Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Overlanding: A Cost-Effective Way to Have an Extended Career Break Adventure
Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Taking a career break and traveling doesn’t need to be shockingly expensive or over-planned. After all, one of the reasons we take career-breaks is to relax. Overlanding can be a great alternative to traditional planned-and-structured travel. What is overlanding? Overlanding is exploring the world by self-guided means, in your own vehicle, on your own motorcycle, or even bicycle. The journey is the purpose in overlanding. The most cost-effective way to overland is to camp along the way, though many people alternate camping and hotels, hostels, or couch-surfing.

Families are getting into overlanding in growing numbers, as are couples—both working professionals and recently retired ‘boomers.’ Solo travel is also a popular choice for overlanders.  Overlanding can be in a $700 secondhand Chevy van (check out the global travels of journalist Lorraine Chittock); in a sturdy Land Rover fitted with a roof-top tent, fridge, and mobile kitchen (like Graham Jackson and Connie Rodman’s that they drove from London to Cape Town); or on a motorbike (Lois Pryce took a break from the BBC to ride from London to Cape Town, then from Alaska to Argentina).

Overlanding is not new to Europe, Africa, or Australia, where there is a long tradition of exploring by self-contained vehicle or motorcycle—and where gap years and career breaks are more common. But over the last five years overlanding has been growing in popularity in North America with the importation of safari-style equipment like 12-volt fridges, roof tents, and other equipment. Adventure motorcycle riding—thanks to programs like The Long Way Round—has exploded in recent years.

Sure, you can spend tens of thousands of dollars on equipment and accessories. If you have the budget, great. If not, it’s no big deal: thousands of overlanders take off with nothing more than a stock Toyota Tacoma and camper shell, or a well-loved Suzuki motorcycle and a backpacking tent, and circle the globe, some for as little as $26 a day.

The benefits of traveling with your entire home contained in your vehicle or on your bike are huge. Fall in love with a particular beach in Costa  Rica? Stay three months instead of three weeks. Want to help an orphanage in Tanzania improve their water system? Set up camp and stay as long as you like. Hear about an amazing little-visited hot spring at an oasis in Egypt’s Libyan Desert? Just go!

If this sounds great to you—if you dream of the freedom and adventure of the open road, guided only by your whims and a GPS or map—but you have no clue how to start, even if camping to you has meant Motel 6 instead of a Ritz-Carlton, there’s an event in North America that can help you get all you need to get going, from inspiration to equipment to training. Overland Expo will be held May 18 – 20 in Flagstaff, Arizona.

What is Overland Expo?

Overland Expo is the largest gathering in North America of expedition equipment manufacturers and enthusiasts with the sole purpose of learning and sharing about this growing new activity and market in North America. Overland Expo is for people who see their 4WD or ADV motorcycle as a means to adventure and exploration, and who see travel as a portal to learning about the world.

No other event combines intensive education modules with social opportunities to visit with thousands of other enthusiasts and share information and experiences, as well as a wide array of product and service vendors just for overlanding-related activities, both mechanized and human-powered.

Who attends?

Half the Overland Experience attendees are women, and dozens of families with children under 10 attend, to learn how they can pack up the kids and take off on extended travel. and are popular instructors and resources at the show.

– Overland Experience packages include over 70 classes taught by 65 of the top overlanding experts in the world

– Day pass visitors can enjoy dozens of films, slide shows, mini-workshops, and roundtable programs

– Over 120 exhibitors ~ 4WD & adventure motorcycles, accessories, camping gear

– Presenters and staff include 65 experts, authors, & videographers from around the world

– Music, food, film festival, & happy hours

– 1000s of overlanders from around the world

– Onsite & nearby camping for everyone, minimal cost for day pass visitors

– Kids under 16 are free

Roseann Hanson has made numerous career breaks to travel and to work in wildlife conservation in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Mexico. She’s been a journalist, book author, marketing director, lapidary and metalsmith, expedition leader, and event-planner.  In 2009 she founded Overland Expo, one of the world’s largest educational and inspirational events for do-it-yourself adventurers. For details about the event, visit

Photo Friday: East Africa with GO
Friday, February 3rd, 2012

On Monday we highlighted the incredible efforts of Groundwork Opportunities (GO) – working to create a world beyond poverty by investing in groundbreaking ideas, empowering local leaders, and engaging communities.

And this Photo Friday from East Africa is from photographer Peter Prato, whose experience we highlighted as well.

As Peter said “To explain what it was like to arrive in places that are war torn and filled with joy, it just doesn’t work in formats like this. Imagine the most moving moments of your life. The times when you realized that there was simply no way you could possibly exist, the you who you are, without other people. It was something like that. When I arrived home I had a difficult time understanding what was happening, or how the streets could be so clean, and calm, or how they could even exist at all.

“The best that I can sum up volunteering in the field is that I think of my life now in two pieces. I think of my life before I went into the field with GO, and I think of everything I want it to be after that experience.

