Favorite Blog: Quitter to Winner
Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Quitter to WinnerWe recently discussed how many career breakers remain in the “career break closet” – keeping their upcoming travel plans from friends, family, and especially colleagues and bosses. Some spend months, if not years, planning their escape, but are afraid to share the news too soon out of fear of losing their jobs – much like Keith & Amy Sutter. “We could not afford, either financially or professional, for word of our plans to leak back to our companies before we were ready.”

Quitting can be difficult for anyone, especially career breakers. Doubts can seep in as you start to question your decision. Hearing others stories of quitting can make it that much easier, and now you can on Quitter to Winner”, a resource for those quitting their job for a career break, sabbatical, entrepreneurial venture or new gig.

The blog was started by Michael Sjostedt, who noticed that “over the last few years people held onto jobs they weren’t satisfied with. But recent stats show that more and more workers are voluntarily leaving their gigs for yet-to-be-determined opportunities.

Job burnout certainly plays a role in the trend. Some might have a little red devil on their shoulders who whispers ‘life’s too short.’ Others have the hutzpa to strike out on their own, thinking they can crack the ‘earn more, work less’ algorithm.

Everyone’s got a reason and a story. I’m curious to learn why people jumped, how they navigated the free fall, and if they succeeded.”

You can read stories like Alice Gray and Lyon Graulty, who are taking several months off between jobs to bike the West Coast and raise money for Posada Esperanza, an Austin-based shelter for immigrant women and their children. Or James Morgan, who talks about his difficult transition from a teaching career into architectural woodworking. And Ryan Fuller and his wife, Jen, who got burnt out from their high-pressure consulting jobs and are now in rehab: via extended vacation in Argentina.

And be sure to visit their Facebook Fan Page as Michael features inspiring career-related stories, blogs, and job boards from around the web.

Favorite Blogs: Travels with Children
Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Traveling long-term on a career break with children can seem very daunting, but the Vogel Family (Family on Bikes) and the Hoffmeister Family (4Suitcases) have shown what an incredible experience it can be.

And even short-term travel with children can be overwhelming. But here are a few sites that offer some great insight into making it a fun and rewarding experience.

[singlepic=1728,275,,,right]Debbie Dubrow’s blog, Delicious Baby, offers advice on “Making Travel with Kids Fun”. Her blog details her own experiences traveling in the US and internationally with young children as well as product reviews, city guides and travel tips like “Ten Tips for Keeping a Toddler Busy on a Plane”  and “Breeze Through Airport Security with Kids”.

Perhaps my favorite tips include the ones listed under “Why Travel?”

Everyone knows that travel with children is unpredictable, difficult, and definitely not at the same pace or with the same freedoms that pre-child travel afforded, so why do it at all?

  • Through our children’s eyes, we see the world in a new way.
  • You get to immerse yourself in the local culture. Traveling with children forces you to do as locals do… shop in the grocery stores, bakeries, and pharmacies, not just tourist shops. You get to connect with locals in a way that’s difficult to do as adults traveling alone. People love kids. They’ll go out of their way to connect with you and see you as a family rather than just tourists, and you’ll gain insights into what it’s like to live in a different place.
  • The kids love getting out of their everyday routine, and being in new situations helps everyone to reconnect. Whenever we travel, we find that there’s a special brand of giggly, silly fun that happens after a long day of travel that we just don’t seem to have at home.
  • The kids learn new things. For young kids it isn’t so much that they’ll learn world history as that they are exposed to new experiences, sights, sounds and smells. With a little thought, you can bring those experiences home to make your everyday life a little richer too.
  • For school age kids it’s much more engaging and fun to learn history by doing than by reading.

[singlepic=1729,300,,,right]Michelle Duffy’s blog, WanderMom, offers insight and resources for independent family travel. As she says “The goal of this website is to share my experiences as a traveling parent with you and through that to encourage and inspire you to take your children to interesting places far and wide, inside and outside your home country.”

Other blogs that focus on traveling as a family and with children include:

Favorite Blog: Go Backpacking
Thursday, January 28th, 2010

[singlepic=1656,300,,,right]We recently highlighted David Lee’s career break, which he documented in his blog Go Backpacking. But Go Backpacking is more than just a journal of his adventures – it is a site that encourages and inspires people to independently travel abroad. And with three years of blogging and over 1,000 posts, David has a lot of great content and resources to do just that.

In addition to the 20-month archive of David’s 22-country round-the-world trip, the site offers tips for budget planning, interviews with fellow travelers, book reviews, how-to articles, and news from the online travel community. He has even expanded his site to include several contributors, adding a variety of voices and experiences.

