Almost exactly a year ago, I was in an all-too-common place: overworked, burned out, unhappy with my life, and filled with an overwhelming desire to change course and get out of a life that wasn’t bringing me much happiness. I’d been dreaming of something different and had been wanting to travel long-term for years, but just didn’t know how to make it happen, much less have the support to make it a reality.
For a solid year, I sat around and imagined leaving my job and traveling. I even bought a huge world map and started drawing potential routes. I knew people who taken long trips straight out of college, but didn’t know anyone who had taken a career break later in life. I heard a few stories about friends-of-friends or occasionally read about someone in the newspaper or a magazine, but I had no personal connection and certainly no sincere advice, support, or guidance.
Thankfully, right in the thick of my fantasies I met someone who suggested I check out Meet, Plan, Go; an organization that encourages career breaks and hosts an annual event that includes a panel of successful people who have taken career breaks. As soon as I walked into Meet, Plan, Go’s event in Boston, I knew I had found ‘my people’: the travel support I was looking for. The event was filled with veteran career-breakers, recently-returned breakers, people getting set to leave, and dozens of us looking for help to turn our dreams into reality.
Meeting people who valued travel and time off gave me the confidence to walk into work the next day and tell my boss I would be leaving. Meet, Plan, Go allowed me to talk to others who had taken a break, ask questions, and see the happiness their break had brought them; giving me the motivation to take mine.
Meeting people with similar interests while on the road was equally as important. Support and advice continually flowed, as travelers are keen to share where they’ve been or what they’ve seen and are always willing to dish out specifics about routes, transport, and accommodation.
One of the easiest ways I found to meet people was using the web and social media platforms. The online travel community is pretty tight-knit and always tremendously helpful. Starting before I left, I researched destinations using blogs and websites, but as I traveled, anytime I was heading to a new location, I updated my status and tweeted to see if anyone was nearby. I also found that participating in specific, planned activities was a great way to meet like-minded people. Whether I joined a hike or scuba dived or took classes to learn the language or how to cook the cuisine, it was a simple way to find other like-minded travelers.
My nine months on the road taught me how important community is, while at the same time creating a new community for me to participate in. I’ve met people from around the world who took career breaks, changed their lives, and are now living their dreams and I’ve been lucky to make new friends who feel the same way about life, work, and travel. The travel community was invaluable to me throughout the planning and traveling stages and is once again as I navigate the transition back home. Since returning, I’ve decided to move to a new city and change careers and the first thing I’ll be doing when I arrive in my new city is attend Meet, Plan, Go’s event. In addition to trying to return the gift of inspiration and motivation that was given to me a year earlier, I know it’ll give me an opportunity to kick-start my life in my new city with like-minded people.
Meet, Plan, Go
Have you been dreaming of changing your life? Does that change include long-term travel? Are you looking for your travel community? Then don’t miss attending Meet, Plan, Go in one of 17 cities throughout North America on October 18th. In addition to interacting with a room full of people just like you who are considering a career break, there will be a panel of veteran career breakers sharing their stories and answering questions like:
- How much does a career break cost?
- How and when do I tell my employer I’m leaving?
- Should I buy travel insurance and if so, what kind?
- How do I transition back to into my career once I return?
Also, just for walking in the door at a Meet, Plan Go event in your city, you’ll also receive a few other perks for attending that will help you get started with your career break.
If you’d like to meet your ‘people’ and find support and help to seize this opportunity and escape the cube to create a new life for yourself join us for Meet Plan Go and be inspired by those who have already done so.