Posts Tagged ‘Websites’

Fresh Look in Time for Spring
Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Spring is a nice time to freshen up your look and refocus on your goals – and that’s just what we’ve done at Meet, Plan, Go! and Briefcase to Backpack. Not only have we updated our sites looks but we’ve also merged them together, enabling us to bring you the best career break advice, planning tools, resources and inspiration all in one place.

Meet, Plan, Go! & Briefcase to Backpack

We first launched Briefcase to Backpack as a place to share inspirational stories from various career breakers, helping others to realize they were not alone in their career break travel dreams. And with the Meet, Plan, Go! events, we brought that community to in person meetups. With the growing popularity of the events and additional planning resources such as our Career Break Basic Training course and community, we felt that it was time to bring all of these resources to one site.

So what can you expect from the newly merged site? We’ve broken it down to three simple tabs:


In this age of social media and online networking, the idea of face-to-face encounters seems to be dying out. But we see the strength and importance of these opportunities, and are “going retro” with our in person events. Here you can learn more about our nationwide event, local meetups, as well as previous events. EXPLORE MEET


You’ve made the big decision to take a career break for extended travel. Now comes the fun part – planning! Here you will find the tools and resources to assist with all of your career break planning needs, including information on our Career Break Basic Training, planning tools such as RTW tickets and Travel Insurance, reviews of some of our favorite travel and career-related books & gear, and destination inspiration. EXPLORE PLAN


Find the real inspiration to Go! by hearing others career break plans – from Contemplating and Preparation to Life On the Road and Re-Entry. This is where the inspirational stories from Briefcase to Backpack live, and they are still organized in the same fashion. EXPLORE GO!

We are also encouraging you to register your own career break, no matter what stage you are in, so that we can share your voice to inspire others.

So how do you get to the newly designed site? We still have the same URLs – so whether you use or you will be able to find us.

Take a look around and we look forward to sharing more exciting updates to the site as they develop.

Teaching Traveling: Inspiring Teachers to Travel
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

“Why should we care if teachers follow their travel dreams or not? Here’s one reason: if we teachers are telling students they can and should follow their dreams… shouldn’t WE do what it takes to follow our own travel dreams as well?”

Lillie MarshallWise words from our MPG Boston Host Lillie Marshall, who followed her dream and took a year-long Leave of Absence to travel around the world after 6 years of teaching in Boston Public Schools. But that dream almost didn’t see the light of day.

“Part of what nearly stopped me from taking a Travel Leave of Absence from my job as a public school teacher was guilt. ‘What will my students do without me?’ I wondered, worry gnawing at my stomach. ‘How can you do this to us?!’ wailed my coworkers when they found out about my impending Leave of Absence. ‘Do you realize how much you leaving will screw everything up?’

Thank heaven I didn’t cave into this guilt, because the reality is: after I left, the world as we knew it at my job did NOT end. In fact, I would assert that the state of Boston Public Schools is now BETTER since my Travel Leave.”

Lillie chronicled her adventures on AroundTheWorldL and is now inspiring and assisting more teachers to travel through her new site, Teaching Traveling. Why?

1. Happiness leads to effectiveness. First and foremost, a fulfilled, happy staff is the key to an energetic, powerfully effective organization. Going into my sixth year of teaching, I was getting tired, falling into a rut, and lacking sparkle. But now, after a year away, I return to Boston Public Schools with such renewed passion for teaching! And the students and my coworkers now appreciate that.

2. Have faith in humans!The students who I left on my year-long Leave of Absence didn’t have me as an English teacher, but they ended up having a lot of other great teachers that year. If you are being pressured not to leave because of the threat that ‘everything will fall apart,’ remind folks of the reality: humans have the ability to rise to a challenge. Your workplace WILL go on, and in fact, the new configuration might even cause a positive breakthrough for the whole organization!

3. If you decide to return to your workplace after a Travel Leave, what an asset you will be! Now that I’m back in BPS, I have a wealth of new curriculum from working with students in West Africa and beyond, I have a ton of contacts for teachers wanting guest contributors to their lessons and projects, and I have a veritable trove of resources for educators wishing to follow their own travel dreams. What would BPS rather have: 7 years of a tired, un-inspired teacher who never once took time to fulfill her own life goals by taking the risk of a Leave, or a zest-filled, world-traveling dynamo, freshly back from Around the World?

