Posts Tagged ‘national event’

MPG 2012 San Diego Host: Elaine Masters
Monday, September 17th, 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 San Diego Host: Elaine Masters

Another lifetime ago, I opened the mailbox one afternoon, found an envelope and ran into the house to call and confirm that I’d won an award for a radio drama I’d produced. Then the reality set in. I had just returned to Portland, Oregon from an amazing 21 days of wandering in Thailand and was expected to be in New York City in two weeks. Turns out that I had a place to stay and frequent flier miles were even offered but I didn’t go! It was “just too much, just impossible,” I told myself and felt more responsible, more righteous for the decision.

But it wasn’t impossible. I stopped myself from going with false humility. It felt like just too much happiness! Fool that I am, I asked a friend who lived in New York to attend and pick up the award for me. My life might have taken a different turn if I’d gone and met the other recipients, the other producers and who knows who else. I turned away from the blessing and back to my safe, predictable world. I’ve regretted it ever since.

I think of it now and wonder about that momentary blip of short-sightedness in a life that’s full of long adventures. While living in Juneau, Alaska, my boyfriend came home resolved to convince me to join him on a 6 month sabbatical to wander the world. I resisted for a few days and then built my defense, made an appointment with my boss at the public radio station I was working at and stepped into possibility. Two friends agreed to job share my position and soon I was off to backpack though the world. Spending weeks driving around the English countryside in a rusted out van, camping throughout the chateau region of France, island-hopping through Greece and nearly a month combing through the wonders, waters and temples of Sri Lanka still fuels my wanderlust. At the end of the trip, I not only still had a job but because I had been gone and out of office politics, was offered a better position!

Since then I’ve managed to live modestly and find work that allows some freedom to travel, but still run into the juggling act between the desire to go, responsibility and finally just doing it.

Two years ago I was invited to join friends on a road trip through New Zealand’s South Island. I can’t say that it was on my bucket list but after poking around the internet couldn’t believe the beauty of the place. It again felt like too much! I couldn’t justify the time away from work, family, pets – the list went on.

This time, however, I stopped thinking and simply knew I had to go. It turned out that journey opened my life to new possibilities, new friendships and alliances that I could never have anticipated. They were there for the taking. The delight of long days wandering through astounding valleys (think ‘Lord of the Rings’ vistas), the fun of white water rafting, filming friends bungee jumping over canyon rivers, slipping out of the summer heat and toasting each other in an ice bar, the astounding Milford Sound and it’s staggering, primordial cliffs –only stoked my desire to explore more.

Another trip materialized a few months later! Again I couldn’t rationalize going but soon found myself teaching Flytime Yoga at 30,000 feet to a group of drowsy underwater photographers en route to Fiji. It was another unbelievable adventure – swimming with sharks, night diving, meeting other world travelers. Again my business and life were enhanced in dozens of surprising ways. The ripple effects continue to amaze me.

My usual gratitude practice centers on a day well lived; on health, friends, having a safe, quiet place to live and work that inspires me. I could never have anticipated the boon travel has given me and now that I’ve learned to say yes, new opportunities continue to sweep into this otherwise simple life. I’m still learning to open up and receive. My independent spirit is relinquishing its misguided, knotted resistance and unfolding.

When I can’t be on the road, I travel vicariously through the community of travelers that has been growing in San Diego. Meet, Plan, Go! has helped me be of greater service, to connect ever more deeply with my fellow humans and all the species we share this amazing planet with.

So go, just say Yes!

Elaine J. Masters grew up taking road trips and is a travel writer, international scuba diver, award-winning author of Drivetime Yoga and a Yoga teacher. She’s lived in many major cities (and a few smaller ones) along the west coast from Juneau, Alaska to San Diego, CA. Her podcast, The Gathering Road, airs on the WRN. Her stories and travel tips are at and

Elaine’s been mentioned on NBC New York Go Healthy, Women’s Day Magazine, San Diego Living,, Huffington Post, Meetings & Conventions Magazine & She has spoken at NATJA, SYTAR, San Diego Meeting Planners, hospitals, hospice, businesses and networking groups helping commuters, business and recreational travelers stay happy, pain free and productive. One of her favorite memories is teaching Flytime Yoga at thirty thousand feet on a flight to Fiji!