One of the most popular posts is ”Cost of a Trip Around the World”, which is usually the first concern on potential travelers minds.  And by breaking down his daily expenses by country allows future backpackers to understand where their dollar can go farther.

Another popular post is “Final Thoughts – Annapurna Sanctuary Trek” in which David offers great tips based on his experiences to anyone planning a trek in Nepal.  I did the Annapurna Circuit in 2001 and definitely agree with many of his points – although I’d like to add one. Boiled water in a nalgene bottle makes a wonderful bedtime companion. Helps to keep you warm and stays warm throughout the chilly nights!


Favorite Blog: Almost Fearless
Thursday, November 5th, 2009

[singlepic=1570,300,,,right]One of our favorite blogs, Almost Fearless, comes from a fellow career-breaker, Christine Gilbert. The blog follows along on Christine’s journey from corporate manager at a large Fortune 500 Company to full-time freelance travel writer. In addition to her adventures on the road, Christine shares great tips on becoming a digital nomad and a location independent professional.

According to Christine:

I always wanted to travel the world. Who doesn’t? But somehow I ended up trading in my 20’s for a job I didn’t love, money I didn’t need (but happily spent on things I didn’t need), and a burgeoning sleep problem. One night after I ran out of valerian root and melatonin, I stayed up all night looking through job listings in my field. I realized something—I didn’t want to do any of them. None. I could change my job, change my environment, but the work itself had become excruciating.

It was time to take the leap and start over. I would finally pick up that writing career I had been tinkering with for years. I would start living the life I wanted now, instead of waiting for some far off reward. My husband and I would sell everything and move abroad with our two dogs, Molly and Jack.


Favorite Blogs: Career Breaker Round-Up
Monday, July 27th, 2009

We are all about inspiring people to take a career break and travel, so we were excited when we came across three couples who will be venturing off soon on year-long traveling career breaks! We can’t wait to follow along on their adventures and hope you do the same as well.

Two Backpackers
[singlepic=1496,200,,,left]Jason and Aracely are a couple that understand there is more to life than a successful career. After college, Jason spent much of his time chasing his career and financial goals, which included jobs at Mercedes-Benz USA and Mercer. Likewise, Aracely was groomed into a young professional at Mercedes-Benz USA and as a Finance Manager at American Express. But both find greater joy in being outdoors, learning about the world, and lending a helping hand – activities that better shape and define them as individuals then any job title could.

[singlepic=1495,150,,,right]With no set itinerary other than using Guatemala as a starting point, Jason and Aracely hope this experience will validate their passions, step outside of their comfort zone, and grow as individuals. As Jason writes: “Part of this journey is learning to let go; live in a way that is completely different from the way we currently live our lives. Today, we spend a significant time planning and organizing because we only have a weeks’ worth of vacation from our jobs. Now, there is no need to crunch everything possible into a week, plan extensively or recuperate. You can do what you want, when you want, on your own terms for as long as you want. It’s exhilarating just to say those words.”


Favorite Blog: Hole In The Donut
Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

When I first came across the blog “Hole In The Donut” and read the description of its author, Barbara Weibel, I immediately knew she was a “Briefcase to Backpacker”.

[singlepic=1424,175,,,left]After years of working 70 hours a week at jobs she hated, baby-boomer Barbara Weibel felt like the proverbial “hole in the donut” – solid on the outside, but empty on the inside. Searching for meaning in her life, Weibel abandoned her career and set out on a six-month solo backpacking trip around the world, during which she pursued her true passions of travel, writing, and photography. Since returning, she has continued to travel and blog about her journey, both physical and spiritual.

It is always interesting to learn what inspires people to make life changes like this, and for Barbara, it was being diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. Being practically bedridden for nearly six weeks gave her time to analyze the way she was living her life. During this time of reflection she decided that in order to live a life with purpose, she needed to figure out what brought her joy. And what brought her joy was photography, writing, and of course travel.


Favorite Blog: Otts World
Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

[singlepic=1123,250,,,right]I was first introduced to Sherry’s blog, Ott’s World, while working at Cross-Cultural Solutions. As part of her journeys, Sherry was volunteering with CCS in India, and my colleague thought I would love her site because of her beautiful photography. And she was right. I was also extremely envious of her incredible adventures, which usually happens when I’m stuck in an office and not traveling myself.

Fortunately I was in the middle of planning the career break Michael and I would be taking. During our trip, we kept a blog as well (called appropriately Briefcase to Backpack) and received envious feedback from friends and family. So much so that we felt like we needed to do more with the name and concept.


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