Six Ways Taking a Big Trip Changes Your Life

In preparation for the big Meet Plan Go event I hosted San Francisco on October 16, 2012, I get to meet all these big trippers: people who have decided to take time off from their life and careers and take a big trip. Completely, wonderfully inspirational. In prep for the event, I asked them:

“How has taking a career sabbatical/your big trip changed your life?”

Here are their answers, which conveniently translates into how a big trip can change your life.

Be the Author of Own Story


Quitting my job and taking my big trip was decisive in coming to grips with the notion that I’m the author of my own story. While there are many characters and plots woven into it, ultimately, it’s me that chooses what kind of story I want to live for myself. It was through the vehicle of long-term travel that I realized that there was more to life then the complacent one I had been living. – Spencer Spellman of The Traveling Philosopher

Live Without Fear


Having lived either with my parents or husband till the age of 31, I really didn’t know how to be alone.  Deciding to take the trip of a lifetime was a true leap of faith.  This trip led me to a path to utilize my international expertise and travel became a part of my jobs.  Traveling into the then Eastern Block, living in Youth Hostels and meeting a variety of people along the way took away my fear of talking to just about anyone.  Now, I have done a number of presentations to audiences ranging from a few hundred to 5000.  My motto since then has been, “Never will say Should a, Would a or Could a, I’ve always just do it.”  That way you never miss an opportunity to expand, learn and explore. – Silvia McCleary of The Gypsy Traveler

Gain Confidence in Your Ideas

For a long time, I’ve believed that there’s no set trajectory of how a person should live their life. But that’s easier said than done. After my big trip, I felt the full freedom and mobility to shape my life into exactly what I wanted it to be. I also had the confidence to continue pursuing my ideas, no matter how wacky or unconventional they initially appeared. – Rachel Stern of The Huffington Post

Slow Down and Smile


Even for a relatively short three months, we traveled across six countries and slept in sixteen places ranging from a small island in Indonesia, to a mountain river village in Laos, and a high-rise hotel in Bangkok. We learned how to slow our lives down and accept what experiences came our way. We rediscovered that planning ahead isn’t usually a good idea, and that living out of a 35-litre backpack isn’t so bad. Our most useful possessions were our iPhones and a UV water purifier, and we learned to appreciate flush toilets and fresh (rather than brackish) water. More than anything else though, we learned that smiles and body language can communicate where words cannot. – Ted Beatie

Change Perspective on Your Career


Having taken three career breaks to experience the world, my perspective on career has forever changed. I no longer think of long-term travel as a career break but instead I see my career as a break from travel and the means by which I will fund my next big adventure. – Kelly Wetherington of By The Seat of My Skirt

Take Care of Yourself


Traveling and living alone on my career break let me only take care of me for the first time in 30 years.  I found out that I loved being alone.  I loved making a schedule based on ME, eating when I wanted, sleeping when I needed to, hiking on trails that I decided, meeting locals and other travelers when I felt like socializing.   There is so much we can learn about ourselves if we give ourselves the time and space to do it.  I never would have thought I loved being alone so much, or that more meditation would be good for me, but my career break did this for me.  – Fran Wickner

Learn how to take your own big trip by attending the San Francisco Meet Plan Go event on October 16.

More stories to come in the next few weeks…Photos provided by speaker. Open road image by Victorcamillo on flickr.

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2 Responses to “Six Ways Taking a Big Trip Changes Your Life”

  1. August 26, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    Great article, Kristin! I love how you cite other people’s opinions to add such value to the piece, i am sure you could have created six points on your own, yet their opinion increased the impact exponentially. Thanks for this post!


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