Does leaving your job to travel sound appealing?

May 26, 2011

When I left my reporting job in 2008 to travel in Africa, I had no idea there was a career-break movement. In fact, I didn’t even call what I was doing a career break. I wanted to take a long-haul backpacking trip, and quitting my job was the only way I could see to make that happen.

Holding a beautiful Cameroonian baby in Yaounde.

I didn’t read travel blogs. Instead, I relied on books like Edward Hasbrouck’s The Practical Nomad (my favorite independent travel planning book), A Journey of One’s Own, and Lonely Planet guides checked out of my local library. I didn’t know anyone else who had taken time off to travel, and honestly, it never occurred to me to find them. I focused on blazing my own path.

But now there’s an avid support group for wannabe career-breakers. It’s mostly virtual, a network of bloggers and tweeps. Yet this October, that group will come together in cities across the country for an event called Meet, Plan, Go. We’re having one here in Washington, D.C. — I’m helping to plan it and would love to meet you! — but if you don’t live in this area, you can likely find one near you, too.

I missed last year’s inaugural event, but I heard it was a mix of travel evangelists and career-break newbies planning their getaway. But you know who I think this event will be most useful for this year? Anyone who has dreamed about taking time off to travel but hasn’t yet made the decision to do it. Because hearing other people’s stories and learning about the logistics involved and realizing you could actually do this will light a fire under you. Or, to be fair, maybe you’ll see all the planning it requires and say nope, it’s not for me. But more likely, you’ll walk away from that night feeling super excited about taking your leap.

For $10 — that’s the early-bird offer on sale now — it’s worth going to one of these events and meeting other kindred spirits and letting that sense of excitement grow inside you. Even if your leap ends up being something other than travel, I can guarantee you’ll walk away feeling inspired.

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