Attend a Meet Plan Go Half Day Workshop for the Love of Travel
Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Do you love traveling so much that you dream of taking a career break to travel the world? Or maybe you want to break into the travel industry as a writer, photographer, or videographer so that you can live a life of travel. You can learn to do all of these things and more, at the NY Travel Festival April 18 – 19. It’s a full weekend of travel-industry-related talks, networking, happy hours and travel giveaways. AND NY Travel Festival is teaming up with Meet, Plan, Go! to host a four-hour workshop that will reveal wanderlust-inducing information to help get you on our way!

An intimate Meet Plan Go four-hour workshop will take place on Sunday, April 19 and cover crucial topics to the career-break traveler. Become inspired by people who have “been there” and meet and network with others with similar career-break travel goals.



Enter promo code “MPG15” to get the $75 MPG workshop/weekend ticket.


What to expect from the Meet Plan Go half-day Workshop:

• 2 – 3pm ~ Panel discussion
Learn from those who have fulfilled their own dreams of escaping their cube and traveling around the world: what they did and how they did it. Our career break veteran panel includes experts on family travel, couple travel, and solo travel.

• 3 – 4pm ~ Katie Aune
A discussion about the nuts and bolts of career break planning, including: planning your trip; budgeting/financial matters; what to do with your home and possessions; handling health/insurance matters

• 4 – 5pm ~ Sherry Ott
Learn how you can go about working on the road. Topics will include teaching ESL; freelance writing; blogging; photography; and utilizing your career background to find work or become location independent.

• 5 – 6pm ~ Breakout Q&A with all panelists/speakers
Your chance to have an extended opportunity to engage individually with the day’s speakers. Pick their brains about your specific concerns and questions, and get ideas from people who’ve been there at this speed networking hour.

Meet the Speakers & Panelists

These experts will not only provide you with inspiration by sharing their own stories, but also tips on how they did it and useful travel planning resources.

Katie-Aune-150x150Katie Aune quit her job in August 2011 to spend a year volunteering and traveling through all 15 countries of the former Soviet Union.  Her journey included running a marathon in Estonia, riding the length of the Trans-Siberian Railway, teaching English in Russia and Tajikistan, volunteering in Armenia, camping in the desert of Turkmenistan and doing her best to speak Russian on a daily basis. She returned to her hometown of Chicago in the fall of 2012 and was employed again in her previous field by the start of 2013  .She will discuss The Nuts & Bolts of Career-Break Planning.


Sherry-Ott-150x150Sherry Ott, a refugee from corporate IT, is a long-term traveler, blogger, and photographer. She has traveled around the world to over 60 countries, primarily solo, and has been living nomadically while traveling and working for over eight years to date. Sherry will share her career-break expertise in solo travel; volunteering; extended travel of a year or longer; teaching ESL; photography; working while on the road; living as an expat; and living out of a suitcase for extended periods of time.


rainerjenss-150x150Rainer Jenss, In 2008/2009, Rainer Jenss traveled around the world with his wife and two boys (ages 8 & 11) for 13 months. During that time, they visited 28 different countries and experienced the world in a hands-on, interactive way that never has been possible otherwise. Since his return, Rainer has dedicated himself to inspiring families to travel and advocated that travel be an essential part of every child’s education. As such, he is launching the Family Travel Association, which aims to create a collective and unified industry voice that will help change the way families travel – charting a path for the future generations of travelers the industry needs to cultivate.


Jane-Stanfield-150x150 Jane Stanfield has three main passions in life: travel, animals and volunteering. In 2006, after five years of knowing that she needed to do something totally different, she put her three passions together on a yearlong trip around the world. She volunteered on 12 projects in seven countries and took fantastic vacations in five others. For volunteer projects, she worked with orphans, spoke English, catalogued an elementary school library, assisted on an archaeological dig, and worked on scientific and rehabilitation projects with seven species of wildlife.


Anne-Mike-Howard-150x150Mike & Anne Howard are a pair of newlyweds who thought a ten-day honeymoon wasn’t nearly enough to celebrate a new life together. With a little bit of savings, no kids, and good health, they figured there was no better time to travel than now. So they quit their jobs, rented their apartment, and set out on a 675-day honeymoon around the world. Using Anne’s background as a magazine editor and Mike’s as a digital media strategist and photographer, they started HoneyTrek.com to share their career break across six continents, 33 countries, and 302 places.

Early-bird tickets are $75 (a 25% discount!) for access to the full weekend of travel industry talks, lunches, giveaways, happy hours AND the MPG workshop. Get your tickets now as space is limited to 30 people for the career break talks!



Enter promo code “MPG15” to get the $75 MPG workshop/weekend ticket.