Teaching TravelingTeaching Traveling profiles teachers who have traveled, shows how they have done it, and shares how the experience has benefited them. You also meet travelers who have decided to teach – many of whom are teaching English overseas.

Lillie will also be hosting a night of travel inspiration for teachers and those who have dreams of teaching abroad.

During this event, you can connect with aspiring and expert Teacher-Travelers as well as representatives from related organizations. All types of Teacher-Travel will be discussed – from short-term to long term and educational to “non-educational.” You can also learn secrets of cheap travel from a diverse, interactive panel and speakers will discuss balancing travel with raising kids, dealing with a small bank account, and having no time.

Teaching Traveling Inspiration Night in Boston
Thursday, March 31 – 6:30-8:30pm
Elephant and Castle Restaurant, Lower Level
161 Devonshire Street – Boston, MA 02110
For more information and to RSVP

Help Build a Village in India
Monday, November 15th, 2010

Last year we wrote about one of our favorite websites – Passports with Purpose – which once a year brings together the travel blogging community to help raise funds for a special cause. Last year they raised $30,000 to help build a school in Cambodia (well above their goal of $13,000).

According to PwP co-founder, Beth Whitman, “The school is a humble building north of Siem Reap, close to the Thai border. Though simple as it is, it has tremendous meaning to the children who have an opportunity to learn there.”

Passports with Purpose India

We are proud to join Passports with Purpose this year in their goal to raise $50,000 to build an entire village in South India with Land for Tillers’ Freedom (LAFTI). The village is for the Dalits, India’s most neglected class of citizens.

The Lafti GroupTHE VILLAGE

For more than 50 years, LAFTI’s founders – Krishnammal Jagannathan and S. Jagannathan – have been committed to helping Dalits (India’s untouchables), especially women, with projects that include land distribution, cultivation, adult training, youth housing and housing construction. For less than $2,000, LAFTI can build a home, for which the land title is given to the woman of the household. Passports with Purpose aims to raise enough money to build approximately 25 homes to create the Passports Village in Karunganni, located in the state of Tamil Nadu.


In order to raise funds, dozens of travel bloggers have donated some incredible prizes – including us! For every $10 you donate, you will be entered into a drawing for the prize of your choice. So, for example, if you donate $30, you can chose to enter once for 3 prizes or 3 times for the same prize.

Visit the donation page for a complete list of prizes:

Some key dates to keep in mind:

  • Entries Open: November 15, 2010
  • Entries Close: December 13, 2010 at 11:59pm PST
  • Prize Winners Announced: December 17, 2010


Career Break Boot CampWe are thrilled to announce that we will be donating one membership to our Inaugural Meet, Plan, Go! Career Break Boot Camp (course begins January 9, 2011 and runs for 8-weeks).

What exactly do you need to make your travel and career break dreams come true? With Meet, Plan, Go! Career Break Boot Camp, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…and we’ve packed it all: 1. Inspiration, 2. Structure, and 3. Community

This online course and social learning platform is where people with the dreams of taking a career break or sabbatical to do extended travel can come together in a community learning environment. Designed by certified travel coach Tara Russell and career break travel gurus Michaela Potter and Sherry Ott, the course will provide you with inspiration, structure, community, resources, tools and motivation.

Learn more about the Boot Camp here.

Here are a few words from members of our Beta Boot Camp:

[Boot Camp has] exceeded my expectations! My mind has been opened to different opportunities that exist for travel and incorporating work and travel.

Your insights and experiences are invaluable and I cannot thank you enough for sharing them via the Boot Camp. Your passion is contagious and your encouragement is much appreciated, especially when the travel break mentality is not always mainstream in my daily world! I will be recommending the course to many friends.

Fantastic job – I can’t tell you how impressed I am that this is the first time you all have done something like this – everything about this site/course/your instruction and guidance leads me to believe I am not in a beta group, but working with a group that has done this a million times…and does it the right way. Kudos, and thank you so much for all of your time and efforts!

The Community has been a wonderful way to hear from similar minded travelers, the workbook & journaling have been extremely helpful in getting my thoughts out and seeing what new ideas form. Hands down though, the insights that each of you have shared from your experiences and the encouragement you’ve offered have been my favorite part of the course.

