Posts Tagged ‘Austin’

MPG 2012 Austin Hosts: Shelley Seale & Keith Hajovsky
Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

All of our local Meet, Plan, Go! hosts have inspiring stories of their own career break travels. In the months leading up to our National Event on October 16, we will introduce them to you so you can see why they are part of our team.

Meet Our 2012 Austin Hosts: Shelley Seale and Keith Hajovksy

It’s literally the ticket to the whole world…but only 30% of Americans have a passport. A passport is about so much more than travel; and travel is about so much more than sightseeing and vacationing. It’s about witnessing different ways of life than your own, experiencing different cultures and ways of thinking, meeting and interacting with people who have a completely different lifestyle than your own.

It’s about their traditions, beliefs, loves, foods, hardships, dances, songs, history, geography, and passions. It’s about life itself – and there is far, far more to life and the world than what any of us see in our own backyards, in the little corner of this planet that we are born into.

Neither Shelley Seale nor Keith Hajovsky came from families that traveled much while they were growing up; family road trips were the most of it. When they finally started traveling as young adults — decades before they knew each other — worlds were opened up that they had previously only dreamed about.

Keith: A Serial Career Breaker And Loving It!

I never really had the opportunity to travel while growing up, but even as early as in my middle school years I knew that I wanted to eventually get out and see the world. Then, burnt out on school after finishing my sophomore year in college, I decided that I was going to do whatever it took to backpack around Europe with my best friend. That decision ended up being one of the most important and best decisions of my life.

To save the money I needed for the trip I worked a ridiculous number of hours of hard labor at a box factory of all places and took any other odd jobs that I could find that summer. When September came around my friend and I flew standby to Brussels with the vaguest of plans, our precious travelers checks (no ATM cards back then!), a copy of Let’s Go Europe, and a sense of excitement that I cannot possibly put into words. Before that time I had never been more than 400 miles away from where I was born, and here I was about to backpack around Europe!

That three and a half month trip changed my life forever. The sense of wonder and excitement that I got from exploring different countries and cultures on my own never left me, and I knew without a doubt that travel would always be a big part of my life. Likewise, learning how to adapt to the unexpected while on the road made me much more confident in myself and prepared me for taking other worthwhile risks in life. And last but not least, getting outside of my ‘normal’ life and comfort zone to mix with people with such different lives and belief systems has enabled me to see our complex world in a much more open and understanding way.

Upon returning home from that auspicious trip back in 1985 I eagerly finished school, and I have been a regular career breaker ever since. Sprinkled all throughout my various stints in Corporate America and even after practicing law for a short while I have taken multiple extended trips abroad. From backpacking throughout different regions of the world, including a two year hiatus in Southeast and South Asia, to studying Spanish in Guatemala, to teaching English in Japan, to doing bits of volunteer work, I have taken breaks from work to recharge my batteries and to regain perspective.

And after my last job in Corporate America three and half years ago I decided to intertwine my livelihood even more closely with my love of travel. I simplified my life to give me the time and space to explore different opportunities, and I ended up starting a travel consulting business that has spread into travel photography as well. With my partner Shelley Seale, I co-wrote the book How To Travel For Free (or pretty Damn Near It!), and I likewise became the Director of Overseas Projects for a non-profit organization. Doing these things hasn’t always been easy, but it has certainly been well worth it.

Because travel has changed my life for the better in so many ways, I a firm believer that everyone should take an extended trip at least once in their lives. I can honestly say that I’ve never heard anyone who has done it say that they regretted it later, and at the same time I have heard plenty of people say that they HAVE regretted not taking the time to do it. So if you have been thinking about hitting the road, you really just need to make up your mind and take the plunge!

Keith’s website is Travel Sherpa Keith and you can follow him as @SherpaKeith on Twitter.

