sarah Lavender Smith.

“About a year ago, our family experienced the shock of re-entry when we moved back home after nearly a full year of traveling around the world. Our big house felt so oversized, and the four of us felt so natural being close together after months of sharing small spaces, that we spent the first night huddled in sleeping bags on the floor of one room.

The thoughts swirling around my head back then included, I don’t want us to move back into our own rooms and separate offices, where we’ll be out of eyesight and earshot of each other. I don’t want to unpack our household stuff and fill up this space with things I no longer feel we need. I don’t want to lose our closeness and feel stuck in one place. I don’t want to go back to work, and I have no idea what we’ll do for work…

How have they settled in?
Join Sarah at our San Francisco event.

Following Someone Else’s Dream

What if the career break dream isn’t yours but your partners? Do you take the chance and say yes to join them? That’s what happened to two of our hosts.

Lisa Niver RajnaOur Los Angeles host, Lisa Niver Rajna was just a couple of months into dating George when she said yes to joining him on a trip to Fiji. And while in Fiji, he presented the idea of taking a career break together.

“Most of the career break stories I hear are about the person who cannot wait to go. My story is the opposite. I wanted to want to go, but I was so afraid. Off the beach and back home, all I had were the WHAT Ifs? What if we don’t get along? What if there is nowhere to stay? What if we get sick? I had lived on a cruise ship for nearly seven years, so I knew I could leave and come back, but to travel with George without a set plan; this was a challenge I was not sure I could handle.”

What happened?
Join Lisa and George at our Los Angeles event.

Adam SeperAdam Seper, our St. Louis host, also followed someone else’s dream – his wife’s.

“After spending the first half of my 20’s trying to figure out what it was I wanted to do, I finally went back to school to get my teacher’s certificate and master’s. I became a high school English teacher and soccer coach. I really enjoyed my job. I was happy. I was nearly through my first year of teaching and my new career when my wife first came at me with this idea of a year-long RTW trip.

At first, I thought she was nuts. We were both finally out of school and making good money. We were paying off our debt. We were saving up for a house. We were about to fulfill the American Dream! Why in the world would I want to give all that up?

Adam had thought it was a crazy idea, but did he think so afterwards?
Join Adam at our St. Louis event.

Travel is the Ultimate Education

The Cooney Family at Angkor Wat

Our Orlando hosts, Mike & Catrell Cooney, made financial sacrifices in order to fulfill a promise they had committed to their sons – that they would travel around the world as a family.

“The purpose of our hair-brained idea was to expose our three sons to the world before starting college. As I always like to say, we spent the funds for their Ivy League education up front. Our philosophy then and now, is that ‘Travel is the ultimate education.’ The knowledge they gained, the people they met and the cultures they experienced were not something they could learn from a book. It could only occur by being immersed in a journey that taught all of us more about the world in which we live.

And in the process, Catrell and I believe we helped create better global citizens who have memories to last a lifetime, and will make travel apart of their future as well.”

Was this such a hair-brained idea?
Join Mike & Catrell at our Orlando event.

Living Life Differently
Monday, July 11th, 2011

Sarah Reijonen’s home base is Spokane, Washington, though ultimately it’s wherever her camper is parked. She and her husband, Chris, quit their jobs and sold their house in 2009 for a seven-month trip around the world. The trip changed their lives, their outlook and made them eternal wanderers. Upon returning home they bought a camp trailer in which to live and travel for Chris’ work. Chris is a power lineman and Sarah is pursuing her dream as a writer. She is working on her first book about what else but travel, as well as blogging about life, love and travel at Walkabout: Spanky and Sarah’s Journey

I always feel more lost upon returning home.

Sarah in Vietnam

It probably doesn’t help that my husband and I live in a camp trailer, but to us wheels are freedom.

Our first trip in 2009 was the trip to begin all trips. We quit our jobs, sold our home on 80 acres, and leapt off the American grid for seven months around the world. When we came home we were faced with culture shock as well as a desire to live differently. I wanted to reduce my footprint, but see more places; live simply, but pick up more recipes and hobbies.

We had already accomplished the “art of non-conformity” in one sense, but we were ready to scare our friends and relatives just a bit more. Hey Mom and Dad, if you thought we were crazy then, wait until you see the camper we bought – to live in.

A year later we are still in our home on wheels living the life of gypsies. We travel where the work takes us then take a couple months off at a time to go where our hearts lead us. Most recently, we returned from two months through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Our friends and family expect it now.

