Posts Tagged ‘blog’

Life on the Road: Bert & Patty
Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

[singlepic=1579,250,,,right]It has been three months since the three couples from our Career Breaker Round-Up have hit the road, so we thought it would be fun to check in and see how they have been adjusting to life on the road! The fun part is that all three took off in completely different directions, so they’ll have very different cultural experiences to share as well.

We’re checking in next with Christine and Paul of Bert & Patty, who started their travels by getting married in the Cook Islands! They have just started exploring Australia after spending that past couple of months in New Zealand.

What has been the most difficult thing to adjust to on the road?

There are so many things to adjust to while traveling for an extended period of time. For us, the most difficult thing has been having to continually carry around our food, and creative menu planning. While we were traveling in the US, we had a rental car and could keep a cooler in the car and transfer our groceries to the refrigerators once in a hostel. That was really convenient. Now that we’re traveling by the Stray Bus, we have two bags of groceries that we carry with us. One bag is for food that needs to be kept cold (milk, etc), and one for food that can be kept at room temperature (apples, oatmeal, etc).

When we were at home, like most people, we would shop for 3-4 weeks worth of groceries at a time. On the road, we aren’t getting that wonderful Costco buy-in-bulk discount. We can only shop for 2-3 days of groceries since we only have two bags for storage. We’re eating a lot of the same staple foods as well: muesli and oatmeal for breakfast – rice and pasta dishes for dinner – Leftover rice and pasta dishes for lunch the following day. It can get very monotonous.


Life on the Road: Two Backpackers
Monday, November 16th, 2009

[singlepic=1577,300,,,right]It has been three months since the three couples from our Career Breaker Round-Up have hit the road, so we thought it would be fun to check in and see how they have been adjusting to life on the road! The fun part is that all three took off in completely different directions, so they’ll have very different cultural experiences to share as well.

We’re checking in first with Jason and Aracely of Two Backpackers, who started their travels in Central America. So far they have experienced Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

What has been the most difficult thing to adjust to on the road?

JC: The constant get up and go, packing and unpacking. I can easily adjust to a new location, but right when I do, we have to get back on the road again. Constantly traveling does take a toll on the body and mind, and some days you just need to rest and recuperate.

AS: I don’t think I did a good job at picking the right clothes to bring. I have 3 hiking shorts that I never wear. I should have kept it to one hiking shorts and more casual clothes. We have done quite a few hikes but we are in towns most of the time. And I just wish I had a different selection of clothes. Such a girl answer, I know.

Are there any thoughts of what you left behind that keeps you up at night?

JC: Nothing keeps me up at night because I know I am not traveling forever. Other travelers that I have communicated with describe their homecoming as if they never left. I also believe that not much will have changed in a year’s time, except for my two young nephews that are growing up as I type.

AS: I have a teenage brother that I worry about. He’s at a difficult age, I worry about him often.


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.


Manali & Terry – Adjusting to Life on the Road
Monday, October 19th, 2009

[singlepic=1559,300,,,right]For many experiencing long-term travel for the first time, the first few weeks on the road can sometimes be the most emotional time. You may feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster as you feel excitement about your new environment one moment, and stress about what you left behind the next. But it’s all part of the journey!

Manali and Terry, a couple from Atlanta, Georgia who started their one-year career break in August of 2009, shared with us the emotions they experienced in their first weeks of travel in Asia.

1. What has been the most difficult thing to adjust to on the road?
Manali & Terry: Routine things taking two or three times as long as before. Certain small everyday things themselves are not difficult, but we feel that the general departure from the familiar to something new can be challenging at times. For example, at home we would hop into our car, drive to our favorite grocery store, pick up our favorite flavor of ice cream, know the price and pay.