Shelley: A Passport to a New World — and Lifestyle

I got my first passport in my senior year of high school, in 1984. Up til that time I had only been to places in Texas and a few surrounding states (New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana) and to Mexico (you didn’t need a passport back then). My high school’s Spanish teacher, Doctora Rodriguez, was organizing a month-long European trip – and that is what I wanted for my high school graduation present. With all my heart and soul, desperately. Many other people would have perhaps thought that was $2,000 that could have bought a car, something longer lasting.

But the truth is that it is the car, or any other thing that could have been purchased with that money, which would have been gone long ago. Now, more than 25 years later, I still have fond memories of my first glimpses of London, the Eiffel Tower and Leaning Tower of Pisa (you could actually climb it then!). I remember looking down from my hotel window in Rome, after Italy had just won a huge soccer match, to see the complete gridlock party in the streets. That trip fueled a lifelong love of travel – and the curiosity and desire for learning that came with it.


Over the next 15 years I didn’t travel extensively, internationally. I started a career (my previous career in real estate), got married, had a child. I traveled here and there, but it wasn’t until I took my daughter to France when she was 10 years old that my next phase of life — that of a global wanderer — really began. Within the next few years I began to transition out of real estate, which was a career that sort of chose me and that I wasn’t passionate about, and into a full-time writing career.

I also began to transition my writing around travel writing. I still write about a lot of other topics in addition to travel, such as food, lifestyle, nonprofits, health and wellness — but part of my crafting of a new work life including crafting of a new whole life. See, I came to realize that we shouldn’t have to compartmentalize our lives. Work shouldn’t be some separate thing that you do for 1/3 of your life just to pay the bills. I wanted to create a life that reflected my passions, values, interests and beliefs — and that certainly included travel.

You don’t have to be a writer to do this. There are plenty of ways that people find to earn money on the road or to support a traveling lifestyle. I have several friends who come home and work and earn money (which they save) for months or years at a time, then hit the globe for months or years at a time on that money. Others work their way around the world doing bartending, odd jobs, child care, English language teaching, working on farms, etc. Still others start businesses that can be done online or become consultants who can work virtually from any location.

In today’s world, with the Internet and mobile phones as well as the new workplace norm of more freelancing, entrepreneurship and virtual offices, it’s much easier to make a living, and a life, while traveling. I encourage anyone to follow their dreams in this regard. Yes, it takes time and patience and a lot of hard (but mostly just consistent) work to make it happen. But if it’s really what you want, I promise you — if I can do it, so can just about anyone else!

Shelley’s website is and you can follow her as @shelleyseale on Twitter.

Join us on October 16, 2012 for our nationwide Meet, Plan, Go! events:

Austin | Boston | Chicago | Minneapolis | New York City

San Diego | San Francisco | Seattle | South Florida | Toronto

Meet, Plan, Go! 2012 Hosts
Monday, July 30th, 2012

Two weeks ago, we revealed which cities Meet, Plan, Go! is coming to in 2012. Now, we are excited to announce our fabulous hosts! We have many returning hosts and several new hosts. You’ll be able to get to know them more over the next two months, but here is a sneak peek at who they are. And be sure to check out their websites to see why they are excited to be hosting Meet, Plan, Go! this year.

Shelley Seale and Keith Hajovksy (new hosts) | Travel Sherpa Keith
Twitter: @shelleyseale | @SherpaKeith
Facebook: How to Travel For Free | Travel Sherpa Keith

Shelley has been traveling for 25 years and Keith has hit over 40 countries in his travels. Together, they wrote a book about traveling as close to free as possible and continue to center their lives on travel. Shelley is a professional writer who does about 50% travel writing, while Keith works as the director of a startup nonprofit organization and runs a tour company.

Lillie Marshall (returning host)
Around the World L | Teaching Traveling
Facebook:Around the World L | Teaching Traveling

After taking a year-long leave of absence to travel the world in 2009, Lillie returned to her teaching career with renewed energy and focus. Now, she is launching a movement to inspire and assist more teachers to travel, and more travelers to teach, thus transforming the educational experience of our world.