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

Photo Friday: Mathura, India
Friday, September 14th, 2012

Today’s Photo Friday comes from Meet, Plan, Go! Austin panelist  Greg Davis.

Greg captured the shot earlier this year on a train trestle over the Yamanu River in Mathura, India.  He says, “I see the image as a juxtaposition of time, a meeting, the crossroads of progress and tradition.  The clean industrial lines enveloping the biblical like character speak to our ever need to continue to move forward while at the same time honoring our past.”

You can hear more about Greg’s travels at the Austin Meet, Plan, Go! event on October 16 or check out his photography on his website, Greg Davis Photography.

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

Take the First Step: Attend Meet, Plan, Go!
Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Austin | Boston | Chicago | Minneapolis | New York City

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

Tickets on sale now!

On October 16, 2012, we will be hosting our third annual nationwide event in 10 cities to inspire people to fulfill their career break and long-term travel dreams – and you can get your tickets now!

For less than the cost of a movie and popcorn – just $20 – you can take the first step toward making your travel dreams a reality!

The event will offer participants the opportunity to MEET inspirational speakers and like-minded travelers; get motivation, contacts and resources necessary to PLAN the trip of a lifetime; and start taking concrete steps forward to GO on that global adventure.

Because we live in a society that doesn’t find value in taking time off, we wanted to create a community for people who want to break out of the norm and travel for an extended period of time,” says co-founder Sherry Ott. “This is the only seminar out there designed for people who are looking to do long term independent travel.”

Every event will feature individuals and travel experts who have fulfilled their own world travel dreams. Speakers will address the main concerns that prevent people from taking a career break, usually centered around financial, career-related, societal, and safety concerns.

What You Get

Breakout sessions will focus on various aspects of long term travel planning such as:

? Preparation checklists
? Packing tips
? Saving money
? How to find volunteer opportunities
? Planning a purposeful itinerary
? Choosing the right insurance, and
? How to find local experiences when you travel.

Each attendee will leave with a wealth of travel information, plus:

? Getting Rid Of It e-book – kickstart your career break planning with this e-book from Warren and Betsy Talbot!  In 2008 Warren and Betsy put their decluttering and downsizing skills to the ultimate test: Getting rid of everything to travel around the world. How much travel could your junk buy you? Only one way to find out!

? Electronic Goody Bag full of special discounts and promotions from our sponsors which will help you plan your career break travels.

? The chance to win a trip for 2 to Turkey from our sponsor, Intrepid Travel.

Stay tuned as we will be announcing more giveaways and surprises soon!

What People Are Saying

Over 1,000 people attended last year’s event – 40% of whom were in a trip planning stage pre-event. In a post-event survey, that number rose to 54%.

It’s so valuable to hear from other people that have gone on these long trips when you’re contemplating going on one yourself.It validates it, and after attending you really feel like you can make the trip a reality sooner than I thought going into it.” – 2011 Chicago attendee

We were given insightful, honest and practical information from caring, professional travelers who know the ins and outs of long-term travel.” – 2011 Toronto attendee

Phenomenal panels, sponsors and just an all-round great time. Instant inspiration!” – 2011 New York attendee


We want career breaks to be more acceptable in America,” says Ott. “In fact, it is our goal to see a career break on every resume. And with the support of our 10 inspiring hosts, their panelists, and our sponsors, including Intrepid Travel, Insure My Trip, BootsnAll, and International TEFL Academy we are making great inroads to achieving that goal.”

MPG 2012 Chicago Host: Lisa Lubin
Wednesday, August 29th, 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 Chicago Host: Lisa Lubin

I’m going to go travel around the world for a year.’ That’s the line I told my friends and colleagues back in 2006 after the idea to take a career break sort of snuck up on me and implanted itself in my brain.

And now six years later, well, in some ways I am still on my break, depending on the definition.

