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!

Teaching Traveling: Inspiring Teachers to Travel
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

“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?”

Lillie MarshallWise 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?’

Thank heaven I didn’t cave into this guilt, because the reality is: after I left, the world as we knew it at my job did NOT end. In fact, I would assert that the state of Boston Public Schools is now BETTER since my Travel Leave.”

Lillie chronicled her adventures on AroundTheWorldL and is now inspiring and assisting more teachers to travel through her new site, Teaching Traveling. Why?

1. Happiness leads to effectiveness. First and foremost, a fulfilled, happy staff is the key to an energetic, powerfully effective organization. Going into my sixth year of teaching, I was getting tired, falling into a rut, and lacking sparkle. But now, after a year away, I return to Boston Public Schools with such renewed passion for teaching! And the students and my coworkers now appreciate that.

2. Have faith in humans!The students who I left on my year-long Leave of Absence didn’t have me as an English teacher, but they ended up having a lot of other great teachers that year. If you are being pressured not to leave because of the threat that ‘everything will fall apart,’ remind folks of the reality: humans have the ability to rise to a challenge. Your workplace WILL go on, and in fact, the new configuration might even cause a positive breakthrough for the whole organization!

3. If you decide to return to your workplace after a Travel Leave, what an asset you will be! Now that I’m back in BPS, I have a wealth of new curriculum from working with students in West Africa and beyond, I have a ton of contacts for teachers wanting guest contributors to their lessons and projects, and I have a veritable trove of resources for educators wishing to follow their own travel dreams. What would BPS rather have: 7 years of a tired, un-inspired teacher who never once took time to fulfill her own life goals by taking the risk of a Leave, or a zest-filled, world-traveling dynamo, freshly back from Around the World?

Teaching TravelingTeaching Traveling profiles teachers who have traveled, shows how they have done it, and shares how the experience has benefited them. You also meet travelers who have decided to teach – many of whom are teaching English overseas.

Lillie will also be hosting a night of travel inspiration for teachers and those who have dreams of teaching abroad.

During this event, you can connect with aspiring and expert Teacher-Travelers as well as representatives from related organizations. All types of Teacher-Travel will be discussed – from short-term to long term and educational to “non-educational.” You can also learn secrets of cheap travel from a diverse, interactive panel and speakers will discuss balancing travel with raising kids, dealing with a small bank account, and having no time.

Teaching Traveling Inspiration Night in Boston
Thursday, March 31 – 6:30-8:30pm
Elephant and Castle Restaurant, Lower Level
161 Devonshire Street – Boston, MA 02110
For more information and to RSVP

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 yourSABBATICAL.com – 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.”


Career Break T-Shirt
Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

“I Prefer Real Views to Screensavers” – a statement that every career breaker can embrace. And now you can now proudly show off your career break love with our very own Briefcase to Backpack t-shirt!

T-shirt Closeup

Thanks to the design-talent of Garrett Schemmel of Hostel Dog, this t-shirt was inspired by a post we wrote for BootsnAll: “Top 10 Reasons to Take a Career Break and Travel”.

2. View Your Screensavers in Real Life
Do you feel like your cubicle walls are shrinking in around you? Has carpel tunnel set in to your thumbs from too much Blackberry-ing? Do you find your eyesight decreasing from staring at your computer screen too long? Sounds like a great time to take a break longer than a cup of coffee!

Think about all those times you’ve come back from another long meeting and found yourself mesmerized by the serene images coming across your screen. Now think about how much more mesmerizing those cascading waterfalls, coastal sunsets, and sky-scraping mountains could be in person.

For those of you who have made the career break leap or those who are now planning, this shirt is for you!

Womens TMens T

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.


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 Gear: Knopf MapGuides
Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

[singlepic=1844,250,,,right]I’ve always been great at directions. During road trips, I always loved playing shotgun while flipping through road maps. But that was before GPS took that job away from me.

And even though I was won over by the iPhone for the map feature alone, I’m still a big fan of old school printed maps when exploring a new city. Even before leaving on a trip, I will carefully study maps of the destinations I’m going to – including locating places I’m staying and sites I like to see. This is unbelievably helpful for making me feel acclimated that much faster upon arrival.

I recently discussed how when traveling with a partner, it is best to recognize each others strengths. And for me, that is map reader and director. I love this role because if someone else is leading, I often don’t pay attention to our path. And being dependent on another person to get around fills me with a sense of helplessness, especially if we separate.

Of course I don’t like sticking out like a tourist by standing on the street corner with a giant unfolded map. That’s when studying a map before hand helps. But recently I found a more discreet, and extremely helpful map, that includes destination highlights – so you can even leave the guidebook at home!

During a recent trip to London, I picked up the Knopf MapGuide: London (Knopf Mapguides).

It is extremely compact and easily fit into my purse, so I could always have it with me. The sections are broken up by neighborhoods/districts, and in addition to the easy fold-out maps (which are inconspicuous), each section includes highlights like restaurants, bars, museums and other essential places to see. It also includes a map of the Underground, so taking public transportation was easy to navigate.

So on this trip I was definitely happy to put down the iPhone (with the roaming charges) and rely on my Knopf MapGuide. I’ll be certain to use these more on future trips!

[singlepic=1845,175,,,left] [singlepic=1846,175,,,left] [singlepic=1847,175,,,left]

Travel Swag Contest!
Friday, June 25th, 2010

WIN a Camenae Travel Clutch!

Wednesday I wrote about how you can make career connections while you are traveling on your career break; it just takes a little networking and you may be able to line up your next job after your career break travels are finished!

I was able to do this when I was in Sinagpore and met the women who own/run CAMENAE – a luxury Italian handbag company.

Jill and Brittany, my part time employers, have always supported the work Michaela and I do on Briefcase to Backpack. They are avid travelers and both have been living overseas as expats for years. They were nice enough to offer one of their classy CAMENAE travel clutches for free to one of our lucky Briefcase to Backpack readers!

Whether you are traveling for a career break or for business – you still have to comply by all of the airport regulations. In most countries this means you can’t have any liquids loosely hanging out in your carry on bag – they must be contained.

What better way to contain those liquids than with the CAMENAE Travel Clutch!

It’s time to throw away those ugly zip lock bags and travel in style with the CAMENAE travel clutch!

Designed to FAA/TSA flight carry-on
security regulations (*3-1-1)

it can be used as a travel case, clutch, make-up case, or ipod case for the beach; you’ll be traveling in style and saving the environment from those plastic bags!

To win you very own CAMENAE travel clutch you simply need to do TWO simple things…but you have to do both…else you won’t be eligible to win!

1. Become a fan of CAMENAE on Facebook where you’ll get some behind the scenes information about their designs, photo shoots, and new collections.
2. Leave a comment on this post (below) describing why you’d like to win the CAMENAE Travel Clutch!

Simple right?!  Do both before July 5th, 2010 and you’ll be eligible to win!

Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go