How has volunteering abroad changed your view of the world and yourself?

Want to see your photo here? Check out our easy submission policy!

Help Build Libraries in Zambia
Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

This is the time of year where you are making lists, checking them twice, fighting the shopping crowds, and accumulating big credit card bills. This is also the time of year where websites, like ours, try to convince you to shop more; we tell you about all of the travel items you need to have to make your career break great.

However this year we are skipping the Career Break travel holiday shopping list. Because truth be told, it doesn’t matter what you carry with you on your break, it will still be great; don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Instead of a shopping list on where you can spend your money, we are focusing this year on philanthropic ways to give back; and our sole focus is Passports with Purpose.

Before I tell you about Passports with Purpose and why you should consider a donation; I want to remind you that you are travelers. As travelers who move from place to place in an epic journey, you will see many beautiful and many disturbing things. You will most likely realize how lucky you are for being born where you were with certain rights and possessions already provided you. As a female traveler, I think about how lucky I am to have been born in America, a country with many rights and opportunities for women compared to many other countries I’ve traveled through. I feel that as travelers we have a responsibility to give back to this world in which we explore. You have been given a gift of travel, freedom, education and I encourage you to celebrate that gift you’ve been given by working with the overall travel community in giving back.

Passports with Purpose

Passports with Purpose is an annual Travel Bloggers’ fundraiser. In 2010 they raised $64,128 to build a village in Southern India providing homes for 25 families. In 2009, travel bloggers raised almost $30,000 to build a school in rural Cambodia (complete with a school nurse). In 2011, they have set their sights even higher. With your help, they will raise $80,000 to build two libraries for children in Zambia through Room To Read.

Give and Receiving
It’s not just about you giving, it’s about what YOU can receive in return. This is a TRAVEL fundraiser; therefore your donation will not only help you feel warm in fuzzy inside, but it will help you travel.

Here’s how it works:

For a mere $10, you can enter to win a number of amazing travel prizes ranging from travel gadgets, gift certificates, gear, accommodation, and tours. For each $10 you donate, you choose what you’d like to enter. Donate $50 and enter 5 times for the same prize, or 5 different prizes.

There are many great prizes to win for career break travelers such as:
• 15-day 1st class Eurail pass worth $1160
• A private Florence Italy Market Tour for 4 worth $665
Kindle Fire worth $200
• 1 year Boingo Internet global account worth $708

Oh Barcelona

However there is one that I’m very excited about because it is one that I have secured through my travel blog, Ottsworld. I think it’s perfect for career breakers as it is a way to really ‘get local’ when you travel. Oh Barcelona has donated a $500 voucher for an apartment stay in Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Florence, or Berlin in 2012! The voucher will provide you with an approximate 3-night stay for 2 people in one of these historical cities.

So – that’s $500 worth 3 nights of lodging for $10. Even Wal-Mart can’t beat that!

Oh Barcelona is not just any company – it’s a company I used when I traveled in Europe this year. I have met the people there, I love how they do business, and I believe in the many benefits of staying in apartments when traveling. Namely it’s a way to travel slow and integrate into local neighborhoods equaling a more rewarding travel experience.

As you do your holiday spending this coming month, take a moment to think about your future career break travels and consider helping the future of kids in Zambia.

See all of the prizes and donate now!

If you won the Oh Barcelona $500 prize, which city would you visit to use your voucher? Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Florence, or Berlin? Share in the comments!

Photo Friday: Sand Dunes in Namibia
Friday, October 28th, 2011

Sand Dunes in Namibia

This Photo Friday was submitted by Rhonda & Jim Delameter, whose career break in 2007-08 took them through 19 countries, including Namibia where this photo was taken.

“We had a year of superlatives…birthdays on the Great Barrier Reef and floating the Nile. Thanksgiving on the beach in Bali. Christmas with tens of thousands of Vietnamese dressed as Santa in Hanoi. New Years Eve on the shore of the Mekong and Valentines day watching the sunrise at the Taj Mahal. The highlight was getting up long before dawn to hike the worlds highest sand dunes in Namibia on our 18th anniversary to watch the sun come up over Africa.

We will be sharing more about Rhonda & Jim’s career break (and future plans) in the coming weeks, but couldn’t wait to share this awe-inspiring photo.

Have you celebrated an important milestone during your travels?

Want to see your photo here? Check out our easy submission policy!

Photo Friday: Botswana Sunset
Friday, October 7th, 2011

Botswana Sunset

This glowing Photo Friday from Botswana was submitted by Facebook Fan Sage Russell.

Sage writes “This is a sunset shot in Botswana, 2-weeks into what has now become 6 months on the road. I’m in Edinburgh, Scotland now, and have turned my career break into a mobile career by writing and looking for lecture and talk opportunities everywhere I go. All thanks to what I learned on B2B [Briefcase to Backpack].”

We can’t wait to hear more about his travels through his site Food Pilgrimage: Inspiring the world through food and travel adventures…one bite at a time.