On a Path…

I’d worked in broadcast television for thirteen years and had a very defined life and career before my long term travels. I was on a path. To what? I am not sure. But I was on the all-American path paved by generations before me. University. Career. Home ownership. I was the picture of ‘success:’  I owned a car. I owned a condo. I had a cat (now that screams success!).  I was in a long term, serious relationship. Heck, I even had a 401K. Well, I still do actually. Just because I chucked it all, doesn’t mean I turned into an irresponsible ne’er do well after all.

Veering Off

And then the planets aligned, well, at least inside my head really, and I saw an escape and a way and a new path. So I swerved. I got off the fast highway-to-nowhere and slowed it all down.  I just did it. The decision may seem big in retrospect, but at the time, I just took one thing at a time.  I traveled to far off places. I met amazing people. I tried new foods. And I really took time to smell it all – the figurative roses, the pungent odors in hot trams of Istanbul, and the fresh sea air in Wales.

At the same time expected and unexpected, and planned and unplanned, my life has morphed into something it wasn’t before. And I am not just talking about the three years I actually was traveling consecutively, (yeah, one year became three), I’m talking about what my life has become now.

What is Work?

I never went back to a full time job, well not at least full time as defined for working for another employer.  And I’m not sure I ever feel like I am working full time, since now I am working for myself, so it feels so much different.

Some days I work very hard and never put this damn laptop down until well past midnight and I’m falling asleep on it.  Other days, I meet a friend for lunch or dinner or both or I’m traveling and I don’t get much laptop time in. It’s flexible and I’m free to do whatever I want. Of course with that comes the insecurity of when the next paycheck will come and how much longer I can sustain this new life.

But for now, I am so free, so happy that I wouldn’t change a thing.

Lisa Lubin is a three-time Emmy® Award winning television writer, producer/director, photographer, and video consultant. After more than a decade in broadcast television she decided to take a sabbatical of sorts which turned into nearly 3 years traveling and working her way around the world. She documents her (mis)adventures on her blog,, with photographs and articles from the road/train/rickshaw/camel. Her writing and photography has been published by the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Smithsonian, Encyclopedia Britannica, and American Way Magazine. She also runs LLmedia, a video consulting business. Lisa loves cheese and kittens, but not together.

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

MPG 2012 South Florida Hosts: Jillian & Danny Tobias
Wednesday, August 22nd, 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 South Florida Hosts: Jillian & Danny Tobias

What’s in Your Travel Web?

Remember in elementary school when your teacher stood in front of the class and taught word associations?

Blue is to sky as green is to grass,” the teacher would say.  “Hard is to pavement as soft is to pillow.

These simple exercises created a web in our brains, associating words, experiences and memories into our pattern of communication.  For me, travel is a web of associations.  It’s not a singular word or a series of experiences; it is a web of experiences that build, influence and complement each other.

Travel is to explore. To explore is to take chances.  To risk is to experience. To experience is to feel.

To feel is to make a memory.  To remember is to want for more.

My travel web started small, incomplete and somewhat fragile.  When I left as a teenager for a trip in the United Kingdom, I had little idea of the path I was starting to lay out for myself.  Three weeks passed in a flash and before I knew it that trip had faded into the darkness of my memory.  Years later I spent a few weeks in France, then Canada, and finally I studied in Italy.  To this day I’m not quite sure what pushed me to make the impulsive decision to spend a few months in Italy; it must have been something lurking in my web.

You see, my travel web is made up of emotions.

For me, travel is an intensely emotional experience.  It’s emotions that are triggered when I hear the muezzin call Muslims to prayer, smell cinnamon and cardamom in a market, and taste the juice of a passion fruit.  Joy, surprise, happiness, mystery, reflection, excitement, existence, these are the emotions that I associate with travel.   The moment I leave and the moment I return I dip into my web, fishing around for the right emotions.   90% of the time I can never catch the right one.

But that is ok.