[singlepic=1555,250,,,left]This now becomes: figure out how to communicate that you need something to eat, act out that you want to go to a store, get directions, reconfirm the directions on the internet, reconfirm again with a local that you are walking in the right direction, get to the store, try to figure out where the ice cream is located, make sure it’s mint flavored (not green tea or lime or any another green item), make sure it’s not expired (most items we have found are way past expiry!), haggle over the price, then pay in local currency. Although, still fun, it can be exhausting when it occurs multiple times a day. Whew!

It feels like no matter how flexible you are and whatever lifestyle you live currently, you will still have to expect a departure from your routine and be prepared to be patient for everything from finding a place to eat to finding a new way to unwind after a long day.


Vietnam: Saigon as an Expat
Friday, October 16th, 2009

[singlepic=1552,250,,,right]After her original 16-month career break, Sherry Ott decided not to go return to the “Briefcase” world and settled in Vietnam, teaching English for a year.

As an expat living in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Sherry wanted to embrace life as a local, which included learning to navigate the hectic streets by motorbike. For many countries, motorbikes are the main source of travel – it’s not uncommon to see people transport livestock, refrigerators, and families of 5 or more on two wheels, even during a monsoon. And rather than just become another passenger, Sherry decided that she wanted to take control of the motorbike.

[singlepic=1554,250,,,left]Though her rented bike spent it’s first weeks parked in her living room, Sherry eventually got over her fear of taking it on the road, even obtaining a “license” in hopes of being a legal driver.

In her “Motorbike Diaries”, Sherry opens up about the ups and downs of this experience, with witty observations of the motorbike culture in Vietnam. And within time, she finds herself to be fitting right in – masks and rain ponchos included.


Colombia Overview
Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Colombia is not usually the top travel destination for Americans. But after living in Colombia for six months, David Lee shows us why it should be.

[singlepic=1545,200,,,right]Colombia is not the first, second, nor even the third destination most travelers have in mind when planning a trip to South America, which is exactly why it can be so rewarding to visit. While the rest of the world remains scared away by outdated stereotypes and Hollywood movies, curious travelers can explore a variety of dynamic cities, traditional pueblo towns, and undeveloped tropical beaches.

Safety is the primary concern on everyone’s mind when considering Colombia as a tourist destination. President Uribe, currently in his second term, is widely credited with marginalizing the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and opening up the country’s main roads for safe travel. While visitors should continue to guard against robbery and theft, the likelihood of being kidnapped around any of the main tourist destinations is minimal. Drug and gang-related violence tends to be targeted, thus you are unlikely to be affected unless you are purposefully hanging out with the wrong crowd. Feeling better?


Help Send Sherry Ott to Antarctica!
Monday, August 3rd, 2009

[singlepic=1497,300,,,right]Quark Expeditions is searching for an Official Blogger to join one of their voyages to Antarctica, and I couldn’t think of a better person than Briefcase to Backpack co-founder Sherry Ott!


Sherry has been blogging for the past three years on her Otts World site – first during her 16-month career break around the world and now as an expat living in Vietnam. You may think I’m a bit biased, but I fell in love with her writing well before we met and decided to start this site. So if that helped to inspire Briefcase to Backpack, who knows what this expedition could inspire!

In addition to her witty and engaging writing, Sherry has embraced her love for photography while traveling and has become very skilled in transporting you to a place through her photos. I know the combination of these two skills will make anyone feel as if they are on the journey with her.


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.”


Testimonial: Rebecca Zanatta
Thursday, May 7th, 2009

[singlepic=1454,200,,,right]In 2006 my husband and I sold our house in Chicago; quit our jobs; hung up our tailored suits; and spent eight months on an adventure of a lifetime. We backpacked (only three pairs of shoes) and limited ourselves to one 14kg backpack each. We traversed 25 countries on four continents that included 25 flights, 46 bus rides, 12 boat trips, 11 trains, and multiple other modes of transportation including a pedi-cab my husband peddled himself in India and a donkey in Petra. Our journey allowed us an opportunity to see parts of the world many don’t ever have the opportunity to see. I couldn’t even spell Uzbekistan let alone tell you where it was located before our trip!


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.


Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go