Meet, Plan, Go!

MPG 2012 Boston Host: Lillie Marshall
Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

All of our local Meet, Plan, Go! hosts have inspiring stories of their own career break travels. In the months leading up to our National Event on October 16 we will introduce them to you so you can see why they are part of our team.

Meet Our 2012 Boston Host: Lillie Marshall

Why Taking a Career Break Can Be Great for Your Career

I had just returned to the United States after a year-long leave of absence from teaching to travel around the world. I was unemployed, disoriented, and scared about my future.

Reader, is this what you fear will happen if you take a career break to travel? Read on to see how it turned out.

I squirmed nervously in the hard blue chair in my first job interview since returning to the United States.

I wasn’t going to call you back after you emailed your resume,” declared the director. “I mean, you have a pretty standard teacher background.”

I gulped, saddened.

But,” the director continued, smiling, “then I saw this line.”

She pointed to the words I’d typed under “Experience:”

Circumnavigated the globe for nine months to volunteer, launch two travel websites, and learn.

I grinned. I hadn’t been so sure how that fact would go over.

Remarkable world experience like that is rare,” mused the director, “and it’s something we search for in hiring a 21st century employee. We’d like to formally offer you the job.”

I silently cheered and told her I would get back to her. That evening I received five other responses to job applications I had submitted, all saying the same thing:

“We want you, because you’ve bravely seen the world as few have!”

Ultimately, I chose not to take any of those jobs. My year abroad made me realize how much I loved my former Boston Public Schools teaching job, and I was able to reenter the district in an even better position than I had left, thanks to the fact that I’d taken a leave of absence instead of signing resignation papers before leaving.

In addition to improving up my teaching career, taking a career break to travel has provided exceptional other career opportunities: freelance writing for the Huffington Post, speaking at the opening of the third biggest hostel in America with the Mayor of Boston, leading student trips abroad, presenting at education conferences, and more.

The moral of the story is this: It actually may be worse for your career to stay in your current job than to leave and follow your dreams!

Once you see the world, you’ll reenter the workforce with an almost magical resume, not to mention a new clarity of purpose and perspective.

Go travel! Don’t wait.

Lillie Marshall is a six-foot-tall Bostonian who began solo traveling during her college summers through Latin America. Directly after college, Lillie entered the Boston Public Schools as a high school English teacher and proceeded to teach for six fascinating and intense years.

In the summer of 2009, after much planning and saving, Lillie took an unpaid leave of absence from teaching to circumnavigate the globe. For the next nine months, she had a truly wonderful time sightseeing in Japan and Southeast Asia, volunteer teaching in Ghana, and writing like crazy in Iberia! You can read about the whole adventure at

Lillie is back in her hometown of Boston, totally re-energized in her public school teaching career. Seeing the difference that extended travel made in her career and her life, Lillie has launched a movement through to inspire and assist more teachers to travel, and more travelers to teach, thus transforming the educational experience of our world.

Lillie is thrilled to now have a career that combines teaching, writing, and travel… and helping guide great people like yourself to make their travel dreams a reality!

Join us on October 16, 2012 for our nationwide Meet, Plan, Go! events:

Austin | Boston | Chicago | Minneapolis | New York City

San Diego | San Francisco | Seattle | South Florida | Toronto

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