Because a web is there to catch you when you can’t catch yourself.  When you feel excited to leave on a career break when you know you should be at least a little afraid.  When you feel afraid even though you’re about to reach for your dream. When you feel sadness at returning home even though you are heading into the arms of loved ones and when you feel longing to be back on the road when you’ve just gotten settled.Your travel web – the association of experiences, feelings and memories you create yourself as you explore the world – is there to catch you.  You don’t need to build the largest, strongest or tightest web in order to break to follow your dream.  You simply need to trust it.  If you’ve never been out of the country, that doesn’t negate a trip around the world.   If you’ve never taken your two weeks of vacation that doesn’t prevent you from broaching the topic of a career break sabbatical with your boss.  It simply means you’ll have to learn to trust yourself and trust your web.

On the first day of my 21 month trip around the world I didn’t know where I was sleeping that night.  It was an immediate far cry from the “type A” personality that walked briskly down the hall of a multistory office building the month before.  I think I left that personality at the border. Over the next few weeks and months I broke nearly every travel rule I had laid out for myself – no overnight buses (broken on the first night!), no meat from street vendors (broken on day 2), don’t drink the water.  Looking back, it was my travel web that saved me – the trust and emotions I had built into that web were what allowed me to take the changes, weigh the risks and reap the rewards of a journey around the world that changed my life.

That’s the best thing about your travel web – it is constantly expanding, reaching for new areas and filling with new experiences.  It is flexible, stretchy and the associations you make, the experiences you have will only serve to enrich your web so that they next time you can stretch a bit further, push a bit harder and go a bit longer.

Jillian and Danny Tobias traveled around the world for 21 months, traversing famous overland routes like Capetown to Cairo and the old silk road from Istanbul to Beijing. They conquered mini-buses on four continents and enjoyed street food in fifty countries, all without a single broken bone or parasite!

Experts in budgeting and financing your dream, Jillian and Danny 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 a budgeting website to help others achieve their financial goals, Doughhound. Jillian transitioned from a corporate career to owning her own media relations business after her career break.   You can follow her on Twitter as @IShouldLogOff or connect on Facebook.

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

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

Inspired by Meet, Plan, Go!
Monday, August 13th, 2012

Thumbing through my daily devotional book, the April 20 reading caught my attention:  “Want to know God’s will for your life?  Then answer this question: What ignites your heart?”  (from Grace for the Moment)

I knew MY answer.

My heart is “ignited” by opportunities to travel and to make an impact on other peoples’ lives through volunteer/mission work and cultural immersion.  Putting those passions together with my God-given gifts was the start of my dream to “Travel with a Purpose.”

There were so many things I wanted to experience while traveling—cultural exchanges, international volunteering, mission work, and even working seasonal jobs.  But, I knew I could never do it with 14 vacation days per year.  Soon, there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t find myself contemplating leaving behind everything I knew in order to have the opportunity travel around the world.

It began to consume all of my thoughts, and so last October, when I heard about the Meet, Plan, Go! event, I knew I had to go.


The purpose of Meet, Plan, Go!  is to “encourage and teach others how to travel the world and have it be beneficial to your career.”  Last year’s event in Orlando was an opportunity for me to get inspiration, encouragement, and advice for my career break plans and to MEET current/former career breakers, such as Mike & Catrell Cooney of Cooney World Adventure, Jillian Tobias of I Should Logoff (hosting the South Florida event this year!), Shannon O’Donnell of A Little Adrift, Cheryl MacDonald & Lisa Chavis of What Boundaries and Ben Reed of Adventures with Ben.


My ultimate decision to be a “career-breaker” got more serious about 2 years ago but my specific planning didn’t intensify until about 6 months prior to my departure date.

Here’s my planning checklist:

6 months prior

? Research visas, vaccinations, gear, insurance, volunteer opportunities, travel plans, etc.

? Consider taking up travel blogging (to document your trip).

? Apply for/Renew passport if necessary (most countries require your passport to be valid for at least 6 months beyond the period of your intended stay).

? Register your career break with Meet, Plan, Go!

5 months prior

? Plan itinerary—to whatever extent you’re comfortable.

? Buy gear and supplies so you have time to try it out & break it in.

? Set up a Skype account to stay in touch with friends & family back home.

