How Taking a Break to Travel Can Benefit Your Career

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Meet author Nancy Bearg, at the upcoming Meet, Plan, Go! event on October 18 in Washington, D.C.

On October 18, 2011, Meet, Plan, Go! will be hosting their second annual nationwide event (in 17 cities) to inspire people to take a break to travel and give them the tools and resources they need to start planning a long-term trip.

At each nationwide forum, participants will have the opportunity to hear from inspirational speakers and fellow travelers like Washington, D.C. panelist Nancy Bearg, co-author of the book Reboot Your Life: Energize Your Career & Life by Taking a Break. Bearg and her “Reboot Partners,” Jaye Smith, Catherine Allen, and Rita Foley, have collectively taken 12 sabbaticals and are spreading the word about how taking a career break can enrich all aspects of your life.

If you’re tired of your current job or were recently laid off or are in a transition period facing an uncertain job market, taking an extended break to travel might not be at the top of your list. But traveling can actually boost a resume: confidence, a global outlook, and refined communication skills are qualities that travelers can develop on the road and ones that will appeal to employers looking to hire. Plus, as Bearg and her partners advise, “people who take sabbaticals report feeling happier and they return to their job refreshed, reinvigorated, and ready to tackle new challenges.”

Want to learn more about taking a break to travel? We asked Bearg about how to take a career break and why sabbaticals are important.

Intelligent Travel: Why is it important to take a career break?

Nancy Bearg: It’s important to clear your head and take a deep breath. You need a break to get perspective, refresh, reconnect with yourself and your dreams, reconnect with people important to you, and more. You return to work revitalized and with new enthusiasm and creativity. No one wants to be stale and stressed, and no one does their best in that state. A Reboot Break is the way to avoid that. Employers appreciate the results too.

What advice do you have for someone who thinks it’s too late in their career to take a break?

It’s never too late. People take Reboot Breaks at all ages, including shortly before retirement. We call it a Pre-Retirement Sabbatical. It’s a chance to step back and think about what to do after retiring from a full-time career. Often people travel to see where they want to live or where they might want to travel to volunteer.

What’s one thing people taking a career break can do while they’re on sabbatical to help them prepare for life back in the workforce?

When you are nearing that time to start figuring out what to do next or are thinking of getting back to your old job, start to network and get back in touch. All during your break, it’s good to stay informed about news and trends of the field you left behind (or the one you want to enter), but you might intensify your reading and research as you get closer to returning to work.

What is the number one mistake people make when they return from their sabbatical?

They forget the priorities they learned on sabbatical. They go back to working 24/7 and not seeing enough of family and friends and taking very short vacations. The good news is that this only happens to some people. You need to be determined to live the lifelong sabbatical by remembering what you valued and learned on your break.

What is the one thing you’d like attendees of the Meet, Plan, Go! event to take away from your talk?

You can take a Reboot Break even if you think you can’t. Dream about and start planning!

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In addition to Washington, D.C., this year’s Meet, Plan, Go! locations include: Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Toronto, Canada. Cost to register is $15.00.