Thanks to the amazing sponsors of Passports with Purpose: BootsnAll, LiveMocha, Round the World with Us, HomeAway, Traveller’s Point, Hostelling International, Quintess, Raveable, TravelPost, and Uptake.

Meet, Plan, Go! Sponsors
Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

We are very excited to have several great sponsors supporting our Meet, Plan, Go! event on September 14, 2010. In addition to the local sponsors and venues, we have several National Sponsors who will be able to offer attendees valuable resources for their career break planning. And if that weren’t enough, they are also offering some incredible giveaways, including trips to Peru, Cambodia, and France. Check out what some of them are offering!


GAP Adventures A world leader in adventure travel, GAP Adventures offers more than 1,000 small group experiences, safaris and expeditions on all seven continents to more than 100,000 travellers a year. The company’s worldwide adventures focus on cultural interaction, wildlife encounters, and active travel.

We are thrilled to say that GAP Adventures will be giving away* one trip on their “The Inca Journey” tour! This 9-day adventure combines Andean culture, the most famous Inca ruin and the lush Amazon rainforest. Highlights include Cuzco, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu, Amazon Rainforest.

GeoVisionsGeoVisions offers exciting ways to experience first hand a new country, a town, a community through their volunteer abroad and teach abroad programs.

You have the ability to immerse yourself in a completely different land and culture while gaining a new cultural understanding. We are excited that GeoVisions will be giving away two volunteer experiences!

The first volunteer abroad program is a medical volunteer project in Cambodia. The second is a one month volunteer trip to France as part of their Conversation Corps program. And all attendees will receive $100 discount off of any GeoVision program! [restrictions will apply]


Career Break SecretsCareer Break Secrets offers fun and informative video travel guides and resources to places and activities you want to know more about for your often-dreamed-about career break, sabbatical or adult gap year. Their first season of video travel guides will feature career break activities in Spain, South Africa, New Zealand, Patagonia (both Argentina and Chile) and Colombia.

Globe Jotter Tours Globejotter Tours are travel adventures and creative writing lessons rolled into one. Their number one focus is on creating memorable travel experiences for small, down-to-earth groups. Along the way they offer classes to help you write personal travel memoirs and stories. They will be giving away copies of Globejotting: How to Write Extraordinary Travel Journals (and still have time to enjoy your trip!)” at every Meet, Plan, Go! location

Hostelling InternationalHostelling International USA (HI-USA) is America’s largest network of quality hostels and part of a global HI network of more than 4,000 hostels in over 80 countries. Come join our “Community of Travelers”!

Enter to win an HI-USA getaway weekend for 2 at your choice of either New York or Los Angeles/Santa Monica! Enjoy 2 nights shared accommodations | Continental breakfast | A local tour pass (TBA) | A local transportation pass

HI-New York is located in the heart of Manhattan, within easy access of Central Park, Broadway, Time Square, Museums, restaurants, clubs and all that the “Big Apple” has to offer!

HI-LA/Santa Monica is located in a relaxed neighborhood of shops, galleries and cafes just 2 blocks from the beach and the famous Santa Monica Pier and with easy access to Venice, Malibu, Hollywood, Beverly Hills and more!

Be sure to check out one of our 13 locations and come be inspired!

Favorite Website: Amateur Traveler
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

You’ve decided to fulfill your round-the-world travel dreams and are ready to book your ticket – but where to go? Look no further than Amateur Traveler for destination inspiration.

[singlepic=1783,555,,,left]The Amateur Traveler is an online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations and the best places to travel. According to Chris Christensen, “It covers everything from knowing what to put on your Chicago dog to swimming with whales in Tonga.” In addition to a weekly audio podcast, Chris also produces a twice montly video podcast and blog.

We love Amateur Traveler because there is no better way to learn about a destination and what to do than from people who have actually done it. How often do you take action on something based on a friend’s recommendation – whether it’s a restaurant or movie? Well think of Chris and his guests as friends that are giving you great travel advice.

[singlepic=1784,150,,,left]In the past five years, Chris has interviewed over 230 guests for his podcast, has produced more than 60 videos, and has even added on a weekly travel show: This Week in Travel. That’s a lot of inspiration to pull from! He even interviewed Sherry Ott (pre-Briefcase to Backpack) back in 2007 about traveling solo as a woman.

