Posts Tagged ‘Minneapolis’

MPG 2012 Minneapolis Host: Katie Aune
Wednesday, September 19th, 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 Minneapolis Host: Katie Aune

My biggest mistake in taking my career break?

I waited too long.

Hindsight is twenty-twenty and, looking back, the perfect time for my career break would have been 2006. I had just sold my condominium in Chicago in an attempt to downsize and prepare myself to change careers from being an attorney to being…something else.

That was back when the economy was still doing okay and I walked away from that condo with a nice chunk of change in the bank. I entertained faint visions of taking time off to travel but the idea seemed so far out there to me, I didn’t even really seriously think about it. It just didn’t seem possible.

Instead, I rented for a year, changed careers and then promptly bought a new condo.

Two years later, I started dreaming of travel again.

This time, the idea hovered in my mind a bit longer but it still seemed like a pipe dream. I didn’t know anyone who had traveled for an extended period of time and I just didn’t know how I would make it work. I had a condo, I had a job, I had cats. Nonetheless, I spent nearly all of my free time dreaming about possible routes and itineraries. Slowly but surely, the idea morphed into a very loose plan. I started actually telling people what I wanted to do, but it sounded crazy coming out of my mouth.

I don’t know that anyone really believed I would actually go through with it.

Months passed and I bought up every guidebook I could find and made list after list of online resources. I started reading travel blogs and started my own. I joined Twitter and started following travel folks, which is how I am pretty sure I first heard of Meet, Plan, Go!

However it happened, I found myself sitting in a room at REI in Chicago in September, 2010. I was surrounded by people who loved to travel. I listened to the host, Lisa Lubin, explain how she left her career to travel and ended up being gone nearly three years and making a new career out of it. I soaked up information about insurance and packing and itinerary planning. And when the event ended, I practically ran over to panelist Megan Kearney, who had traveled solo through Central Asia – the exact area that I wanted to visit.

Suddenly, it all seemed possible.

A year later, I was part of that panel – via Skype from Veliky Novgorod, Russia.

Two years later, I am thrilled to be hosting the Meet, Plan, Go! event in Minneapolis.

How did I get here?

After that inaugural Meet, Plan, Go! event in Chicago, I joined the online Basic Training course, where I was able to find even more practical information, inspiration and community. I went to local meet-ups and got to know Lisa and Megan better, while also connecting with others planning to hit the road as well. I put my condo on the market and when it didn’t sell after six months, I came up with a Plan B. I figured out a way to make things work financially while renting it out instead. I started listing things to sell on Craigslist, increased my monthly bank transfers to savings and picked up some freelance work through Elance to make extra money. In February 2011, I announced to friends and family I would leave on my 35th birthday, just six months later.

By late July, I secured a tenant for my condo, gave notice at work and found a new home for my cat.  I sold all my furniture and moved the rest of my belongings to my parents’ basement in Minnesota.

And on August 30, 2011, I boarded a plane to Helsinki, Finland.

In the last year, I ran a marathon in Estonia, taught English in Russia and Tajikistan, traveled the length of the Trans-Siberian Railway, studied Russian in St. Petersburg and Kiev, crossed the Black Sea by ferry from Ukraine to Georgia, volunteered with the national tourism board in Armenia, lived with local families in Azerbaijan and camped in the desert among ancient ruins in Turkmenistan.

I also picked up some freelance travel writing work and joined the Meet, Plan, Go! team as managing editor, which together have allowed me to extend what was going to be a ten-month trip into a thirteen-month journey.

The road has not always been smooth – I probably have experienced more bumps than most do, ranging from hellish homestays to horrid weather conditions (visiting Ukraine when it is -30C is not ideal!). And I still had things to deal with at home which sometimes put a damper on my feeling of complete freedom. But as much as I stressed and worried about things along the way, the biggest lesson I learned was that things always have a way of working out.

My only regret? That I didn’t do it sooner.

Katie is a Minnesota native and recent Chicago resident who started dreaming of traveling and seeing the world at a young age.  But aside from a church mission trip to Mexico when she was 14, she didn’t leave the country for the first time until she took a 23 day tour to Europe after finishing law school in 2001. She spent the next ten years making the most of her vacation time by taking short trips to Australia, Egypt, Peru, Norway and all over western Europe.

A self-professed “recovering attorney,” Katie left a job in educational fundraising and event planning last August to travel and volunteer in all 15 countries of the former Soviet Union. She returns home September 25 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.  In addition to being obsessed with travel, Katie is a sports fanatic, running enthusiast and gluten-free since 2010. You can read more about her adventures on her blog, Katie Going Global, or follow her on Twitter at @katieaune.

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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