Of those who take up the challenge and set out on their travels, more than half share their journey online, through a blog or on Facebook, and around 10-15% keep their blog going after the initial career break journey has ended. So you could say Meet Plan Go! also has a minor roll as an unofficial nursery for travel bloggers.
It’s not surprising that corporate Americans might want to chuck the job, start travelling and perhaps blog about it. They are taking their inspiration from Sherry Ott (@ottsworld) and her colleagues, Michael Bontempi and Michaela Potter (@wanderlustprod), who did exactly that a few years ago. Indeed Sherry continues to lead the way from the front, inspiring travellers through her own blog Ottsworld and her extraordinary adventures, like the recent Mongol Rally during which she drove 10,000 miles for 5 weeks with three others in an ordinary Nissan saloon car from the UK to UlaanBaatar in Mongolia.
If that wasn’t enough, would-be career-break travellers can also find inspiration in Meet Plan Go!’s Briefcase to Backpack blog where the experiences of other career-break travellers are showcased.
Not all those who go travelling, do blog about it. “One of the subjects we cover in our sessions is ‘How to Blog and use Facebook or Twitter’ says Sherry, “but the point we make is that you don’t have to. It can be onerous”.
Presumably the opposite is true too. Wouldn’t setting up and running an organisation helping corporate types to break out and travel, be a little ‘onerous’ on somebody whose passion is to be out ‘in the field’ and blogging about it themselves?
“No. I got into this because when I decided to give up my job and go travelling, I looked around for information on how to do it and found virtually none”, says Sherry. “So when I got back, I wanted to put that right”.
“We keep doing it because it’s important for people to go out and travel and see the world beyond just…a vacation. We hear so much about it being a global economy and in order to keep up you need to be ‘international’ in your thinking, yet most Americans don’t have passports, and don’t get out and experience those different cultures… and these are the very skills and experience that businesses need. What’s more they add real value to your resumé. The other thing that drives me is: our media give such a negative view of the outside world that Americans have to go out and understand for themselves that it is just not like that”.
Now, in its second year Meet Plan Go! is focusing on expanding its community of career break/sabbatical travellers in cities across North America by holding a series of in-person travel events in 17 cities simultaneously on October 18th. The events will highlight the importance and rewards of career breaks/sabbaticals and long term travel. At each event there will be speakers who have planned and completed such travel, travel resources, and plenty of opportunity to network with like-minded fellow travelers.
Based on last year, the new round of meetings should prove popular. Over 2,400 people registered for the inaugural event last year. They were mainly mid career professionals (average age 36 years old, primarily female) who have a larger budget to travel independently. Before they attended, 23% of them were actually planning a career-break trip. By the end, the event had answered questions for, and inspired a further 18% to start planning theirs.
So there’s a new, ‘older generation’ about to go globetrotting and many of them will add their voice to the online community of travellers, joining career-break bloggers like Nomadic Matt, and from ‘Meet Plan Go! Class of 2010′, Silly America, Globally Gluten-Free, and 2 Backpackers.
Is Sherry proud of them?
“Yes absolutely! I’m in contact with two or three of them right now, and I can tell you exactly where they are and what they are doing. We love keeping up with them!”