What else do you get from the NYTravelFest weekend?

nytf-logo-200x200Besides the Meet Plan Go half day workshop you’ll also get:

• Traveler-level admission to both Saturday and Sunday’s ($45 value) activities
• A full weekend of panels, speakers, and experiences that are designed for people who love to explore their world. Panel topics include: Affordable Luxury, NYC Travel Hotspots, The best of Locally produced alcohol (including tastings!)
• Discount Pass from NYC & Co., inc. great deals on NYC restaurants and attractions
• Entrance to contest giveaways, before and during the event
• Lunch on Sunday

Learn more at the NYTravFest FAQ’s


Baby Boomers Are Going Places
Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Yep. It’s official. My unofficial wandering research project has proven that Baby Boomers are going places. To conduct this unscientific and completely biased investigation, I simply chatted up any Boomer who complained during our cruel winter—which happened about a million times. The results are staggering. Here are the top three findings.

They’re tired of home work

A big chill like so much of the country has endured causes problems. Ice dams become roof rot and leaks. Shoveling breaks backs. And falling icicles may impale slow-moving mid-lifers. Summer, meanwhile, brings little labor relief with yardwork, painting, patio projects, and more. And as for fall and spring? More maintenance—and who really likes raking or spring cleaning?

So it’s little wonder an alarming number of people have said to me, “I’m tired of my house; I’m starting to think about a smaller place or a nice, little condo.” My heart aches, frankly. After all, some of these folks still have a kid or two at home—or host college offspring during breaks and summers. It seems so soon to empty the next.

Not to mention: Some of these homes were once the Dream of a Lifetime. I’ve assisted with teardowns, architect plans, art procuring, landscaping, sauna designs, and (for those near water) boat chores (my job is packing the cooler). But many Boomers now dream less about walk-in closets—and more about walking away from honey-do weekends.

It’s true: Homes suck up life’s two most precious commodities: Time and money. As more Boomers realize this, I predict a mass-nomadic shift from spacious abodes to modest hovels. Expect a McMansion-bubble crash, complete with Millennials (the ones not still living at home) replying “lol” when offered 5,500 SF at fire-sale prices.

They’ve had it up to here with crappy weather

In Minnesota, we believe we’re been grandfathered-in to gripe about the weather since Ole Rolvaag wrote Frozen Giants in the Earth and Laura Ingalls Wilder penned Little Igloo on the Prairie. But this year left many folks speechless—and not just in the upper Midwest. After all, NYC had 55+ inches of snow. Atlanta became a skating rink (and car-crash capitol). And oranges froze in Florida; few states escaped winter’s wrath.

So where’s a Boomer to go? Not surprisingly, many have begun ponder snowbirding in Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica. Some say Australia. Others simply scream, “Anywhere but here!” FBOW, many in my study seem unmoved by Florida, California, and other congested, Paradise-Lost locales. This could get interesting.

They really, really want to travel

Fingertip research verifies the travel hunger: Boomers spend $157 billion per year on it and list it as their #1 leisure activity. Surveys find they’re warming up to the idea of spending their children’s’ inheritances (literally) on cruise ships to Alaska and Big Breaks to Big Island, Napa, and Sedona.

So, no: It’s no longer about just gambling on Vegas or golfing in Phoenix. Boomers on the move dig ecotourism, volunteer vacations, adventure (hiking, biking, sailing), multigenerational journeys, passion pursuits, and other ambitious experiences. They’re looking outside of gated resorts and resolving to make it real.

Samplings from my wandering research: One couple will celebrate his 50th by finally taking their first trip to Europe (I’ve helped convince them to stay longer, visit fewer places, and budget more); another is planning a fly-in fishing expedition to Canada for three generations; a nurse is committing one month to help in Haiti.

Profound things happen as you age. Like, you realize you won’t live forever, so you better stop filling up your bucket list and start fulfilling it. Like, you see how each decade takes a physical toll so you can’t count on Kilimanjaro-climbing in your 70s.

Like, you realize you’ve likely worked your brain off, worried about others, and shoveled snow for about as long as you can remember. So, yeah, you deserve a BreakAway.

And that goes for you non-Boomers too!

Kirk Horsted blogs at MakeYourBreakAway.com and offers speeches and seminars too. Since 1990, he’s taken five sabbaticals ranging from 35 to 355 days, from Grandma’s farm (SD) to Waiheke (NZ). He’s embarked alone, with partner, and with his perfect children. When he must, he works as a writer, creative consultant, and college teacher.

Photo credits: GlacierNPS, all other photos courtesy of the author and may not be used without permission.

Working While on a Career Break
Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

outdoor office

Yes, you read that title correctly, no need to rub your eyes and refocus. I know what you are thinking – “You told us that we needed to get away from work and take a break in order slow down, clear your mind, and see the world. Why would we consider working during our career break? Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose?”

Every situation is different and there are many reasons why someone may want to work on a while on a career break:

• Some people don’t have enough time to save the necessary money for their career break so they need to generate income while they travel.
• You want to dabble in and explore a new career while you are taking a break from your old one.
• You want to dig deeper into a culture and learn about what it’s like to stay longer or work in a place.
• You want to keep your expenses down while you travel.
• You want to meet more locals and have local experiences.

