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Travel Talk: 10 tips to help plan your career break

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Culture & Entertainment

Travel Talk: 10 tips to help plan your career break

Did you know…
• nearly half (47%) of Canadians struggle to achieve balance64% feel overwhelmed at work • the majority ( 89%) feel personal development is just as or more important than professional development • Nearly three quarters (74%) of Canadians would take a career break to travel if nothing stood in their way • and half (52%) often think of taking a career break?
Those were the findings of recent survey conducted  for G Adventures (, formerly Gap Adventures by Harris/Decima Research. On the heels of last week's post  featuring Solo Traveler Janice Waugh, host of Meet Plan Go - Toronto, this week I'm talking to Jeff Jung, host and creator of Career Break Secrets ( and the travel guy featured on Ditch the Cubicle ( (Don't you just love that name!) [caption id="attachment_5650" align="aligncenter" width="293" caption="Jeff Jung will tell you: a career-break can be the ride of your life (Courtesy Jeff Jung)"] Jeff Jung will tell you: a career-break can be the ride of your life (Courtesy Jeff Jung)[/caption]

Many people talk about taking a career break - whether it's a short one of 4 weeks or an extended year-long sabbatical - but not everyone takes the leap. Jeff gave me his take on the four major “culprits” stopping people from taking a career break: 1. Loneliness, 2. Safety, 3. Security, 4. Budget. I invited Jeff to share his secrets on successful career breaks keeping in mind the above four culprits, and what he observed about other  career-breakers and longterm travellers he's met along the way: Tip #1: Take baby steps to overcome the anxiety around taking a career break or concerns about travelling to a foreign destination. Jung has a three-point strategy for people who would like to visit an exotic country such as India, for example, but have limited travel experience.
Step 1. First, visit a European country where they speak English Step 2. Visit a European country where they don’t speak English Step 3. Finally, visit a non-European country where they don’t speak English.
[caption id="attachment_6628" align="aligncenter" width="360" caption="Crafting your own passage to India (Courtesy: Kerela Tourism)"] Crafting your own passage to India  (Courtesy: Kerela Tourism)[/caption] [Ed note: Jeff is totally bang-on. I did pretty much the same thing, starting with a trip to the UK and Paris (you can always find Anglophones somewhere on the Left Bank) in the late 1980s, then eventually around Eastern Europe before parachuting myself into India. My thirteen words in Malayalam saved my butt!)

Tip #2. Get your finances in order. Jung says you need to consider three budgetary elements: (a) Prep time. Budget for the things you need to buy in order to travel (such as travel insurance, new backpack etc.) and expenses to cover you between the time you quit your job and actually leave the country; (b) The money you’ll need while you’re travelling: this will depend, of course, on the length of time you're travelling, where you're going but, most importantly, how you intend to travel. Decide whether you're backpacking and hosteling or speed-train sleep cars and small ins. (c) Re-entry budget: Jeff says the thing he forgot to plan for when he took a career break in the mid-1990s, this being the period after you return back home from travelling and before you actually start a new job or return to your old job. Tip #3. Technology to keep in touch: Make the most of the technology you've got at your fingertips. These days you’ve got skype, texting, email, numerous forms of social media. The list is growing: Note. Just be careful about roaming charges on your mobile phone and always check with your service provider in advance. Tip #4. Group travel. Jeff suggests small group travel to help ease you into international travel and your career break, especially if you have limited experience overseas. Small-group tours through reliable companies like G Adventures are just one option. "If you decide you want to spend two months in China," suggests Jeff, "consider a week or 10 days with a small tour group, one that really gets you in touch with the locals, and then head out on your own. That small group experience will provide you with a good foundation." [caption id="attachment_6631" align="aligncenter" width="360" caption="Easing into Asia: Qiandaohu, China (Courtesy: Colipon)"] Easing into Asia: Qiandaohu, China (Courtesy: Colipon)[/caption]

Tip #5. Talk to people. The beauty of travel is learning about the world, other people – and yourself. “Everyone likes to talk about where they’ve been,” says Jung. “If you’re in a hostel or a small lodge or inn, head down to the common room. Just turn to the first person you meet and ask, 'What did you do today?'” Tip #7. Choose your accommodation wisely. If you are alone on your career break, consider places such as hostels ( Contrary to longtime notions, they’re aren’t just for 21-year-old travellers on a gap year.  "I was 37 years old the first time I stayed in a hostel," says Jeff. Alternatively, modest hotels or inns which have a down-to-earth feel can make for easy connections between travellers from diverse cultures.

[caption id="attachment_6636" align="aligncenter" width="360" caption="Friendly digs, friendly people: Langdale Hostel, Lake District, England (Courtesy Mike Peel)"] Friendly digs, friendly people: Langdale Hostel, Lake District, England (Courtesy Mike Peel)[/caption]

Tip #8.  Acknowledge your’ "Nesting" or "Nomad" personality. “Some people need comfort and occasional solitude while travelling," says Jeff, "And there's nothing wrong with that. You are who you are." Jeff would occasionally look for a smaller hostel with a single room instead of a dorm and would actually stay a few days in one place.  This kind of approach provides a reprieve from constantly being with people and being on the road. It's a great antidote to travel fatigue. Other travellers are more nomadic and are happy to be on the road non-stop. "Just give yourself a break - if and when you think you need it," advises Jeff. Tip #9. Get a little lost. "Don’t be afraid of having unplanned time," urges Jeff. Certainly many people hit the road with a bucket list of things to see and do. "But just showing up somewhere, or leaving your room one day without a plan and wander," says Jeff. "You'll be surprised what you encounter." Tip # 10. Learn something. "Just do something for yourself," Jeff suggests. "Learn something.   I spent part of my career break studying Spanish (, which actually helped me later on. But whatever you do, learn something new. And remember, a career break needn’t be an entire year. It can be as little as one-month or three-months." To benefit further from Jeff's career break success, visit Career Break Secrets or Ditch the Cubicle. What's stopping you from taking a career break: 1. Loneliness factor? 2. Safety concerns? 3. Security issues? 4. Money?


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Travel Talk: 10 tips to help plan your career break