When I come home, they aren’t surprised to see my bloodshot eyes brought on by a SCUBA diving accident. They are even less surprised to hear that it happened in Thailand. “Of course,” they say, almost scoffing. I feel a bit like Owen Wilson’s character in the Focker flicks; always onto a new adventure and coming off just a bit too Zen for anyone’s comfort level.

Sarah in New ZealandAlthough seven months is a little too long for my liking, I will never stop traveling. It’s not a bug; it’s a disease, but in the most positive sense. I return from my time abroad and see my world with new eyes. Minor irritations are just that: Minor. As for those friends and relatives that keep me at a distance so as not to catch my madness, well, I want to hold them closer than ever. I twist their arms to take weeks off from work, and if they aren’t ready for weeks then just days.

I can’t sit for a minute, though I could have laid on a beach for days on Koh Lanta. Sights from my old stomping grounds are both familiar like a baby blanket and different as a foreign country. I wear make-up and curl my hair – a far cry from the woman on the go that I left in Ireland two weeks ago. My two personalities of homebody and road warrior continue to move closer to one another as I morph into the one woman I see before me in the mirror.

I may be home, but home is quite relative these days. Though I miss the comfort of a foundation, it isn’t necessary. Travel takes sacrifice. I have chosen the road less traveled, and in turn, I make the road my home.

Manali & Terry: Content, Relaxed Yet Energized
Monday, June 13th, 2011

Manali and Terry just recently returned from eighteen months of extended travel, visiting 27 countries and have now settled in Boston, MA trading their backpacks to briefcases once again! You can check out their website at or follow them on twitter @manaliandterry.

On your blog you describe yourselves as “Yuppies to Hippies”.

Now that you have returned from your career break and extended honeymoon, how would you describe yourselves?

Content, relaxed yet energized! We would definitely also add the word “appreciative” to how we describe ourselves. We appreciate that we took the time off to explore the world and yet we appreciate even more the opportunities that we have back home compared to some of the places we visited. We are so glad that we were able to take the leap and take full advantage of an extended career break, leave all our worries behind and be a part of this strong traveler community!

Manali & Terry in Santorini

That was quite a honeymoon.

What was your favorite part of the experience?

Our favorite part was meeting new people, experiencing new cultures and just being able to relax with no set deadlines or specific “things to do”. We learned so much about being able to be adjust to unknown surroundings quickly and be comfortable among strangers. We met some amazing and inspirational people in every country we visited and have been trying to keep in touch!

How has your transition to life back at home been going?

Have you experienced any reverse culture shock?

As soon as we landed stateside, we were glad to be home but definitely noticed the “in your face” marketing, large billboards and loud ads on the tv as soon as we had two feet on the ground for busy Christmas shopping season. Although people were still friendly, everyone was in a rush to cross items off the list with their “to go” food and coffee, scurrying to their next destination. We are going to try very hard not to fall back into the ‘checklist’ mentality and enjoy every moment of every precious day!

Manali & Terry in China

You’ve actually settled into a new city.

How did you come to that decision?

When our travels were nearing the end, we were really tempted to continue to live abroad and begin a new adventure as expats in a foreign country. We attempted to find corporate jobs abroad but nothing really caught our attention, so we focused efforts back home in the States, keeping our options completely open to all 50 states. Eventually, wonderful opportunities arose in Boston, MA. After moving a day before a massive blizzard hit the area in January, we are still awaiting the warm weather everyone has promised will come soon!

What are your career plans now?

And how did your break influence your decisions?

Before we left and during our travels, we were worried that we won’t be able to go back to a “normal” corporate desk jobs again, so we really tried to list out qualities that were important to us before we jumped back into the “real world”. During our job search, we looked for opportunities that allowed us to make an impact at work, schedules that were flexible and had great cohesive team environments. Although there is no perfect job, we are happy with our current situations, have shared many of our travel experiences with intrigued coworkers and hope they catch the travel bug soon! Our career break also taught us that there is definitely life outside the cubicle and we may even change our career paths in the future to incorporate some extended travel, whether it may be helping other people plan, hosting travelers or even retiring on a small remote island!

Terry in New Zealand

You’ve gone from honeymooners to expectant parents.

How do you plan to incorporate travel into your life as a family?

We are expecting a little baby backpacker this October! We definitely will be taking international trips as soon as we feel ready, especially since we have family abroad. We’re hoping our kids are curious and interested in traveling early – we’ve been inspired by many families that travel long term and plan to take a year off again sometime in the future!

What were you doing one year ago today?

Living the good life! We were cruising the Greek Isles, basking in the sunshine on the white sand beaches and enjoying plenty of delicious cheeses and wine!