The main goal of a career break should be to take a break from your everyday life and your routine. You want to shake things up and get away from the daily grind so that you can free your mind and provide space to think and process things – this is when you start to reap the benefits of a career break. The key is getting away, and what you do when you get away is up to you.

As Jonah Lehrer writes in a piece for the Guardian,

“Several new science papers suggest that getting away – and it doesn’t even matter where you’re going – is an essential habit of effective thinking.”

For those of you who fall into the myriad of situations that cause someone to want to work on a career break, then we have some resources for you as you look for work during your break.

Working for Reduced Expenses

HelpX is a site where people ask for help, and you work in exchange for lodging and sometimes food. In a typical HelpX arrangement, the helper works an average of 4 hours per day and receives free accommodation and meals for their efforts. Note that a real salary is not really paid typically – but you do cut your travel expenses drastically by not paying for lodging.

The opportunities on HelpX range from handyman/woman work at hostels and guest houses, to social media help for small business, to crewing boats, riding horses, and fruit picking. To get a better idea of what opportunities they list, take a look at a few of their  international listings.

Think good Thoughts

Working for a Salary

If you think you are looking for a real salary and something more permanent then check out this comprehensive article about How to Make a Living on the Road. It provides inspirational stories and detailed information about what kind of careers are good for making money on the road and what you may expect to make in a year. In addition, it provides some stellar advice on how to get over fear in making any big change in your life.

“Fear and taking a leap – fear has a way of fermenting in your mind, the longer you sit and think something over, the more likely you are to allow all of the things that could go wrong pile up in the back of your head until you’re paralyzed by your worst enemy, your own imagination in fear mode.“

Finding Work Via Networking on the Road

Our Meet Plan Go Chicago Host, Lisa Lubin, is a career break veteran who worked her way around the world just using her own personal networks. After all, traveling is about meeting people, and when you can meet local people and expats, then your work opportunities really open up. She found random opportunities from working for Turkey’s largest media conglomerate, to doing research at the University of Cologne, to landing a year-long freelance gig doing publicity for an English Immersion program based in Madrid. The key – you have to make an effort to meet locals and be open to possibilities.

Another resource worth noting is Transitions Abroad – which offers article, resources, and programs for those interested in finding work overseas.

All of this working while on career break just broadens your horizons and increases your experience for your resume when you return.  In fact – you may find that you like it so much that you don’t want to quit!

Why Berlin is a great place to study
Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

In recent years Berlin has not only become a very popular tourist destination – longer term travellers are also opting to live and study here. Here are a few reasons why Berlin is regarded as a great place to go to as part of a career break, from its flourishing arts and music scene to its beautiful architecture and high standard of living.

Things to See

Berlin has a rich history – it was established in the 13th century and then served as the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia for four centuries. Today, the city is notable for mixing classical architecture with high modernism. Examples include the Reichstag and the Fernsehturm – the fourth tallest freestanding structure in Europe. Art is everywhere – from the liberal and inventive graffiti to the numerous sculptures that are found throughout the city.

When sightseeing takes its toll, there’s also plenty of opportunity to reconnect with nature. Approximately one third of Berlin is made up of parks, gardens, forests, lakes, and rivers. Grunewald is the city’s largest forested area and is easily accessible via S-bahn. Alternatively, try the Charlottenburg gardens – a kind of mini-Versailles.

Mixing with the Locals

Berliners are generally friendly and happy to express themselves. If in doubt, head to Mauer Park where residents shamelessly take the mike in front of large crowds for Bearpit Karaoke. Then there’s the seemingly endless stream of street parties and festivals. Some of the best include the colourful Karneval der Kulturen at the end of May, and the excitingly, flamboyant Christopher Street Day Parade in late June.

Learning the Language

As the cultural centre of Germany, Berlin is a wonderful place to learn and practise German. There are numerous organisations, such as ESL-Schools.org, that specialise in immersive language courses. More often than not, these courses use the city itself as a learning tool – for example, with visits to museums, galleries and films. Learning German in Berlin is a great way to get to know the country better and further your experience of travelling here.

Students will also be able to try Berlinerisch – the German dialect spoken by Berliners. There are numerous differences between Berlinerisch and ‘straight’ German. Examples include the tendency to replace the final ‘s’ in common words. ‘Das’ is pronounced ‘dit’, and ‘was’ like ‘wat’. Words ending with ‘er’ are replaced by an ‘a’ sound – so ‘Wasser’ becomes ‘Wass’.


Berliners love to party, and the city is famous for its eclectic music, novel venues and commitment to seeing in the dawn. There are literally hundreds of nightclubs – from the rooftop terrace at Weekend, to the roped-together pontoons that form Club Der Visionaere on the Landwehr canal. If dancing doesn’t appeal, the city is packed with atmospheric pubs in which to meet up and sample some of the country’s famous draught beers.

Photo credits: Timo Maier, chtfj21

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