? Set up a DropBox account for easy access to your computer files.

? Get any required vaccinations.

4 months prior

? Book plane tickets and reserve accommodations (especially if traveling during busy season).

? Apply for any volunteer programs in which you plan on participating.

3 months prior

? Visit a travel doctor.

? Begin filling prescriptions (especially if you’re going to need Malaria prophylaxis).

2 months prior

– Apply for international and/or domestic medical insurance.

– Obtain any required visas.

1 month prior

? Change address and/or arrange for someone to handle “business things” for you while you’re gone.

? Take pictures of credit cards, passports, visas, etc. and email to yourself (if you lose them overseas, at least having a photo will make getting an emergency replacement a lot easier).

? Notify credit/debit card companies of travel.

I tend to think, if I could pull THIS off, planning a wedding one day will be a piece of cake!


Last October, inspired by the Meet, Plan, Go! event, I took the first committal steps to GO for my dream—I submitted 3 volunteer applications and got a plane ticket for 90 days in Europe, making it that much harder to turn back.  I wanted to use these opportunities to serve God’s purpose for my life and to make use of the gifts, abilities, and passions that He’d given me.

Not surprisingly, as reality began to set in, fear also crept in—fear that I would fail or that I wouldn’t be able to get a job when I returned.  And, fear is the enemy of progress.  As Max Lucado said, “at the beginning of every act of faith, there is often a seed of fear.

But, endless possibilities exist when you’re willing to make a change.  And, I was confident that if I was doing my best to follow God’s Will, everything would be ok.  It may not turn out how I think it should, but it will turn out exactly how God wants it to.

Sarah Schauer began her career break in June 2012 with a domestic seasonal opportunity before heading to Europe, Africa, South America, and New Zealand. She’s a financial analyst by career, but also plays beach volleyball, volunteers with foreign exchange students, and enjoys hiking & the outdoors.  She’s a Christian who feels blessed to be able to experience this adventure of a lifetime participating in international volunteer opportunities, all out of the desire to make a difference in the lives of others and experience cultural immersion.  You can follow Sarah during her experiences at her website, Travels With a Purpose.

MPG 2012 San Francisco Host: Kristin Zibell
Wednesday, August 8th, 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 2012 San Francisco Host: Kristin Zibell

On the Other Side are Your Travel Dreams

Recently, at a beautiful sun-soaked wedding in California’s wine country, I met two travel dreamers – they had fully-formed travel dreams in their head. Jay, a tall man with white hair who put the sport in sport jacket, wanted to sail around the world for two years; to take off from the East Coast of the United States and end up two years later on the Pacific Coast. His perfectly-coiffed wife, Liz, wanted to work with animals…a cruise to the Galapagos or perhaps observing Silverback gorillas in Africa.

Their travel dreams were inspired by their son, a former cubicle resident who put in five years at a big five services firm and was now captaining tourist sailboats off the coast of Croatia. I thought that was much more exciting and said so. Liz assured me that he was headed for a top 10 business school in the fall, as if I would be worried that somehow he’d fallen off of life’s map.

I shared with them that I work with an organization that encourages people to do something similar – take sabbaticals for a year or so to travel the world. I had taken my own sabbatical from 2008 and 2010 and it was the best choice I had made. “How did you do that?” Jay asked.

I answered simply, “I left my corporate job, started to travel, worked as a consultant to pay for trips, and came back.”

You just came back? What about your career?” he inquired.

That was it – the big question, what happens to my career after traveling long-term? In working on my blog and with Meet Plan Go!, first as a panelist last year and this year as San Francisco’s host, I found that would-be travelers feel like their career will go into a big black hole if they leave them. I assured Jay that it did not, explaining “I found a job that uses all my skills and made more money than I ever have. My career is my own. I think about what I want my life to be like and shape my work to fit it.”

Not only did my career avoid the black hole trajectory (and so many other long-term travelers will attest to the same), I am living the life that I have always dreamed: a world traveler who’s settled down in San Francisco, working at a job I enjoy, travel writing and blogging, and having fun with an incredible network of friends.

