Travel Talk: Meet, dream – then just go!

Meet Plan Go! Plan your career break

Today, Oct. 18, is Meet Plan Go throughout North America. There are simultaneous events in 17 North American cities, including a Toronto Meet Plan Go session hosted by Solo Traveler Janice Waugh, who shared some hilarious snippets in this blog a few weeks ago.


“A career break,” says self-styled ‘career-breaker’ Janice Waugh, “is an opportunity to get away from the routine of everyday life and explore the world. It’s a chance to shake things up, think about life choices, discover new cultures and see your own culture anew.

If you’re considering a career break to travel and you want the goods – and I everything from how to plan your career break, where to go, how to deal with loneliness, how to negotiate time away from your work – this is the event for you.

You’ll meet people who’ve been there, done that, meaning, they had the savvy and courage to ‘Stop Dreaming and Start Packing.” Janice is one of those individuals.

Solo Traveler Janice Waugh hosts Meet, Plan Go (Courtesy: Solo Traveler)

Solo Traveler Janice Waugh hosts Meet, Plan Go (Courtesy: Solo Traveler)

: So Janice, what prompted your career break?
Janice: I took my career break with my husband and youngest son. Our three other sons joined us for various periods of time. Now, as a widow and empty nester, I travel solo.”

“As I reflect back on our career break, I am not only extremely thankful that we managed to do it prior to my husband’s illness, I also realize that I took time during that family adventure to also travel solo. Yes, though we were incredibly tight as a couple, we were also independent which set me up for traveling solo now.”

Question: With that particular experience, Janice, parts of your career break with family but also time spent on your own, what do you think you would have missed had you not gone solo for chunks of time?

Janice:: Okay, here’s what I would have missed out on had I not been a solo traveller:

• 1. I would not have met the cellist in Amsterdam. the day after Liberation Day while I was sitting alone in a cafe. The man beside me was quite old and I asked if he had been there during the war. Not only was he there but, as a Jew, he had been in hiding. He told me a sad family history and what it was like to be a musician at that time. It was for me an incredibly extraordinary meeting.

• 2. I would not have learned the pleasure of getting lost while driving from the south of France to Amsterdam on my own. My only concern was to head north. I meandered at whim and enjoyed small villages and meeting people I may not have encountered had I been with my entire family.

Eat, shop, live like a European on your career break (Courtesy: Equatorial Sky photos)

Eat, shop, live like a European on your career break (Courtesy: Equatorial Sky photos)

• 3.
I would not have learned to shop and cook like a European. We rented an apartment in Neuchatel, Switzerland where I enjoyed going into the town by myself, stretching my French and shopping like locals for dinner.

Biking around Amsterdam, just like a local (Photo: Laura Scudder)

Biking around Amsterdam, just like a local (Photo: Laura Scudder)

• 4.
I would not have experienced a city that really knows how to treat their cyclists. At home I use my bike as a major source of transportation for about 6 months of the year. In Amsterdam, we again rented an apartment and I would head out daily to explore the city by bike.

• 5. I would not have made a friend like Kathy and discovered the world of expats. Really, I had no idea how they worked, how they supported each other. I slipped into a couple of these communities at different times. It was an eye opener.

• 6. I would not have learned how patient I can be. While at home, I am always packing things into a day and I can be impatient. Traveling long term, the pace changes and I learned to be patient with the world and myself.

Have you ever thought about taking a career break to travel? What would be your