Risk and Reinvention Posted on Sep 4, 2014 by Susan Sparks

Why a Travel Break Can Be the Best Career Move You’ll Ever Make

Originally published on BootsnAll By Adam Seper.

Career breaks and sabbaticals have finally been gaining steam in countries like the United States, where even as recently as a decade ago they were thought of as career suicide. Organizations like Meet, Plan, Go! are at the forefront of these changes, inspiring people who think a career break couldn’t possibly work for them.

Many assume that the downturn in the economy since 2008 means that people should be happy with whatever job they have. If you are lucky enough to be employed, no matter what the job or your feelings for it, you would be crazy to leave it voluntarily, especially to go do something unconventional like travel the world.

No matter what financial state your country is in, or no matter what your personal situation is at this time, there is always a reason not to embark on a drastic life change like this. It’s scary, frightening, and it’s easy to make excuses. But if you have ever thought of something like a career break or sabbatical, you need to realize that there will never be a perfect time. There’s always an excuse to stay home. There’s always a reason not to go.

When contemplating a drastic lifestyle change like taking a career break to travel the world, people want real-life examples to help make their decision. People want to be inspired. People want to be reassured that they aren’t crazy. That’s why we went out and interviewed 20 career breakers who threw caution to the wind to make their travel dreams come true.

But these people didn’t just leave their lives so they could experience the world. Many left to find themselves, to seek out a new purpose in life, to be inspired themselves to live the lives that they feel they are meant to live. Many of our career breakers were sick of waking up each morning to do something they weren’t passionate about. Many were fed up with the status quo. With living life the way society deemed it was supposed to be lived instead of how they really wanted to live it.

The following 20 people (many of which were part of traveling couples or families) demanded change in their lives. By taking off to explore the world, each and every one of these people decided enough was enough. Some hated their jobs and needed a change. Some loved their jobs but simply wanted a break. Some enjoyed what they did, but they had an empty feeling, knowing that something was missing and life could be better. Others were inspired by an event in their lives that had them questioning if this was the life they really wanted to live.

Career breakers come from all walks of life. We want everyone to see that no matter what your situation, you too can choose to change your life if you don’t feel like it’s going in the direction you’ve always dreamed. There is no blueprint for taking a career break and changing your life. There is no one group of people who decide to do this. Every person’s situation is different. And as you’ll see, your lifestyle change is all about mindset. If you truly want it, you can make it happen. Just check out what the people who have been there before have to say, follow their advice, and you could be on your way to a different and exciting new life.

Reasons to take a career break

Contrary to popular belief, not all career breakers are burnt out from high-stress, long hour jobs. People take a career break for a myriad of reasons, so don’t feel like you have to fall into a certain category in order to take one yourself. The only thing you really need is ambition, a love for travel, and an adventurous spirit.

Reverend Susan Sparks, a former lawyer turned pastor and comedian, left her job to travel for similar reasons. “What motivated me the most was the fear of going back to a career that was the opposite of my heart. It took me a while to realize that to be happy, you have to bring all of who you are to what you do. My career as a lawyer was more like a masquerade ball than an expression of my gifts.”