We would highly recommend long-term travel to anyone! There isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t reminded of the fantastic places and people we encountered. We hope that we will cherish those memories forever as a couple and inspire future travelers.

People always say that we are “lucky” but honestly, luck has nothing to do with it! Once you take the first step, you will have wonderful experiences at your fingertips – the world awaits!

Travel and the Rewards of your Goals
Monday, May 16th, 2011

For Richard Yang, it’s not about the destination – it’s the journey that matters most. And he now applies the lessons he’s learned from travel to his life and career goals.

Rewards of your Goals

Appreciate the process of reaching your goals

Traveling is a passion for me and I’m fortunate to be working on launching my own travel related startup. However, this is only the beginning of the journey and I look forward to the challenges. But what I want to share is not about travel related entrepreneurship; but instead the “process” from where I was to where I am.

In 2000, I graduated college and entered the world of consulting. In 2005, I decided to take a sabbatical to travel. After returning to my job and working for 3 additional years, I moved to Spain for my MBA at IE Business School. But what does all of this have to do with traveling or anything at all? It turns out everything.

When to start traveling is always a hard decision for anyone. There are obvious time advantages in terms of age and family in the decision factor; but leaving a secure job is difficult within the American social norm. I was advancing professionally and had reached my initial goals in making manager at a global firm.

While proud of my accomplishments, the sensation was fleeting. Working diligently and logging long hours, I’d forgotten to take in the process. All I knew for so long was I wanted to make manager.

I also knew I wanted to take some time to travel around the world sometime in my life. Just like my managerial goals, I approached it logically. I wasn’t getting another title change soon, so why not start my journey.

It took me a long time to adjust to the travel life. I felt antsy with the thought that I had to “accomplish” something everyday. If I didn’t, I wasn’t taking full advantage of my time off. I believed I must succeed in a new goal everyday. But as any traveler knows, this is impossible. Through time, I learned that the world does not run at NYC pace, let alone American pace. Through the journey I learned little lessons about my travel style, when to go and when to stay, and who and what to trust. I put little thought and even less appreciation into the fact that I was learning. The transformation from binary thinking to process appreciation wasn’t planned or recognized. I didn’t set out to travel to contemplate, it just happened.

Only by the end of my journey did I begin reflecting on the five previous years as a consultant. I realized why the manager title was fleeting and why saying I traveled around the world meant nothing. What mattered was the little step-by-steps you take to get to where you are. Learning from your mistakes, accepting failure, and picking yourself up again. Goals change, and will constantly change, but how you as an individual reach those goals matter more. Making the conscious decision to appreciate the process becomes valuable in everything you do – be it the initial overpacking for your journey to starting your own company.

Rewards of your Goals

Sometimes you don't know what to expect

Re-entering I had a new recognition of my goals. Within a month of returning, I was asked to relocate to India, where I stayed for 7 months. Upon finishing that project, I began working in Munich. I took the opportunities that others feared taking because the role wasn’t in the eyes of the partners or professionally glamorous. I wasn’t successful at every turn; but, with the new approach I realized the failures were no longer black marks. This philosophy encouraged me to attend an MBA outside the US. It also led me to turn down monetarily rewarding job offers around the world to pursue launching my own business.

In travel, from beginning to end, and the re-entry to home and career, think of every moment and the steps you need to take. They will be difficult & frustrating and nothing will go according to plan. But by appreciating the process and understanding that it’s part of the goal, the rewards become evident, leading to your own happiness.

As for this moment, launching my own startup isn’t like what you read in the newspapers or see in movies. Many talk about the benefits of working for yourself in making millions or having more free time; but few talk about the multiple failures before reaching success. But the process of learning and adapting has been amazing. I expect to fail somewhere. I expect to get a rejection on a daily basis. This relates beyond entrepreneurship and into everything – from traveling to even finding that next career. You will get lost. You will have to change your plans. But by appreciating the step-by-step of your journey will make the rewards personally meaningful, which only carries forward socially and professionally.

Richard YangRich Yang is a NYC based travel tech entrepreneur who founded Street Mosaic, a social, real-time travel guide. Integrating the social interaction and photography element of travel, Street Mosaic gives users a fun way to share their spontaneous discoveries with other exploration-minded individuals. Users simply log on to discover what’s interesting, nearby, and recent and we help get you there. Simply take a picture, write a caption, and share with the community.

Rich checks his twitter often and loves to hear from you. Find him at @yangwave. Street Mosaic is still in developing and testing and open for product testers. Look for our free app in the iTunes App Store and on twitter @streetmosaic.

