Traveling were myself, my late husband, our youngest son who was 10 and homeschooled, and the other three boys who were with us for various legs of the trip.
That was family travel.
To give you an idea about long-term solo travel I went to Jeff Jung, author of The Career Break Traveler's Handbook. In 2008, Jeff took a career break and traveled solo.
“Taking a career break solo can be quite empowering,” Jeff says. “A career break, in general, is great for recharging your batteries and it gives you a strong sense of self-confidence. If you are traveling solo, it can only boost those benefits even more since you only have yourself to rely on during your trip. Every day you will have to figure out where to eat, where to sleep and how to get around. At the end of your trip, there is nothing that you will feel that you can't accomplish.”
5 Best Reasons for Taking a Career Break
- Break out of a boring routine. Nothing will change a routine faster than leaving it behind. Plus, there's nothing that becomes routine when you travel. Every day is a new adventure.
- Recharge your batteries. The same old routine, the same old job can be very draining. Even if you return to the same job, a career break will take you there with more enthusiasm.
- Become a more interesting person. People with different experiences are more interesting than those with the same old humdrum experiences. Traveling the world is certainly different.
- Become a more knowledgeable person. Through travel your sense of geography, history, current events, culture, and more grows. It's impossible to take a career break and not return a more knowledgeable person.
- Gain self-confidence. Energized, interesting, and knowledgeable: these personal attributes are just the beginning of what will make you more confident. Having navigated the world solo and negotiated hundreds of new situations, you will return home with more confidence than ever.
Answers to the Top Career Break Questions
- How do I budget for this? There are three parts to a career break budget: Pre-takeoff (what you need before you leave), Travel (what you need on the road), and Re-entry (what you need before you start earning a salary again). There are special considerations for each part and you need to make sure you have each part covered.
- Will it be career suicide? The concept of taking a career break for a few months has been gaining acceptance for years. It matters less that you took one and more that you used your time wisely. It certainly helps if you bring back some skills, hard or soft, that can be applied to your next employer.
- Will people think I’m crazy? Some will. But you will find a large community of people who have taken a break or are currently traveling. Many people now blog their trips, so you can read about other people currently on the road, and there may be one of them you can relate to.
- How long do I need to go for a trip to have an impact on my life? You need at least a month. That amount of time allows you to fully disconnect from your job and life back home and really start to have those batteries fully recharged. More than 1 month is even better.
- Where should I go? This one is simple. Go wherever you have always wanted to go. If you have multiple destinations in mind, you’ll want to be able to say the following to yourself, ¨At the end of my trip, if all else fails, I want to have seen and accomplished…¨
Resources for Career Break Nomads
I didn't have to comb the Internet for these resources. They've been written by other travel bloggers whom I respect. Here are my top five.
The Ultimate Guide to Seasonal Jobs Here's what Susan Shain has to say about her book. “Seasonal jobs aren't just any old job. They're short-term adventures that allow you to live, work, and play in some of the country's most beautiful places, all while earning money and making lifelong friends. And since they're far from conventional, it's tough to know where to start. This guide helps you start and find the seasonal job you want.” Pay-What-You-Want but the recommended rate is $9.99
Work On Board Cruise Ships Here's what Wandering Earl has to say about his book. “If you want to take advantage of such a life-changing opportunity, you owe it to yourself to consider working on cruise ships. I can honestly say that working on ships changed my life in incredible ways, most importantly giving me the freedom to live on my own terms. Get started today! Step-by-step instructions on how to apply to every major cruise line plus insider advice to guide you through the entire process are only a couple of clicks away.” US$25 for an instant download. 175 pages. Updated February, 2018.
Travel the World on $50 a Day – For over a decade, Matt Kepnes (aka Nomadic Matt) has used his travel blog to teach readers how to travel the world on a budget. Here he lays it all out in a book.
“A bible for budget travellers.”—BBC Travel Available on Amazon.
Packing List – I use this packing list whether I'm going for a weekend or a month – and it all fits in a carry-on bag. A month in India? Yup. It worked. Three weeks in Patagonia? Again, perfect!
Booking tips – Here's a list of posts to help you plan and manage your trip on a budget.
- How to Plan Your Solo Travel Budget – On Any Budget
- Book and Travel Without a Credit Card: Top Tips
- Going Alone? Travel Insurance is a Must
- VPN for Travel: What, Why and an Easy Setup Guide
- Travel Apps that Save Money and Make Travel Easier
- Travel, Eat Well and Save on Food
- Solo Travel with Fabulous Travel Freebies
- Take Your Membership Benefits on the Road: 11 Ways to Save
- Free Accommodation: House Sitting Tips for Sitters and Home Owner
- Train Travel: Best Way to Book Tickets – Europe
- Use Your Phone Anywhere in the World: Free and Low-cost Options
- Protect Yourself from Pickpockets: Keep Cards & Cash Safe
Wondering About Travel Insurance?
- “I just couldn't leave my mother to travel when she got sick. Fortunately, my travel insurance reimbursed me for my flights which was all I had spent to date”
- “I lost my prescription glasses on a hike in the UK. When I got home I was surprised to learn that my travel insurance would pay out up to $300 for them.”
- “I was in Sydney, Australia when a crown popped off a tooth. I had it fixed by a local dentist and recovered the cost from my travel insurance.”
It takes just minutes to buy travel insurance. You could be thankful you did for the rest of your life. Here are two companies to check out.
You can read my full report on travel insurance here: Going Alone? Travel Insurance is a Must