Vagabonding on a career break

Briefcase to backpack. Photo from Simon Fraser University website

Briefcase to backpack. Photo from Simon Fraser University website.

With the recession ongoing, it’s as a good time as ever to go vagabonding. On my trip around Southeast Asia, I met loads of accountants, financial analysts, etc. who had gotten laid off.  Many got sizable severance packages too, providing an immediate travel fund. (If only we could all be so lucky!) Many were actually glad to finally have the time to see the world.

How do you handle the transition from a fast-paced job to the more contemplative pace of vagabonding? Here’s the perfect website, Briefcase to backpack.

For those looking for real-life role models for encouragement, look no further. There are many profiles of ordinary people who adapted to life on the road just fine.

One of my favorite articles is by Michael Bontempi, How my career break helped my career. He stands out for the thoughtful way he planned out his departure and his “re-entry” after his stint of vagabonding. Some might accuse him of over-planning, but I thought his strategy made good sense. His list of preparations would be helpful reading to any career breaker.

The website playfully points out that “career breaks” are a common thing in the U.K., Australia, and Canada. There’s just that certain country south of Canada that needs to start giving its people longer vacations . . .

Posted by | Comments (7)  | November 27, 2009
Category: Vagabonding Advice

7 Responses to “Vagabonding on a career break”

  1. Gregory Hubbs Says:

    Thanks for the find… This has long been a core mission of ours as well.

  2. Says:

    Vagabonding on a career break is a great idea and would make for a great travel writing blog. Since people are getting laid off or permanently laid off, they may as well take advantage of the time on their hands (if they can). They could travel as a group or solo. Excellent idea!

  3. brian | No Debt World Travel Says:

    That is exactly what happened to me. I got laid off and decided that instead of picking up the want ads, I would pick up my plane tickets. I don’t regret my decision at all and it became the basis for my blog.

    Life is funny. Sometimes you just need go with your gut, no matter how counterintuitive it is.

  4. Ted Beatie Says:

    I got laid off a few weeks ago, and taking off for six months was our first thought. Unfortunately, it quickly became an issue of how to afford it. I was given six weeks of severance yes, but $6k isn’t quite enough to make such a trip possible. Then there’s the issue of needing to wait for my wife to finish her first year of grad school. Then there’s the question of what to do with our cats for six months, and how to sublet our place such that rent is taken care of and we have someplace to come home to.

    We still want to make a vagabonding trip across Latin America, northern Africa, eastern Europe, and southeast Asia, but it seems like it would need to hinge on me landing a six month contract in January to make it work.

  5. Hugh Says:

    Thanks for the great resource. I’ll pass along to some of my friends who have gotten laid off recently. It’s great to know that some people look at it as an opportunity for a new experience, rather than just losing a job.

  6. Anil Says:

    It’s a great site with valuable information looking to take their show on the road as it were. I think in the US it’s especially difficult to break out of this mentality since there is a very limited amount of vacation for most jobs and people feel they have to work all the time.

  7. Sherry Ott Says:

    Thanks for highlighting Briefcase to Backpack – American’s Career Break Headquarters! We started it because we are passionate about adding ‘career break’ to American’s vocabulary. I’ve been vagabonding for 3 years now and I always think it is so disappointing that I see very few Americans traveling long term. If you are laid off it’s the perfect time to go on a career break, you can actually enhance your resume by doing so! Ted – you can do a short trip for $6000 is you are will to rough it and travel through cheap countries. Heck, I lived for 6 months in Vietnam on $6000! Happy Travels!