So You Want to Write a Travel Memoir
Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

You’ve just returned from an inspiring career break and are inspired by the experience to write a book. Think it’s not possible? Alexis Grant offers tips on how you can make it happen.

How to Write a Book About Your Travels

When travelers hear I’m writing a book about backpacking solo through Africa, they often confess that they, too, have dreamed about telling their travel story. “But I don’t really know how to go about it,” the traveler says. “How should I get started?”

Indeed, a book-length work can be daunting. But if you have a blog – and many travelers do – you’re already ahead of the pack. Blogging gets you in the habit of writing regularly and gives you an outlet for feedback, so you can get a sense for which stories resonate with readers.

So what’s the best way to turn your ideas into a book? Here’s how to get started on your travel memoir:

Read other travel memoirs

Think about why each book works (or doesn’t). Try well-known authors like Bill Bryson and Mary Morris and Paul Theroux, but also browse your local bookstore’s travel section for up-and-coming writers. Since my book is about traveling solo, I look specifically for books by women who have done just that. How is the story structured? Why did it sell? How will yours be different – and better?

Alexis Grant - Mada

Figure out your message

Your memoir should be about more than your trip; you need an overarching theme that readers can relate to, a story arc that includes personal growth. Look back at those travel memoirs you read. What’s their message? You can bet those stories aren’t simply a chronicle of “first I did this, then I did that.” There’s some thread, some theme that ties their experiences together and makes them meaningful. How can you turn your story into a narrative that people who don’t know you will want to read?

2 Backpackers: Where Are They Now?
Monday, March 21st, 2011

In the summer of 2009 we introduced you to three career break couples, including Jason Castellani and Aracely Santos of 2 Backpackers. Jason and Aracely began their career break in Guatemala and quickly learned that they preferred slow travel. So they shifted their round-the-world plans to focus their year in Central and South America.

In between, we checked in with them to see how they were adjusting to life on-the-road and get some travel tips based on their road experience. One of the most exciting aspects of their trip was getting engaged and since their return, have already gotten married and moved to Miami! So we decided it would be a great time to check in.

2 Backpackers

You obviously survived traveling together for a year – having gotten engaged and married shortly after your return. What insight did you gain about your relationship while traveling?
We figured, if we survived this, we can survive marriage. Which, to us is the long-term commitment of being together and tolerant of each other all the time, while still staying in love. I had planned on proposing during the one year of traveling if we were getting along. And we did get along. Looking back on that journey now, after 7 months of being home, I still feel as though that was our best time together.

What advice would you give to other couples planning a career break?
We suggest not using a travel career break to find out if you are compatible. In our article 5 Tips for Traveling as a Couple we suggest that you each have a clear understanding of your travel preferences. There will always be compromise, but you don’t want to discover one loves hiking and camping while the other is a foodie and sun bather after you just landed in Guatemala.

Re-Entry Round-Up
Monday, February 21st, 2011

Whether you are new to the site or a long-time reader, we thought we would take today to look back at some of our returned career breakers. If you face any fears about planning your own career break, just see how beneficial it was to them.

Trading in Your Backpack for the Briefcase
Cindy Peterson interviews her husband, Bill, about trading in his backpack for a briefcase again after 14 months of travel.

[singlepic=1791,250,,,right]My husband Bill and I recently returned from fourteen months extended travel. When we stepped out of our corporate jobs in November of 2008, we both wondered what would be in store for us after our planned year of exploring the world. And as tempting as it was to continue our adventure living in a foreign country, or finding enough work to continue to travel like so many of the “career” travelers we envy, in the end we made the decision to re-enter life in the United States.


Reflection: Morgan’s Tale
[singlepic=1854,250,,,right]In August of 2008, the Cooney Family set off on their year-long travels. Together with their three teenage sons, Mike & Catrell wanted their children to have a unique experience. “Our theory was to give our three sons a way to see the world, experience other cultures and appreciate what all of us tend to take for granted before they go to college. That experience, coupled with a good education, will almost assuredly put them on the road to success, regardless of the vocation they choose.”

Were they successful? Ask their son Morgan. READ MORE

Lisa LubinLisa Lubin’s New Business Card
Worried that taking a career break to travel can hurt your career? It can actually help enhance it.

Just look at Lisa Lubin’s new business card. It could literally read: Writer, Producer, Photographer, Editor, Blogger, Publicist, Travel Consultant, Video Consultant, World Traveler.


