Don’t know what to do on your career break? We asked our event hosts for their top experiences for 2012 and hopefully they will inspire you.
From Lisa Lubin of LLWorld Tour
The one must do or experience I would recommend is getting local! This was truly the one thing that made my travels great and allowed me to meet so many. How? Try things like working, volunteering, taking an occasional tour, meeting friends of friends, and even easier, Couchsurfing. I made some great connections and friends for life this way.
Volunteer in France
From Jane Stanfield of Where Is She Heading
For volunteers, I recommend La Sabranenque in France. For one to two weeks between April and October, you can immerse yourself into French culture while helping rebuild medieval structures near Avignon.
Don’t know a thing about building stone walls? Not to worry as there is on the job training. Not 100% fluent in French? Again no worries as English is spoken on the work site (but it is an excellent way to practice your French at the same time!).
Contact Sabranenque for dates and cost for 2012.
Volunteer in Ghana
From Lillie Marshall of Around the World L
I spent three months during my year-long career-break volunteering at a local youth center in a small town in Ghana, and it was such an important part of my trip… probably THE most important! I highly recommend that you check it out, too.
Why Ghana? After extensive research, Ghana emerged as one of the friendliest, safest, most interesting places in Africa to spend time. I loved spending time in such a different place, and always felt welcomed and happy. Though I never did get the knack of balancing large objects on my head for transportation, I did get 5 beautiful dresses custom-made for $10 to $15 each!
Why volunteering? If you’re just traveling through a place, you can only get so deep and understand so much. When you settle down and volunteer for at least two weeks, however, you gain true friends and such a wonderful new understanding of the culture! And Ghana is a particularly excellent place to volunteer because of its friendliness and its focus on education.
For more information on Ghana volunteering, check out Lillie’s 100+ articles.
From Olivia Raymer of BootsnAll
One of my must-dos was experiencing the epic beauty of New Zealand by hiking, surfing, biking, sky diving, kayaking, dolphin-spotting, surfing, microbrew-sampling, wine-tasting, train-riding, or just wandering about.
From Sarah Lavender Smith of The Runner’s Trip
When you start your long journey, give yourself about a week to unplug and escape to a natural environment completely different from your work environment, where you can begin to transition into a slower, more mindfully aware state of living that will make you better prepared to appreciate your travels. Get offline, ditch your devices and do nothing productive for several days.
Our family did this by starting our year of round-the-world travel with a rafting trip down the Colorado River. We hit the road to stay with extended family in a rural setting for several weeks in Colorado, and a couple of days later we found ourselves on the river near Moab, Utah. The prior months had been so incredibly stressful, as my husband resigned his law firm partnership so we could travel for the year and we packed up our house to rent it out. That stress began to melt away as we floated through those red rock canyons and set up camp on the sandy banks to fall asleep under brilliant starry skies. We sang, we played, we worked with our hands–and in the process, we began to rediscover ourselves.
Drive Cross Country
From Rainer Jenss
We drove from New York to San Francisco in seven weeks. Sure, it’s quite a long time to be on the road under ordinary circumstances and we covered tons of miles, but the U.S. was pretty easy to navigate, even though we had no experience with many of the places we visited. And that was precisely our intention when we mapped out the itinerary – start with what’s familiar to ease us into “life on the road” before venturing off to Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America. There’s also no dealing with different languages, going through immigration and customs, sampling new and strange foods, or driving on the other side of the road. That would come later . . . We also drove our car and not an RV, because it gave us greater flexibility on where we could stay/overnight.
What experiences do you plan to tackle?