Lisa Lubin (returning host)
LL World Tour
Facebook:LL World Tour

After working in broadcast television for more than a decade, Lisa took a career break which turned into nearly 3 years traveling and working her way around the world. A three-time Emmy® Award winning television writer, producer/director, photographer and video consultant, Lisa’s writing and photography has been published by the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Smithsonian, Encyclopedia Brittanica and American Way Magazine.

Katie Aune (new host)
Katie Going Global
Twitter: @katieaune
Facebook: Katie Going Global

A former attorney, Katie left a job in fundraising and event planning last August to travel and volunteer in all 15 countries of the former Soviet Union. She will return home in September after a 13-month career break that included running a marathon in Estonia, teaching English in Russia and Tajikistan, volunteering with the national tourism board of Armenia, living with local families in Azerbaijan, and trying her best to speak Russian on a daily basis

Sherry Ott (former host and co-founder)
Twitter: @ottsworld
Facebook: Ottsworld Travel and Life Experiences

Sherry is a Co-Founder of Meet Plan Go! and is a refugee from corporate IT who is now a long term traveler, blogger and photographer.  Her travels include hiking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, traveling the globe house-sitting, volunteering in India and Nepal, driving 10,000 miles from London to Mongolia for the Mongol Rally and, most recently, walking 550 miles across Spain on the Camino de Santiago.

Elaine Masters (new city and new host)
Trip Wellness
Twitter: @tripwellness
Facebook: Elaine Masters Travel Wellness

Elaine is a travel writer, international scuba diver, award-winning author of Drivetime Yoga and a Yoga teacher. Her podcast, The Gathering Road, airs on the WRN and she has been mentioned in Women’s Day Magazine, San Diego Living and the Huffington Post. One of her favorite memories is teaching Flytime Yoga at 30,000 feet on a flight to Fiji!

Kristin Zibell (new host)
Take Your Big Trip
Twitter: @takeyourbigtrip
Facebook: Take Your Big Trip

In 2008, Kristin left marriage and corporate life to spend 2 years traveling to India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Volunteering, touring, trekking, photographing and blogging along the way, she used her past professional experience to pay for her adventures by consulting between trips. She settled in San Francisco in 2010 and writes a blog to inspire others to live their travel dreams.

Lori Stone (new host)
The Joy Guild
Twitter: @thejoyguild
Facebook: Art Camp for Big Kids

After 20 years in the corporate, nonprofit and technology sectors, Lori began a research sabbatical and career break this year. She is taking time off from contract management work to explore the world around her by leading creative art retreats, traveling, writing, learning, continuing outreach as a cancer survivor-turned-advocate, building communities and – most importantly – having fun.

Jillian & Danny Tobias (new hosts)
I Should Log Off
Twitter: @ishouldlogoff
Facebook: I Should Log Off

Jillian and Danny traveled around the world for 21 months, traversing famous overland routes like Capetown to Cairo and the old silk road. Experts in budgeting and financing your dream, they have been featured by finance and business writers from The New York Times, Sun-Sentinel, and US News & World Report. In 2011, the couple started Doughhound, a budgeting website to help others achieve their financial goals.

Janice Waugh (returning host)
Solo Traveler Blog
Facebook:Solo Travel Society

Janice has enjoyed many forms of travel at different times of life…20-something travel, family travel, and career break travel. As publisher of Solo Traveler, author of The Solo Traveler’s Handbook and moderator of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook, she aims to inspire others to discover the world as they discover themselves.She has spoken at The Smithsonian on solo travel and has been quoted in many media outlets including CNN, the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, LA Times and USA Today.

Join us on October 16, 2012 for our nationwide Meet, Plan, Go! events:

Austin | Boston | Chicago | Minneapolis | New York City

San Diego | San Francisco | Seattle | South Florida | Toronto

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