And if you sign up for the newsletter, you will receive his free eBook: “How to Save Money Booking Your Travel Online” – which serves as a nice supplement to our post “Let’s Go: Round the World Tickets”.

So check out Amateur Traveler and get ready to be inspired!

In the News: Networking for Briefcase to Backpack
Thursday, January 14th, 2010

[singlepic=1646,250,,,right]Since we launched the site last year, we have made many great connections through the power of social media (facebook, twitter, blogging). In fact, networking online has been our main source to finding great material and inspirational stories to share with you. After all, we do focus on the wonders of travel!

And even though we feel we have great ties with these virtual relationships, it is always wonderful to still network in person and to meet some of our virtual friends face-to-face. And that’s what we have been doing this week in San Francisco!

As Sherry Ott makes her way around the country visiting with friends and family since her return from Vietnam in November 2009, we decided to take advantage of her return to San Francisco (where she once lived) to network with many of our contacts. And the pay off will be passed on to you.

[singlepic=1647,200,,,left]Part of our goal for this year is to connect more with career experts to bring you the best advice on transitioning careers during your break. We’ve already introduced you to The Sabbatical Coach, Clive Prout, and we will also be working with Tara Russell, who offers life/career coaching and long-term travel planning through her company Three Month Visa. What was supposed to be an introductory coffee meeting turned into a four-hour brainstorming session where we developed many great ideas for collaborating together. We are very excited about some of the ideas that were born and can’t wait to share them with you.


Favorite Website: TED Talks – Ideas Worth Spreading
Thursday, January 7th, 2010

[singlepic=1636,250,,,right]In his recent guest post, Sabbaticals and the Pursuit of Happiness, Clive Prout makes reference to a video presentation on TED Talks given by Dr. Martin Seligman.

If you don’t know what TED Talks is, you should! TED is a small nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”. It started out as a conference bringing people together from the worlds of Technology, Entertainment, and Design (thus, the TED). During the annual conference, attendees get to hear riveting talks (18 minutes in length) by more than 50 remarkable people.

The site TED Talks grew out of the idea to give everyone on-demand access to these most inspiring voices.

The TED content has expanded to include talks on business, science, culture, arts, and global issues. Dr. Seligman’s talk is found in the Culture section under “What Makes Us Happy”. Another notable talk in this category is by Stefan Sagmeister titled “The Power of Time Off”.

Sagmeister is a notable designer based in NYC and is also known for shutting down his shop every seven years for a year sabbatical. That’s one idea we know is worth spreading! His reasoning is that we spend the first 25 years of our lives learning, the next 40 years working, and the final 15 in retirement. He wanted to intersperse some of the retirement years within the working years.

He also recognized the value of time off to rejuvenate and refresh his creative outlook. After his first sabbatical, he found that:

  • His job became his calling again
  • Over the long term it was financially successful
  • And everything his shop designed in the seven years following the first sabbatical was originated in that year.

We highly recommend you take the 18 minutes to listen to this fascinating talk. And thank you for helping us spread the idea on career breaks and sabbaticals!

Reflection: Setting Goals for 2010 Part 3
Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

The end of the year always inspires reflection. But it also offers an opportunity to set goals for the future. We’ve already featured some of our favorite travelers and career breakers travel and career goals for the upcoming year, so now it’s our turn to share!

[singlepic=1624,200,,,right]BRIEFCASE TO BACKPACK – MICHAELA POTTER
I’m embarrassed to admit that my passport has collected a fair amount of dust and not enough stamps over the past couple of years. After returning from my career break travels with Michael at the end of 2007, the only other overseas trip for me was volunteering on an educational production to South Africa in February of 2008. And I haven’t stepped foot out of the country since then.

To be fair, life “got in the way”. During 2008 Michael and I focused on new careers, buying an apartment, planning a wedding, and building Briefcase to Backpack. And in early 2009 we launched the site and I have spent a great deal of the year focused on inspiring others to travel abroad. But “life” also brought up many weddings and family vacations – most of which involved domestic travel. So I did get to travel to Florida, Washington State, California, Las Vegas, and the Jersey Shore.