And all that happened because I went in the direction of my dreams and trusted my gut along the way.

Jay seemed partially satisfied with my response and joked that he’d sail around the world and return to the job I promised him after being in the engineering business for 32 years. I smiled, hoping that he would realize that he had 32 years of professional experience and could name his own terms when he returned. After our talk, I sat and reflected on the conversation and realized how much fear of the unknown keeps people in jobs they don’t like and careers that own them. This Rumi quote captures it best:

“Why do you stay in prison, when the door is so wide open?”

My hope is that we all realize that on the other side of departure, are our dreams. It’s certainly what I want Meet Plan Go! attendees to realize after they attend the 2012 event on October 16th.

Walk through the door, on the other side, is your dream trip.

In 2008, Kristin Zibell left marriage and corporate life to begin living her travel dreams. She traveled around the world over the next two years to India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe—volunteering, touring, trekking, photographing and blogging along the way. To pay for her adventures, she used her past life’s professional experience to consult between trips. Traveling long term has changed her forever and now she writes the blog Take Your Big Trip to inspire others to live their travel dreams. After her last big trip in 2010, Kristin chose San Francisco as her new home and travels around the city discovering its treasures with her Treasure Map Project.

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

MPG 2012 Boston Host: Lillie Marshall
Wednesday, August 1st, 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 Boston Host: Lillie Marshall

Why Taking a Career Break Can Be Great for Your Career

I had just returned to the United States after a year-long leave of absence from teaching to travel around the world. I was unemployed, disoriented, and scared about my future.

Reader, is this what you fear will happen if you take a career break to travel? Read on to see how it turned out.

I squirmed nervously in the hard blue chair in my first job interview since returning to the United States.

I wasn’t going to call you back after you emailed your resume,” declared the director. “I mean, you have a pretty standard teacher background.”

I gulped, saddened.

But,” the director continued, smiling, “then I saw this line.”

She pointed to the words I’d typed under “Experience:”

Circumnavigated the globe for nine months to volunteer, launch two travel websites, and learn.

I grinned. I hadn’t been so sure how that fact would go over.

Remarkable world experience like that is rare,” mused the director, “and it’s something we search for in hiring a 21st century employee. We’d like to formally offer you the job.”

I silently cheered and told her I would get back to her. That evening I received five other responses to job applications I had submitted, all saying the same thing:

“We want you, because you’ve bravely seen the world as few have!”

Ultimately, I chose not to take any of those jobs. My year abroad made me realize how much I loved my former Boston Public Schools teaching job, and I was able to reenter the district in an even better position than I had left, thanks to the fact that I’d taken a leave of absence instead of signing resignation papers before leaving.

In addition to improving up my teaching career, taking a career break to travel has provided exceptional other career opportunities: freelance writing for the Huffington Post, speaking at the opening of the third biggest hostel in America with the Mayor of Boston, leading student trips abroad, presenting at education conferences, and more.

The moral of the story is this: It actually may be worse for your career to stay in your current job than to leave and follow your dreams!

Once you see the world, you’ll reenter the workforce with an almost magical resume, not to mention a new clarity of purpose and perspective.

Go travel! Don’t wait.

Lillie Marshall is a six-foot-tall Bostonian who began solo traveling during her college summers through Latin America. Directly after college, Lillie entered the Boston Public Schools as a high school English teacher and proceeded to teach for six fascinating and intense years.

In the summer of 2009, after much planning and saving, Lillie took an unpaid leave of absence from teaching to circumnavigate the globe. For the next nine months, she had a truly wonderful time sightseeing in Japan and Southeast Asia, volunteer teaching in Ghana, and writing like crazy in Iberia! You can read about the whole adventure at

Lillie is back in her hometown of Boston, totally re-energized in her public school teaching career. Seeing the difference that extended travel made in her career and her life, Lillie has launched a movement through to inspire and assist more teachers to travel, and more travelers to teach, thus transforming the educational experience of our world.

Lillie is thrilled to now have a career that combines teaching, writing, and travel… and helping guide great people like yourself to make their travel dreams a reality!

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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Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go