Meet, Plan, Go!

MPG 2012 Toronto Host: Janice Waugh
Monday, October 8th, 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 Toronto Host: Janice Waugh

We’re thrilled to have Janice Waugh hosting Meet, Plan, Go! in Toronto for the third year in a row. Janice has enjoyed many forms of travel at different times in her life – twenty-something travel, family travel, career break travel and most recently, solo travel.

In August 2001, Janice left on a ten-month career break with her husband and youngest son (age 10 at the time). Her other sons joined them at times along the way. Janice wrote about their decision to stay or to go, saying,

“We could finally see our way clear to living our dream of long-term travel. Having sold our business and with two sons out the door, one entering his last year of high school and the youngest going into grade six, it all seemed possible.

To others, it may have made more sense to wait, at least a year, but we planned and went. We bet on the present over the future and, as you’ll see, we won.”

Janice is grateful for taking her career break when she did; just a few years after returning from their trip, she lost her husband to a rare illness known as Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP).

“While our choice to take an extended trip at that particular time of life may have seemed odd to some, it made sense to us. At least, we made it make sense. We put our present and our future on a scale and chose to live in the present for that year. And, at the time, we had no idea that it was our last chance to do so.”

Today, Janice travels solo and devotes a lot of her time to inspiring others to discover the world as they discover themselves.  She publishes Solo Traveler and recently launched a book, The Solo Traveler’s Handbook. She has spoken at The Smithsonian on solo travel and has been quoted in many media outlets including CNN, the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, LA Times and USA Today. She is a strong proponent of career break travel and eager to help others pursue their career break dreams.

Last year, Janice wrote about the 18 loves she discovered during her 10-month career break. Today, she shares some practical advice about renting out your home before traveling long-term:

Is renting your home right for you?

Renting out your home is not for everyone. You need to decide if it is right for you. Do you get stressed by the idea of someone living in your home and using your stuff? Then it’s not for you. Are you easygoing about your things? If you will travel and not worry about your home, go for it. Are you allowed to rent your home? If you rent or live in a co-op, you need to ensure that you can legally sublet.

How to find the right tenant

To take the work off your shoulders completely, you can hire a property manager to handle the renting and maintenance of your home. They’ll collect the rent and pay the bills and do the occasional drop-by… whatever you want. But it will cost you. I am more a DIY gal. I do things myself whenever I can. If you want to do it yourself, here are some of the steps to follow.

? Identify the type of person or people you want to rent your home.

? Specify your criteria regarding smoking, pets and any other detail that is important to you.

? Decide what you will include in your rental. What utilities and technology?

Once you know the type of person you want to rent your home:

? Create a mini website that shows off your home. Google “make a free website” and you’ll find that you can do this yourself at no cost.

? Let friends and family know that you are looking to rent your home. Let them know your criteria and share your website with them.

? Use an online service like to list your home. If you want to stay in one place, consider trading places with a service like Home Exchange.

If you’re not having success or are not comfortable managing the process yourself, find a real estate agent to do the job for you.  Unfortunately, they’ll make more from the sale of a house than from renting yours, so they are not going to work at it very hard.

When you’ve found a prospective tenant, check them out thoroughly. You’re going away. You don’t want any headaches. You need financial, business and personal references.

This is an excerpt of a post that originally appeared on the Solo Traveler on September 12, 2012.  To read more of Janice’s advice on finding and preparing for a tenant, see the full article here.

Join us on October 16 at one of our 10 Meet, Plan, Go! events across North America:

Austin | Boston | Chicago | Minneapolis | New York City

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

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