So in 2010 I resolve to dust off my passport and travel to at least one new country. And chances are looking pretty good so far! We have a trip to Italy planned with Michael’s family (which I’ve been to twice) and plan to add on Croatia afterwards.


Reflection: Setting Goals for 2010 Part 2
Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

The end of the year always inspires reflection. But it also offers an opportunity to set goals for the future. So as 2010 approaches, we asked more of our favorite travelers and career breakers to share their travel and career goals for the upcoming year.

[singlepic=1619,150,,,right]HOLE IN THE DONUT – BARBARA WEIBEL
After three years of devotion, my blog has finally started to take off. I even had to move to a virtual private server with a dedicated IP address because my previous host could no longer handle the traffic. When I first deserted corporate life to recreate myself as a travel writer and photographer, my plan was to write a book (a best-seller, of course) and break into traditional travel magazine and newspaper travel markets. The universe had other plans, however, and I am thankful that I was open to the path that was laid out before me. Instead of magazines and newspapers, I found opportunities for online travel writing, which provided exposure for my blog through backlinks and bylines. I am happy to report that my blog, along with my other contract online writing, has become my new career, and I couldn’t be more delighted.

I have been so busy building my new business that I have not been able to travel as much as I would have liked since returning from my R-T-W trip in 2007. However, I hope that will change in 2010. At the moment, I have tentative plans to go to Mexico in February and just keep going south. The countries on my radar include Guatemala, Belize, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Peru. A few travel bloggers are informally discussing a possible meet up at Machu Picchu in April or May. Then it will be back to the States for 3 or 4 months before heading for China, ending up at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Afterward I hope to continue to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Macao, Myanmar, and spend a month in Laos before heading for a Yoga retreat in Thailand. If possible, I’d love to do side trips to Borneo and perhaps the Philippines. But, as with all travel plans, this is all fluid, but at least it’s a beginning plan.

Blog: Hole in The Donut | Twitter: @holeinthedonut

[singlepic=1630,150,,,right]NOMADIC MATT – MATT KEPNES
I’m planning a big year in 2010. It’s only fitting since it is the start of a new decade. Career wise, I plan to launch a contest right after the New Year giving away a free trip to Costa Rica. I’d also like to increase my Google rankings. I plan to travel through Australia, Asia, Europe, and drive across America in 2010. I’m going to live in NYC for the summer learning French and Swedish as well as improving my Spanish.

Blog: Nomadic Matt | Twitter: @nomadicmatt


Reflection: Setting Goals for 2010 Part 1
Monday, December 28th, 2009

The end of the year always inspires reflection. But it also offers an opportunity to set goals for the future. So as 2010 approaches, we asked several of our favorite travelers and career breakers to share their travel and career goals for the upcoming year.

[singlepic=1623,200,,,right]MARRIED WITH LUGGAGE – BETSY & WARREN TALBOT
Betsy and Warren Talbot will be starting their round-the-world adventures in Fall 2010. Here are some goals they have set before they take off.

  • Sell our house. Know anyone looking for a great townhouse in a funky neighborhood?
  • Get interviews, guest blog posts, articles, and reviews of our ebook on How We Saved Enough Money to Change Our Lives (and How You Can, Too!). Know anyone who could help?
  • A steady stream of side jobs for both of us so we can maintain a small income as we begin our travels in October. Warren is developing WordPress sites for small business, and I am still doing some business consulting for solo entrepreneurs.

Blog: Married with Luggage | Twitter: @betsytalbot

[singlepic=1626,200,,,right]THE PROFESSIONAL HOBO – NORA DUNN
In 2009 I was relatively stationary (for a variety of reasons) and it led to putting full-time hours into my writing. This worked well with the release of my first book: 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget, and allowed me to achieve some big career goals. But as a lifestyle, this is not what I intended. I want to write part-time and continue to earn enough money to sustain my location independent full-time travel lifestyle. (Because really – what’s the point of traveling if you’re stuck in a room 60 hours/week working for it?!)

2010 is the year to kick things into second gear; to ease up on effort expended and stop spending time on unnecessary things. This goal will be tangibly achieved when I can comfortably fit my work into 20 hours per week or less and maintain a similar or increased income. Wish me luck!

Blog: The Professional Hobo | Twitter: @hobonora


Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go