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Career or Travel: How To Do it All

WORLDWIDE | Wednesday, 28 September 2011 | Views [7108]

In our society retirement is the Holy Grail. We work a lifetime to save away money for retirement so we can FINALLY do all of the things we’ve been waiting to do.  Sounds perfect – right?  Not so fast; this ‘American dream’ is quickly changing with each generation. As instant information and gratification become the norm in our growing digital society, it is changing the way we look at our careers. We no longer want to, or are expected to, wait to go on safari or climb Mt. Kilimanjaro until we are 65. After all, we may not even have the ability to do those things we have been waiting to do. This is when the idea of a career break starts to pop into your mind. 

What is a Career Break?

A career break is a just that – a break.  It can be from 3 months to 3 years,  and solo or with your family in tow (yes, really); anything goes!  The benefits to a career break are numerous.  Most importantly getting away is essential for effective thinking.  Combine your career break with travel and reap even more benefits. 

Exposure to cultures that function differently from our own – from language to social customs to public transport – awakens the brain, alerting it to a much broader range of possibilities for being, living, and making.

What to do if you want to take a traveling career break?

The obvious answer is to do what you always wanted to do and go see what you dreamed of seeing.  Sometimes what you need is to grow your experiences and develop skills outside of the workforce.  That can be done thru travel, further education, or longer term volunteering. The key is to get away…whatever your away is.

Most people feel that including volunteering or philanthropic work in your career break is a key to building your skills and hire-ability when you return to the workforce. 

Returning From Your Break

During your break start to look closely at what you have learned and how you can apply it to your career when you return . Consider how you can confidently sell the experiences you gained via cover letters, on your resume, and in interviews.  One thing you can expect is a traveling career breaker will stick out from other candidates; you are memorable, you’ve done something unique and something most people only dream of doing.  Just make sure that you are prepared to confidently speak about the ‘why’ and ‘what’ of your break in terms that will benefit the company. 

As for me, my career break actually took me in a completely new direction.  Once I got away from the cube, I realized I wanted to break out on my own and really change the direction of my life. No more cubes for me!

Related Articles:

Know Before You Go: Professional Working Holidays

10 Reasons Why Taking a Working Holiday is a Good Idea

About Meet, Plan, Go!

Meet, Plan, Go! is leading the career break movement in North America; encouraging and teaching others how to travel the world and have it be beneficial to your career. They envision a world where the term ‘career break’ is a part of your overall career strategy. Their online career break class provides instruction on what you need to do to leave your cube and plan the trip of a lifetime within a supportive community. Also, don’t miss Meet Plan Go’s annual career break travel event (held in cities across North America) that introduce you to individuals who have fulfilled their own dreams of traveling around the world, or are currently in the planning stages.

Sherry Ott is a refugee from corporate IT who is now a long term travelers. blogger, and photographer. She’s a co-founder of Meet Plan Go! website and events which offers career break travel inspiration, advice, and ‘training’. She also runs an around the world travel blog writing about her travel and expat experiences at Ottsworld. 

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Tags: career breaks, jobs, leave, meet plan go, professions, travel, travel tips, work and holiday

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