MPGNYC PanelistsCareer Break Doesn’t Equal Career Suicide
This is one of the topics that came up when the New York City panel for Meet, Plan, Go! got together to brainstorm what we would discuss at our recent event. We wanted to touch on “Why don’t more people take career breaks?” and in our encounters one of those reasons is career related.

See what the panel had to say about career fears. READ MORE

Getting Back in the Game
[singlepic=1887,250,,,right]Prior to her career break, Alonna Scott worked for 6 years as a Computer Engineer at Hewlett-Packard in Boise, Idaho. In July of 2009 she began a one-year Leave of Absence from work to travel around the world with her husband. A few months after returning from the trip, she accepted a new engineering position with Seagate Technology and they moved to Boulder, Colorado.

See how when faced with a tough re-entry, Alonna turned to self-reflection to get her back in the game. READ MORE

Bert & Patty: Where Are They Now?
Monday, January 24th, 2011

In the summer of 2009 we introduced you to three career break couples, including Christine & Paul Milton – aka Bert & Patty – from Seattle. Christine & Paul started their career break by getting married in the Cook Islands and knew from the start that they would end in Edinburgh, Scotland, where they hoped to settle down.

In between, we checked in with them as they offered some travel tips they gained on the road as well as sharing frustrations most travelers face on the road but rarely speak about. It has now been several months since they wrapped up their travels and settled in to their new life in Edinburgh. So we decided it would be a great time to check in!

Christine & Paul

As part of your original career break adventure, you always planned to end in Edinburgh, Scotland. What transpired in the months since moving to Scotland?
Oh, yes, our great adventure was to start in the Cook Islands with a lovely sunset beach wedding, travel for 13 months (talk about an amazing honeymoon), and then end up in Scotland. To our great surprise we quickly found a lovely apartment right in the city. We thought, “wow, this is easy, we will have jobs in no time.”

I (Christine) found a volunteer job right off and we both proceeded to job hunt. Right away, we started hearing gloomy reports about the economy and prospective job cuts for the next couple of years as a way to deal with the deficit. We were still hopeful. We heard many Scots talking about the job market and how difficult it was to secure a job and how many people were already getting laid off in recent days. Seemed like everyone was singing the same song. Never mind, we were determined to make it work in good ol’ Edinburgh. After all, we shipped all of our worldly possessions there—we were committed.

We got involved in, met some nice people and enjoyed the city. We even bought bikes and peddled til our heart’s content. Still, we were hopeful and continued to job hunt but as the months wore on, we started to wonder if and when we would actually get a job and how long our savings was going to hold out.

Paul contacted his old employer to see what was going on and to his surprise, he was offered a job with a significant raise. Although we had our hearts set on starting a new life in Edinburgh, we couldn’t pass up the offer and I was a bit homesick so we thought it would be the sensible thing to do. We are excited to get established in Seattle and who knows, when the British economy starts rebounding, we may just find ourselves back in the UK.


Reflection: Getting Back in the Game
Monday, October 18th, 2010

In July 2009, Alonna Scott and her husband Ben set off for their year career break – which we followed from the beginning: Alonna gave tips on how she “negotiated a sabbatical“,  we highlighted their site along with two other career break couples, saw how they were adjusting to “life on the road“, and we checked in with them during the 6-month mark when they gained their “road experience“.

[singlepic=1887,300,,,right]Since they’ve returned, their career break experience continues to inspire their life choices. And when faced with a tough re-entry, Alonna turned to self-reflection to get her back in the game.

When I left my job in 2009 to travel for a year, I hardly gave a second thought to what it would be like to come home at the end. I was fortunate to get a Leave of Absence from my employer, and I assumed that I’d return to work refreshed and motivated. But what I didn’t realize is that taking a break and traveling would change my attitude and perspective on life.

Returning from a Leave of Absence
Coming home after my round-the-world trip was exciting – it felt great to unpack for the last time, sleep in my own bed, and choose from a huge closet full of clothes every day. But the end of my Leave of Absence loomed before me, and I knew I only had two choices: quit or return to work. Considering my dwindling bank account balance, I chose the latter.

Unfortunately, the transition back to work was much harder than I expected. Although I loved engineering, had a great job and awesome coworkers – I wasn’t ready for the change in daily routine and the stress of long to-do lists. I also felt a loss knowing that my trip-of-a-lifetime was officially over. And most of all, with a lack of direction and purpose I was left feeling completely unmotivated. I even questioned whether my career break had done more harm than good.

Luckily, all it took to get me back in the game was a little time and some self-reflection.


Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go