What would help you take a career break?

May 2, 2011 · 11 comments

Do you dream of taking a career break to travel?

If so, what stops you? What obstacles do you face? What’s the most daunting part about making it happen? And what information could I provide that would help?

I ask for two reasons: I’m working on my own project about how to take a career break to travel, and I’m also helping organize a career-break-themed event called Meet, Plan, Go. It’ll take place nationally in October (so if you’re interested, you should look for one near you), including here in Washington, D.C.

Your input will help me make both of these projects fabulous!

La Cirque Rouge in Madagascar

La Cirque Rouge in Madagascar.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen Zeman May 2, 2011 at 9:32 am

A year’s salary in the bank (roughly $85K).


Alexis Grant May 2, 2011 at 9:34 am

Hey Jen — I’m curious why you’ve decided on that figure. To fund the break? To cover home-related expenses while you’re gone? To bridge the gap between when you get back and when you find a job? For peace of mind? Maybe a combination of all of the above?



Jen Zeman May 2, 2011 at 10:03 am


I’m basing it solely on my current salary to cover mostly home-related expenses/peace of mind. My “dream” break doesn’t involve traveling all year, just a few trips. My break is mostly for focusing on writing and art.

If you have any other questions, just let me know.

Jen 🙂


Alexis Grant May 2, 2011 at 6:59 pm

A note here: Thanks to all of you who have emailed me privately about this. Even if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts! You can find my contact information above on the “Contact” page.


Heather Rae May 2, 2011 at 9:32 pm

I would love to read what someone has to say about leaving a significant other to take a career break. I am coming to realize this is one of the most difficult things for me. To be honest, I’m at an age that I don’t necessarily want to be alone, and leaving what could be a potential long-term relationship is proving to be difficult. The more tangible things (like money!) are super important too, but I find those are easier for me to plan for. It’s the relationship effects that are an issue for me.
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Jen Zeman May 3, 2011 at 9:15 am


I can relate to the relationship aspect as well. Thanks for being brave enough to post it – it’s very important. I’ve struggled with the same issue as you. If you ever feel like discussing, feel free to contact me (giants@zoominternet.net).



Alexis Grant May 3, 2011 at 10:48 am

Interesting conversation, ladies. There’s no chance your significant other might go with you? Or could you compromise and find something you both want to do?


Jen Zeman May 3, 2011 at 11:39 am

My husband and I have discussed it and we’re finally (I think…) on the same page and are working on something for the both of us. I’m learning (even after 19 years) to check my ego at the door when it comes to the relationship. I’m strong-willed and want to do what I want to do and I struggled with whether he was holding me back from achieving my dreams. Come to find out, I was the one getting in my own way. Crazy, I know.


Heather Rae May 3, 2011 at 4:23 pm

That’s a tough one. My ex and I talked about it a lot, and the reality was, he wasn’t in a place in his career that he could leave the country with me. We talked about me going on my own, and he was completely okay with that…but if we’re being honest, I had a hard time with the idea of leaving. Now, the situation is different and much newer, so it really is a question of what my priorities are. In some ways, I think…just go – if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. And in other ways, I realize I’m not in my 20’s anymore and it’s true, my priorities have shifted a bit. I don’t want to have to make a choice between having a relationship and following a dream. Ahh…life is complicated sometimes. 🙂


Alexis Grant May 3, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Ah yes, the myth of “having it all.”

Dana Bailey May 3, 2011 at 9:18 am

I’d love to take a career break, not necessarily for travel, but any sort of break would require money. I looked into taking a sabbatical, but figured without pay I couldn’t afford to take the time off, and definitely couldn’t afford to go anywhere. Something like that would take a lot of planning and saving.


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