Want to see your photo here? Check out our easy submission policy!

Photo Friday: Mt. Kilimanjaro
Friday, August 12th, 2011

Mt. Kilimanjaro

Many career breakers and RTW travelers have dreams they’d love to fulfill during their travels.  And climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is high on many people’s lists.

This Photo Friday was shared on our Facebook page by fan Sonia Virtue. She managed to not only make the ascent of Kili (one that many climbers face defeat due to altitude sickness), but she captured this beautiful sunrise on her descent.

What has been a dream of yours that you’d like to achieve during your career break?

Want to see you photo here? Check out our easy submission policy!

Kick-Ass Host: JoAnna Haugen
Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

All of our local kick-ass Meet, Plan, Go! hosts have inspiring stories of their own career break travels. In the time leading up to our National Event in October we will introduce them to you so you can see why they are part of our team.

Meet our Kick-Ass Las Vegas Host: JoAnna Haugen

What Doesn’t Kill You Only Makes You Stronger

JoAnna HaugenIn college, I believed I had to prepare for the most robust career opportunities available. Even though I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do, I knew I loved to travel and wanted to integrate some sort of international experience into my resume.

But 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.

During the semester leading up to graduation, I applied for hundreds of jobs and was called for less than half a dozen interviews. With our apartment lease up and no company willing to greet me with open arms, my husband and I packed our bags for Peace Corps service in Kenya.

They say that serving in the Peace Corps is the “toughest job you’ll ever love,” and it’s an accurate statement. Mood swings took 180-degree turns within a matter of minutes. We lived without electricity and running water. We rode for hours on stuffy buses with coughing children and chickens. To get our mail, we had to ride our bikes for ten miles through the sand … and hope the post office was open. It was exhilarating and maddening. Exciting and angering. Gratifying and incredibly sad.

And we survived.

Upon returning home, I captured the office job I was supposed to covet. Well, it turns out that
Corporate America and I don’t get along very well. For several years I worked passionately, devoting
myself to my jobs, providing innovative suggestions on my quarterly reviews, honestly answering
surveys on how to improve the departments and companies I worked for, working long hours in hopes of future rewards … and ultimately collecting a pile of pink slips in return.

Confused, frustrated and questioning whether I was not only a good employee but also a good person, I continued to plug away at the 8-to-5 while working on another plan. I always wanted to be a writer, and I obviously didn’t get along well with my bosses, so I figured I might be the best boss for myself. No one ever told me in college that it was okay not to have a pre-defined, in-the-box career, so the idea of breaking free was terrifying.

In October 2009, I had the opportunity to go to Burning Man—an extreme living community in the
harsh Nevada desert—by myself. For several months I wavered on whether to go but ultimately decided to pack my car with an old bike and crazy costumes, and I took off for Black Rock City, the makeshift community of 50,000 people that makes up Burning Man.

I encountered dust storms, loud nights and hot days … and several guys my age who had shrugged off Corporate America to pursue their passions. If they had done it, why couldn’t I? For one week, I lived in difficult conditions surrounded by strangers (who became friends).

And I survived.

Upon returning home, I turned in my two-week notice and quit my relationship with Corporate America for good. Now I’m my own boss, pursuing my own passion. Some days are better than others, but all of them are better than that pit in my stomach I got driving to work every morning.

And I’m surviving, because that tried and true saying is true: What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

Check out the Las Vegas event details.

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?

Photo Friday: Mt. Kilimanjaro
Friday, August 13th, 2010

[singlepic=1864,588,,,left]This Photo Friday is from Marie Elena Martinez who shared another Photo Friday with us from French Polynesia.

Marie also shared with us her trepidation of traveling to Africa, despite being an experienced traveler. And that is where this photo is taken – 12,598 feet above the clouds at Shira Camp – Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

Day 2.  Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.  Shira Camp.
The one part of climbing Kilimanjaro that wasn’t excruciating was the view.  Being above the clouds insured the most glorious sunrises and sunsets.  Taking breakfast against this background kept me going…even at 12,500 feet!

For a full accounting of Marie’s seven days on Africa’s tallest mountain last month, check out The Kili Diaries on her travel blog Marie’s World. And stay up to date on her adventures and writing on her Facebook Fan Page.

Want to see your photo here? Join our Facebook Fan Page and upload your career break photo onto our Wall. Add a brief description & we may choose to feature it here!

Photo Friday: Ostriches in Namibia
Friday, July 16th, 2010

This Photo Friday is another video edition! We’ve been highlighting Career Break Secrets this week and their upcoming video travel guides, useful for your career break travel planning. So we couldn’t resist sharing one of their Rough Cuts. I don’t think any description is necessary, though I chose this one because it makes me smile. Hope it does the same for you!

Want to see your photo here? Join our Facebook Fan Page and upload your career break photo onto our Wall. Add a brief description & we may choose to feature it here!

Career Break Guide Table of Contents

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